Are you thinking about an extraordinary career path? Bored of flipping through the masses of dry college guidebooks? Don’t fret. Being just two or three years shy of 20, it’s a lot of pressure to have everything “figured out” yet. You may have even taken a careers course or workshop in high school, and still haven’t got a clue what kind of career you might be interested in. Maybe your friends have detailed plans (*astonished stare*). Or perhaps you have a general idea of the subject area (e.g., science) to pursue, but aren’t yet familiar with how niche and specific the potential career pool is out there (marine biologist, forensic chemist and archaeologist—just to name a few!).
Here are seven super-cool and totally legit jobs you may have never known existed until now, as well some educational paths to get there, as a start!
1. Xbox Content Strategy Team
Just ask Amanda Lui, the Senior Business Planner on the Xbox Game Pass Content Strategy Team. She plays video games for work, researching what makes games playable and popular in order to make strategic decisions about games that should be included in Game Pass–Xbox’s video game streaming service. Lui majored in Finance, but it was her passion for gaming that made her stand out and nail down the position.
Consider a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in: Animal Behavior or Studies
If you to spend your life around puppies, but you’re not super interested in doing the years of veterinary school to get dog-time as your day job, this may be a dream come true for all you die-hard dog fanatics out there.
You’ll spend time actively analyzing and deciphering puppy behavior, practicing the most ethical and effective training methods. Employees often work in doggy daycare, animal shelters, boarding kennels and clinics. Daily activities you’d be responsible for with the pups include actively implementing learning techniques, building habits and other cleaning duties.
A major in animal behavior (diploma in canine behavior science) will give you the informative background on the physical and psychological systems of animals, to ensure proper care and handling. Sample classes that you’ll take include canine development, biological rhythms and aggression. The ideal puppy trainer will multitask, handle emotional outbursts with patience and have a sense of consistency and hunger for constant improvement. Just keep in mind that training can become repetitive at times, because not all dogs grasp new skills at the same pace!
2. Food stylist
Consider a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in: Food Science, Nutrition, Culinary Arts
If you’re that friend who’s always setting the brunch scene to get an Insta-worthy shot for the ‘gram, then consider becoming a food stylist. These spunky designers work on a variety of sets, often for flyer or advertising photo shoots. They’re in charge of preparation, nutritional safety measures (that’s where the science background comes in), and carefully arranging the food to perfection.
Sample courses you’ll need to take include food safety systems, processing and microbiology. A great eye for detail, clear communication skills and an overall creative perspective will come in handy for the role. Through a unique blend of food science and culinary arts courses, you’ll be well-equipped to practice the best (strict) safety measures and spiff up some tasty dishes.
Bonus: free food. Need we say more?
3. Museum technician
Consider a bachelor’s degree in: Art History, Life Sciences (concentration in Museum Studies if possible)
If your friends and/or family have started rolling their eyes whenever a day plan is mentioned because they know exactly what you’ll say (the museum, duh), take pride in it! You’d get to spend time with beautiful artifacts and time-travel during work. Being a technician involves a comprehensive understanding of the museum area of focus – be it art, history, science or a combination of these – as well as a general hunger for knowledge.
Most trainees start out as interns or volunteers at specific exhibits or sections to gain experience, so it’s a good idea to get your foot in the door early on through walk-in, on-the-spot interviews with the museum staff. You’ll need a sharp eye for detail and data, as you’ll be working with some very fragile and precious objects. Perks? Paid vacations as well as membership passes to other galleries.
4. Professional matchmaker
Consider a major in Psychology, with master’s program in Interpersonal Relationships
Do you have a reputation for always being the one hooking your friends up, successfully? Can you outsmart the online dating algorithms? If you can easily see the chemistry between people, their long-term potential, and sense right off the bat reading online match convos whether it’s a yes or a hard no, you might actually be a great matchmaker IRL. Empathy and the ability to dish out constructive criticism makes for a golden combo here.
A typical day for a matchmaker involves booking appointments, seeing clients and providing time-sensitive relationship advice. If your academic interests lie in psychology, then lucky you, because courses in personality, human behavior and even psychopathology are critical for a well-rounded analysis of two (hella complex) individuals.
5. Greeting card designer
Consider a bachelor’s degree in: Visual Arts, Graphic Design
Yes, you can totally embody Tom from 500 Days of Summer. The greeting card industry, like any publishing gig, can be difficult to break into, but once you’re in, the rest is a designer’s cloud nine. Get recognized through your unique style of art, and make sure to maintain a pristine portfolio showcasing some of your best stuff while you’re at it. Sometimes, artists gain popularity on virtual marketplaces such as RedBubble or Society6, which make for a great starting point.
Greeting card designers are typically in charge of the selection, drafting, production and revision of ideas and artwork. Many of these positions are freelance, part-time or both—but full-time opportunities are definitely out there (typically granted with seniority).
6. Travel writer
Consider a bachelor’s degree in: English, Communications, Journalism
Do you dream of getting paid to take vacations, and have a knack for telling stories that get everyone in inspired? If you know how to shoot stellar photos on the fly, travel writing may be the picture-perfect fit! Exploring unforeseen spots and being perpetually immersed in a state of adventure is not a joke. Aside from capturing those breathtaking shots, travel writers are also responsible for delving deep into the culture of the particular area they visit. They can gather readers all over the world to sit with them on a virtual campfire through every adventure. Want in? Check out some popular travel writers documenting their journeys for a sense and inspiration on how their writing takes flight (literally!).
7. Entertainment tagger
Consider a bachelor’s degree in: Film Studies
Get your popcorn and pizza ready, because it’s always movie night when you’re a tagger. Be the first to review new shows and release your inner critic in all of its glory. And yes, that means kissing business casual goodbye—hello 24/7 PJ parties!. Do make sure, however, that your ability to convey a succinct, crystal-clear message is top-notch. They’re 100 percent checking for enthusiasm and bucket-loads of passion.
Sure, it sounds simple, but Netflix is actually looking for an educational background in film to ensure that taggers are well-versed in film theory and terminology to be able to describe in detail what makes for a particular genre. Daily roles as a tagger are similar to those of a librarian: meticulously categorizing based on keywords, or tags. If you know a second language such as Spanish or French, all the better. It’s a very niche area to get into, but the film junkie with a diverse taste and right attitude will flourish in the role.
College hopeful, this has been a non-exhaustive list of some pretty rad careers. But there’s so much more to keep in mind. It may be helpful to stay as an undeclared major or even take a gap year to give yourself ample time to figure out what really clicks with you. A good starting point would be to evaluate your strongest subjects and analyze which extracurricular activities you’ve joined throughout the years. Ask around as much as possible, and consider finding a mentor. Good luck!