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7 Careers That Are Great for Innovative Thinkers

7 Careers That Are Great for Innovative Thinkers

Let’s face it: having a job you hate does more than affect you at the office. We spend so much of our time and energy on what we do for a living, so choosing a career that fits your skills and interests is key to your overall happiness. After all, you don’t want to spend a third of your day (or more) working a boring job you can’t wait to leave. If you’re one of those innovative thinkers who can’t stand to work a repetitive and mindless career path, here are 7 great options to consider—and the salary you can expect to rake in from each.

1. Editor

Editors work with words—but they often have to be even more creative than the writers themselves. Becoming an editor is a great choice for innovative thinkers because the job requires looking at content from a different perspective. Editors creatively solve problems with writing, and can take a project from good to great.

2015 Median Pay: $56,010

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2. Industrial Designer

To most people, the idea of a designer begins and ends in a beautiful, private home. However, some of the most lucrative design jobs are for businesses: commercial and industrial design. Instead of designing the interior of a building, an industrial designer works to design the aesthetics and experience for products and services. An industrial designer might be responsible for the design of a new laptop, ensuring that it’s functional and easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and fits in with the company’s brand image and other products.

Industrial design is a great option for innovative thinkers because there are so many factors that go into making a product or website simultaneously beautiful and easy to use.

2015 Median Pay: $67,130

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3. Music Therapist

Maybe being a pop star is out of reach for most of us, but that doesn’t mean a career in music has to be. Music therapy is a fulfilling career path that’s been gaining momentum in the last few years. Music therapy helps people with behavioral, psychological, or mood challenges overcome obstacles and make improvements in their struggles. Because every patient is different, music therapists have to be creative and innovative, adapting their approach to each situation.

2015 Median Pay: $59,210

4. Physicist

Unraveling the mysteries of the universe…what could be more innovative than that? In order to make sense of the physical world and space, physicists have to be innovative and audacious, coming up with complex theories about how our world works—then trying to prove those theories using research and experimentation. If you like math and science, you’ll find this field endlessly fascinating—and the paycheck is a big bonus.

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2015 Median Pay: $110,980

5. Bioengineer

Changing the actual biology of the world around us is an exciting field that requires a lot of innovation. The bioengineering field is very broad, but the basic concept is bringing the engineering field into biology in order to solve problems. For example, bioengineers are modifying crops to be more resistant to pests and disease, working to abolish some diseases, and examining human genetics to improve future health innovations. Creative and innovative thinking is a requirement for this career because the problems are complex and require outside-the-box thinking.

2015 Median Pay: $86,220

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6. Video Game Designer

Every kid’s dream: becoming a video game designer can be a fun and fulfilling career path. From working out storylines to ensuring that game mechanics are balanced, video game designers are the architects behind the next big hit. Working with programmers, writers, and project managers, video game designers help bring their creations to life. With so many games on the market, innovative thinking is required to bring something fresh and exciting to the table.

2015 Median Pay:  $70,300

7. Architect

Think about it: which buildings are the most memorable? Innovative thinkers thrive in an architecture career because it’s a chance to design important structures that have two purposes: aesthetic appeal and functional use. Innovative thinkers love the challenge of taking the idea in their head and putting it down on paper so it can come to life.

2015 Median Pay: $76,100

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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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