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Published on October 2, 2018

20 Cool Jobs for Unconventional People (No Matter How Old You Are)

20 Cool Jobs for Unconventional People (No Matter How Old You Are)

At a certain point in my life, I thought I would be a scuba instructor. Bronzed and toned, living care free in the Maldives mingling with fabulous people. It seemed like a perfectly original undertaking that suited me. After all, there I was just finishing my dive master training on the tepid shores of Costa Rica.

Top of the list for cool jobs, right?

But considering a new instructor garners an annual salary of $20,000 USD, there were bolder (and more financially sound) paths to pursue. Yet I was inspired. Inspired by the water, the physical activity, the challenge and learning. That was 15 years ago. I went on to continue to wear numerous hats in a life of unique jobs.

Like many unconventional people, standing in the full power of our desire for learning allows us to seek opportunities around the fringes of convention. Sometimes the unusual, the unexpected, and yes, the inspiring. So, I’ve put together 20 positively perfect cool jobs for your unique calling.

You may be thinking; how does this apply to me? The average person thinks about doing things. They talk, do some planning, and they wonder. That’s where they get stuck.

Unconventional people have the guts and creativity to carry out their pursuits and make up the workforce of the unusual. So how do you find the job you love, now?

Listen to your powerful inner voice and follow up on those curiosities.

The unconventional do not follow a simple formula, we make it up along the way, and are not afraid of that influence. If you possess humor, humility, articulation, curiosity, creativity, persistence, are a bit of a rebel, don’t bow to intimidation, and freely pair unusual ideas, you may be ready for any one of these unique jobs.

But if you’re an unconventional person, you likely already knew that. You’ve felt the pull to the outskirts and are fully deserving of your hard-won labor and wisdom. Pursue away!

Experiencing the fullness and efficiency of your truth creates a positive effect. Here are 20 unconventionally cool jobs to consider. Some of these give me butterflies just thinking about the possibilities.

1. White Hat Hacker

Black hat hackers are the ones you hear about in the news and threaten our online security.

In our connected digital world, we need to be safe. That is where the White Hat Hacker comes in, creating digital roads for our security.

Used to counter cyber- attacks, viruses and other barriers to our digital safety. They often are recruited from the “dark side” of black hat hackers.

2. Touring Race Car Driver

    Ever thought about zooming around the racetrack and winning? Most race car drivers start at a young age and have a competitive streak.

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    Shea Holbrook started at 16 and went on to win the Pirelli World Challenge and own her own race car team.

    Feel like you were born for a cool job? Competitive pursuits like this one require practiced technical skill and a desire for adrenaline.

    3. Sommelier

    A sommelier is a trained professional and wine steward that specializes in fine wines and high-end service.

    Have a flair for subtleties, smells, tastes and great conversation? Then a strategic spot with a private collection, winery, or fine dining location could set off your cool job radar.

    Trying to pair your steak with the best Napa red? Ask your sommelier.

    4. Golf Ball Diver

      Golfers try to avoid water hazards, but many golf balls find their way to a watery grave.

      Golf Ball Divers seek them out and rescue the many lost golf balls for courses around the world. That’s one way to make a living and have fun explaining it at a party.

      5. On Call Musician

      Musicians are notorious for being creative and unconventional, so what better way to evoke coolness than being a musician?

      On call musicians are therapeutic in ways that bring music to those that need it for healing, relaxation, and in less than ideal situations.

      There are groups that do this informally and formally, and Musicians on Call is an outlet for people to enjoy music with an option to join in for their own form of therapy.

      Music plays a large roll in emotion, and this is a great way to for a musical outlet.

      6. Traveling Outdoor Guide

      Creating a unique experience and unforgettable vacation is the work of outdoor guides. Trek guide, bike guide, expedition guide – it all requires a flexible, fun, safe attitude with a side of mental fortitude.

      It’s a tough job with plenty of rewards that allows you to become a seasoned traveler, constant learner and master of all trades. Being physically fit will give you a one up in this position.

      Certain safety, medical, survival and outdoor training are required with others needing more technical skills (biking, climbing and diving for a start).

