Rosemary Haefner, Senior Career Adviser
What's the most unusual job you ever held? Peanut inspector? Horse wrangler? How about a backup dancer for a female impersonator? In its annual survey, CareerBuilder.com asked more than 2,450 workers to share the most interesting or unconventional jobs they held during their careers. The following are this year's top picks:
B: Bingo announcer
D: Drawbridge tender
E: Eye glass buffer
F: Fingerprint analyzer
G: Glass sculptor
H: Hot rod builder
I: Interpreter for government agency
J: Jelly donut filler
K: Karate instructor
L: Lifeguard at nude beach
M: Military role player (played Iraqi citizen for military sensitivity training)
N: Note taker for college students
O: Ocean scuba guide
Q: Quiz writer for competitions
R: Rescue squad for pets
S: Stand-in bridesmaid (for weddings where the bride didn't know enough people)
T: Telemarketer for a cemetery
U: Urinalysis observer
V: Voice-over specialist for movies
W: Window washer for skyscrapers
X: Xmas tree decorator
Y: Youth boot camp instructor for juvenile offenders
Z: Zoo artificial inseminator
If you are in search of an unconventional job, here are some steps you can take to find one:
Step One: Find a Success Story
Start by talking to someone who has successfully made a career change. Ask how they got there and the steps they followed. Ask them to share their advice and any secrets for success.
Step Two: Expect Roadbumps
You may be surprised to learn the downsides of your dream career, like irregular hours and low pay. But don't get discouraged. Fine-tuning your career goals as you learn more about jobs in your field of interest will have many benefits in the long run.
Step Three: Learn More
Sign up for a class related to your dream job or one that will teach you a skill you will need to perform your new job or advance your current career. For example, if you want to be a golf ball diver, take scuba lessons. This will also give you a chance to explore your willingness to return to school to learn the skills or earn a new degree in your desired profession.
Step Four: Downsize
If you can afford it, consider accepting a position that will enable you to develop a skill or gain related experience that will move you closer to your dream job, even if it pays less than what you are currently making. Before you make the move, be certain your wallet and your ego can make the move to a lesser-paying job or one with less responsibility or prestige.
Step Five: Seek Expert Advice
Visit a career counselor or coach to discuss your interests and research possible career opportunities that may interest you. The coach will help you identify existing and needed skills and help establish a path to attain your desired outcome.
Step Six: Conduct a Job Search
Use keywords associated with your chosen career to search online for your desired job. Network with members of professional and social associations related to the job. Ask the "success story" from Step One if he has any leads for you.
The important thing career experts recommend is that you take at least one step in the direction of your dream job each week. Actually, this is good advice for everyone. Whether you are a senior manager at a major corporation or a stay-at-home mom, everyone needs to set their sights on a personal goal or achievement and work toward that goal. If you think about it, this is what life is all about.
Rosemary Haefner is the Vice President of Human Resources for CareerBuilder.com. She is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior, workplace issues, employee attitudes and HR initiatives.
Copyright 2006 CareerBuilder.com