Monthly Archives: May 2008

5 Dream Jobs and What it Takes to Land Them

What’s your dream job? Do you fantasize about being a stuntman, secret agent or maybe a marine biologist? Even if your dream seems far-fetched, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to achieve. With enough determination and a bit of luck, your fantasy job could be closer than you think.

Find out what it takes to make it in our five featured dream jobs.

1. Video Game Tester – Is your idea of a perfect day getting together with some buddies and playing the latest video game? To score the job of a video game tester, you’ll need to have more than just a passion for playing Halo or Grand Theft Auto. You’ll also need the technical abilities to evaluate games’ design and functionality. If this is the field for you, you can gain the skills you need by attending a trade school offering specialized training in video game animation and development.

2. Tour Guide – Do you love to travel and have a spirit for adventure? If so, your perfect job might be as a professional tour guide. To excel as a tour guide, you’ll need to have excellent hospitality skills as you’ll be spending the majority of your time with tourists who are paying a premium for your services. You’ll also need knowledge of the areas you’re touring and the physical stamina to lead the journey. Wondering how you can get an “in” as a tour guide? Cruise ships, museums, national parks and popular tourist attractions often employ tour guides.

3. Wine Taster – Being a wine taster isn’t about getting free drinks, although that’s often a perk of the job. Professional wine tasters must be able to do more than just enjoy a fine glass of chardonnay. They must be able to describe and evaluate the wine based on flavor, aroma, age and complimentary foods. To gain the necessary expertise to review wine, enthusiasts should pursue training offered at wine academies. It’s also important to possess writing skills in order to create thoughtful reviews of samples. 

4. Movie Critic – Do you fantasize about being the next Roger Ebert? If you’ve got a knack for providing smart commentary and persuading others to share your opinions, the job of a movie critic might be right up your alley. However, it’ll take more than just a passion for popcorn and Goobers to succeed in this field. To become a movie critic who viewers trust, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the film industry, a penchant for critical analysis and sharp writing skills. Entry-level jobs in this field are usually found at local newspapers or radio stations.

5. Personal Shopper – Are you a shopaholic? Does the thought of getting paid to spend a day at designer boutiques sound like a dream come true? Personal shoppers are often employed at upscale retail stores and help customers select items based on their unique styles, budgets and current trends. Some personal shoppers are also employed by individuals, such as celebrities. In this role, they are often referred to as stylists. To succeed in this field, it’s helpful to have a comprehensive understanding of retail and fashion.

What’s your dream job? Share your idea of a perfect job in the comments section below.

Baby Boomers – A Chance at a Second Career after Retirement

As the oldest of nearly 76 million Baby Boomers reach retirement age in 2008 and less than 50 million workers replace them in the workforce, there are many reasons why, besides the impending worker shortage, employers are scrambling to hire and retain this maturing workforce.

There is, however, some good news for employers. According to studies, nearly 80% of Baby Boomers plan to work in some capacity well past retirement age, either part-time or full-time with flexible schedules. In addition to easier schedules, Baby Boomers are expected to venture into new career paths. Some want less stressful or labor intensive careers that will allow them to incorporate volunteer work and family time, and others want learn something new that will continue to stimulate them mentally.

For Baby Boomers interested in changing careers, or continuing to work after they reach retirement age, Forbes recently released a Top 20 Jobs List. Below are just a few jobs that are in high demand for Baby Boomers.

Nursing:  $20-60 plus based on training, level and specialization
Health Care Administration:  $10-15 per hour for clerical; $20-30 for professional; $25 plus for managerial positions
Teaching Aide:  $8-$15 per hour based on level of responsibility and qualifications
Merchandise and Grocery Retailing:  $8-15 per hour for sales associates and customer service; $15-30 for supervisor or manager
Office Clerical and Administrative:  $9-12 for entry clerical and administrative; $12-16 for skilled administrative staff
Franchise Business Owners:  earnings vary based on several factors

With so many Baby Boomers planning to stay in the workforce, many employers are finding ways to accommodate this generation and entice them to work for their companies. AARP recently released a report of the best companies for employees over 50 to work for. To check out the list, click here.

Are you planning to work or change careers after retirement? Does your employer provide benefits or incentives for older employees to stay with the company?

The Great Debate: Return to School or Get a Job. How to decide your next career move

Are you struggling with your job search and getting frustrated because you haven’t landed a job, even though you have the education? Many graduates of high school, college and vocational schools have a hard time finding jobs, even after completing their degrees. Some get so frustrated that they want to head back to school to better their chances of finding a job in a different field. But before you decide to go back to school and pursue a new career, try some of these tips to turn your job search into a success.

Evaluate your situation – Take a look at where you are now, what experiences you’ve had and where you want to be in the future. If you’re looking for a job in a field that you don’t currently have any experience in, find ways to get that experience by volunteering, interning or taking an entry-level position. If you’re considering going back to school, look into the opportunities that a new career could offer. Another degree may not promise a job offer, higher salary or professional growth, so decide if it’s worth it to stick with the degree you have and just gain experience in that field. You may have to make a few sacrifices along the way, but the sacrifices you make now will pay off in the future by helping you land the job you want.

Update your résuméRésumés create a lasting first impression. If you’ve submitted résumés to several employers and have yet to receive an invitation for an interview, pull yours out and see what updates or changes can be made. It’s important to grab the attention of potential employers, so don’t be afraid to ask someone else for their input, or contact a professional to help you. Co-workers, friends and family members can offer ways to improve your layout, design and content. Going back to school to add another degree will look great on your résumé, but if you lack the experience needed for the position, your extra degree won’t guarantee an employment offer or even an interview.

Practice interviewing – If you’ve been looking for a job for a while and have been to several interviews but haven’t received a job offer, your interview skills may need some tweaking. Ask someone to practice with you and have them ask questions that are frequently asked by employers, specific to your résumé and pertain to the job you’re interested in. When you practice with others, they can help you identify areas that need to be improved and can offer hints to help you really sell your skills to a potential employer. Going back to school won’t help you master interviewing or land a job. Practicing your interviewing skills is easier and less time consuming than school, so consider taking this step to improve your job search before hitting the books.

Finding a job can be a challenge for anyone, but it’s possible to find a job in your field. Before you give up and head back to school or switch careers, try these tips to improve your job search and land the job you want.

Were you able to find a job right out of school? How did you successfully land a job? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.