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      Often this unique job creates an intoxicating connection to the environment and culture, paired with high end service and Michelin style meals on the go.

      It’s about making every day the ultimate vacation of a lifetime. I know first hand, doing this seasonally around the world.

      7. National Park Ranger

        If you enjoy educating, meeting new people and being in nature, the sometimes-solitary position of park ranger may be a perfect fit.

        The U.S. National Park Service overseas the safety and conservation of our designated parks with the foresight to keep them healthy for the future. This gives you the opportunity to learn about the environment and interact with people and wildlife in iconic natural lands.

        Looking to share your love of camping? Why not share the historic lands of National Parks?

        8. Air Traffic Controller

        Air traffic controllers continue to be one of the fastest growing jobs (and one of the highest stress levels) with the FAA.

        It’s slated, there will be a need for 10,000 air traffic controllers over the next decade. It does require a certain personality able to watch several monitors simultaneously while relaying information and keeping those lives in the air safe.

        Did I mention this is all done in a dark room filled with glowing computer screens and your own personal security access?

        9. White House & Celebrity Chef

        Celebrity chefs often work with personal trainers to coordinate meal planning with results for many celebrities in the spotlight, along with those that compete on national fitness levels.

        Executive chefs at The White House have the heavy task of planning, managing and preparing effective meals for our nation’s top family. This includes catering for parties, events, and the families entertaining.

        The pressure is on in all cases, since those chefs want to be innovative and provide consistent quality.

        10. Teaching English in Nepal (or around the world)

        Teaching basic conversational English often requires a bachelor’s degree or training through a placement institute with an option to live around the world. There are both paid and volunteer positions with flexibility to create your teaching plan.

        Volunteers in the Teaching English to Buddhist Monks Program provide conversational English to Tibetan children in Nepal. They also organize creative educational activities to further increase their teaching skills.

        Just think of a cool and interesting place you want to visit. Chances are there is opportunity to teach English.

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        11. Thief Hunter

        These unconventional job titles focus on scam artists, pick pockets, thieves and petty criminals around highly populated tourist areas. The people in these unique positions can be called thrill seekers but are actually providing a service to offset the tourist targets.

        With an element of human research in psychology these bait traps are designed to attract and catch thieves. This may be as close as you get to being Bat Man, and it’s all caught on camera.

        12. Smoke Jumper

          A rookie smoke jumper organizes himself after a tower jump at the McCall, ID smokejumper base.

          Smoke Jumping is dangerous and thrilling job that puts fire fighters on the scene first to try to maintain it before it hits a higher level of ignition.

          Wild land firefighters who smoke jump, parachute into remote fire areas and utilize skilled hard work and techniques to suppress fires.

          If you want an adventure with a side of real danger, this is one modern day job with plenty of reward. Many of these hero’s have shown tremendous bravery.

          13. Aircraft Repo

          Ready to fly a plane or whisk away a helicopter? Aircraft repossession is a skilled craft (literally) and requires a clean background, healthy medical record, pilots license and FAA clearance.

          Repos can include flying helicopters, Jumbo Jets, and Gulf streams that need to be picked up for bankruptcies and repossessing. This takes a lot of nerve and a bit of a personality, since you’re dealing with all reaction levels and often unhappy people.

          14. Cruise Ship Entertainer

          The floating cities of the cruise industry have every form of entertainment you can think of.

          Have a talent in aerial acrobatics, a beautiful singing voice, the perfect comedy pitch or are a stunning bachata dance teacher? Cruise ships have talent and are always on the lookout for innovative people to join their mega ships and keep the crowds happy.

          Unconventional personalities make up much of the seasonal and year-round work on board while providing highly produced shows. Plus, you’ll be able to travel.

          15. Sports Commentator

          Sports can be intense so a soothing (or animated) voice to call out the play by play and add in a bit of humor is appreciated.

          Commentators are celebrities in their own right and often make promotional and marketing appearances. After all people want to know the face behind the game analysis, their views and insider tips on the sport.

          Their number one job is to keep the fans engaged and entertained through the game. Game on!

          16. Pet Food Taster

            Human “testing” is needed in the pet industry.

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            Our furry friends may eat what is in front of them, but they can’t give feedback on the taste, texture or nutritional value of their food. That’s where human consumption comes into play, and pet food testers personally taste pet food heading to the market for quality control, safety, and maybe a little honest feedback on the flavor.

            Bacon wrapped steak flavored doggy bites may not just be for your pets. Definitely an original choice in a job.

            17. Underwriter

            Insurance underwriters take the time to assess the real risk and liability of outgoing insurance. That includes who or what it is covering and the possibility of paying out on a loss.

            Insurance may be a safety factor and give us some peace of mind, but it can also be an unconventionally cool job. Especially when you’re insuring high risk athletes, extreme adventurists, or large and costly product, property or policy.

            18. Puggle Handler and All-Around Volunteer

            Like animals? How about unusual and bizarre animals? Being a puggle cuddler could be the answer to your animal career.

            Think of the long snout of an anteater, coarse hair and skin, with the body size and movement of a mini hippo. That’s a baby Echidna. They need lots of love and cuddling, so volunteers give their time in promoting animal health, and get the bonus of the cute and unconventional cuddling back.

            19. Academy Award Ballot Counter

              Celebrities and the elite walk the red carpet in anticipation of the winning names and a lot of high end entertainment. But behind the scenes only the two people who tally and account for the votes know the winning names.

              This is kept very secure and even the announcers have to wait for the final unveiling to know the winning name. Try keeping that under wraps.

              20. Government Astronomer

              Astronomy has a wide scope of study and I often listen to Neil Degrass Tyson’s musings on quarks, black holes and anti-matter discovered in our universe.

              Astronomers can work with many outlets but even better when working with the U.S. government. Many astronomers spend plenty of time researching and visiting observatories throughout the year. Others spend more time outdoors in pursuit of celestial enlightenment. And since there is less radiation from the sun at night, that is when many spend time observing.

              The bottom line

              Some foundational aspects of convention are there for a reason. They work. They’re predictable, and they are timeless in ways that the majority understands.

              But when we dig deeper, convention gets old, overused and uninspiring, especially when people are seeker layers of real transformation faster than someone un-tags themselves from an online photo that makes them look bad.

              What makes you unconventional goes beyond a job title. I’ve reinvented myself several times in my life, and something tells me there are a few more on my list. I thrive in the zone of optimal anxiety.

              In the end, there’s nothing like the privilege of owning yourself and stepping away from the crowd.

              Sometimes we’ve been quiet for so long, we’ve given up on being unconventional. Sometimes we’re told to clear away our most unique traits to make someone else comfortable. But that would be taking away our best parts, and let’s face it, that’s just not us.

              Featured photo credit: Nicole Harrington via unsplash.com

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              Liz Galloway

              I'm an idealist, columnist & traveler helping people connect through personal discovery. Stay inspired!

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              Last Updated on August 19, 2019

              20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

              20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

              A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

              And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

              Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


              Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

              Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

              1. Leadership Ability

              Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

              Example:

              “Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

              2. Problem-Solving Ability

              Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

              Example:

              “Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

              3. Perseverance

              Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

              4. Technical Skills

              Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

              Example:

              “Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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              5. Quantified Results

              Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

              Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

              Example:

              “Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

              6. People Skills

              Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

              Example:

              “Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

              7. Passion in the Field

              Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

              The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

              8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

              Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

              9. Your Adaptability

              Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

              Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

              10. Confirming Your Expertise

              Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


              While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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              Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

              11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

              If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

              12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

              If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

              13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

              From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

              14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

              If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

              15. Specifying All Accolades

              Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

              16. Transferable Skills

              You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


              Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

              Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

              Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

              Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

              17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

              Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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              18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

              Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

              Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

              19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

              Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

              Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

              20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

              You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

              Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

              Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

              You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

              Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

              If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

              Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

              Starting at the Top

              The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

              For example:

              Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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              If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

              For example:

              Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

              Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

              And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

              Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

              Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

              If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

              Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

              Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

              Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

              Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

              Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

              Putting It All Together

              A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

              Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

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              Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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