Careers without College: If You're Artistic or a "People Person"

Lesson 3: If You're Artistic or a "People Person"


If you're artistic or a "people person"

When it comes to choosing a new profession, being artistic or a “people person” are two unique traits that you shouldn’t overlook. While these qualities can help you to get your foot in the door, preparing for your new career will definitely increase your odds of success. 

Five artistic jobs

With the rise of social media, entrepreneurship, and freelancing, more and more artistic people are deciding to pursue their passion. You can share your portfolio of work online, or use tools like WordPress to build your own website.

Maybe you’re artistic, too—but you’re unsure about what steps to take next. After all, there are so many different ways to be creative! Here are five occupations that might allow your talent to shine through: 

#1. Photographer - Many of the pros will tell you that the first key step in following this path is to build your portfolio through practice. While you can take courses, nothing can replace hands-on experience.

You could start off by working as an assistant to an experienced photographer who will mentor you, teaching you skills like composition, lighting, and editing. Think about if you’re interested in focusing on weddings/events, doing portraits, or going the commercial route. One of the downsides is that photo shoots often fall on weekends. 

These days, many photographers have their own website and promote their work through social media platforms. Feel free to check out our tutorial on digital photography

#2. Tattoo artist - For any artist, working on a live canvas is definitely a unique gig! Tattooing puts your design skills to the test on a daily basis. You’ll also have the opportunity to inspire people and boost their self-confidence.

Since tattoo schools are somewhat controversial, completing an apprenticeship seems to be the preferred route. Apprentices do more of the “grunt work” at the shop, like cleaning, in addition to observing their mentor tattooing.

It’s helpful if you get training in things like bloodborne pathogens, first aid, and CPR, as these types of certifications are often needed in order to get a tattooing license. Looking up your state’s requirements and working on your portfolio are two initial steps you can take.

#3. Florist - If you have a green thumb and are considering this path, one way to find out if it’s a good fit is to start working at a floral shop. It can be helpful to take courses in subjects like business and botany, but this isn’t required.

You can work for a larger e-commerce company, or for a smaller local shop. You’ll quickly learn skills in customer service and time management—especially since it can get really busy around the holidays.

If you’re thinking about opening your own business, you might also consider becoming a member/getting certified by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). Studies have shown a high job satisfaction rate among florists, so it’s definitely worth checking out!

#4. Jeweler - Whether you’re setting stones or metal working, becoming a jeweler means developing a highly specialized skill set. Some beginners attend an art institute or a design school, but you can also dive right in as an apprentice.

In terms of other steps you might take, learning CAD (or computer-aided design) allows you to make blueprints for your ideas, and Jewelers of America offers different certifications.

Regardless of which environment suits you—a jewelry store, a workshop, or a studio–you’ll spend a fair amount of time working alone. Many jewelers enjoy this aspect of the job. Some are self-employed, and nowadays, a lot of buying and selling is done online. From diamond cutting to repair and appraisals, there are many different branches in this field to explore.

#5. Cake decorator/pastry chef - There are a variety of settings you can work in as a cake decorator or pastry chef, including a pâtisserie (which makes sweet treats), hotels, and restaurants. To get hands-on experience, you might consider applying at a bakery, such as the one at your local supermarket.

While classes aren’t always always required, you can complete a certificate program in areas like cake decorating, or get an associate’s degree at a culinary school. Over time you might discover a niche, or an area of expertise, that you really enjoy.

Keep in mind that you’ll be on your feet all day, and kitchens can get pretty hot! You can grow your own network through social media and start fulfilling personal orders, too. 

Five jobs for the “people person”

A people person has strong interpersonal skills. You might be good at things like customer service, teamwork, or creating a positive “company culture.”

Studies have shown that if someone mentions being a people person on their resume, they’re more likely to be called in for an interview. Since employers often value this trait, it’s something you can highlight when applying for positions.

Think about how this quality might complement the line of work that you choose. Here are five jobs which could be an excellent fit: 

#1. Real estate agent - While this field can be relatively easy to break into, you need to know how to hustle if you’re in real estate. Clear communication and negotiation skills are a must!

Depending on your location, the competition can be fierce, but there’s no cap on how much money you can make. That’s because your salary is typically commission-based, meaning you collect a percentage of each sale.

While licensed agents must work for a brokerage, you can move up the chain of command; Investopedia has a good article which outlines the differences between an agent, broker, and realtor.

While the environment can be fast-paced, prepare to do a lot of paperwork, too. ARELLO (the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials) has a directory with links to each state commission’s website. 

#2. Personal trainer - If you have a passion for health and fitness, you might’ve thought about becoming a personal trainer or “PT.” You can either work for a facility, like a gym, studio, or fitness center, or do freelance work.

Self-employed PTs or contractors often use social media to network with potential clients. If you decide to go solo, keep in mind that while you’re not giving a cut to an employer, you’ll need to pay taxes at the end of the year. Regardless of which setup you choose, insurance is key in the event that a client gets injured.

Being a certified PT is a qualification many facilities look for; three accredited institutions are ISSA, ACE, and NASM. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about subjects like kinesiology (the study of body movement) and nutrition. This is a great career choice for individuals who enjoy motivating others and helping them to succeed.

#3. Flight attendant - One of the main draws of this profession is the opportunity to travel. Flight attendants get to see the world and meet people from all walks of life.

In terms of the selection process, typically you apply to an airline and undergo a few rounds of interviews. You’ll be a brand representative of sorts, so qualified candidates must be friendly and confident at all times—including emergency situations! If you’re selected, then you attend several weeks of training in order to obtain your certification from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Classes focus on flight procedures, which include safety and customer service.

Tough parts of this line of work include having to deal with unruly passengers and long hours on your feet. You can expect to be away from home a lot, so take this aspect of the lifestyle into account.

#4. Massage therapist - If you’re strong and a careful listener, then massage therapy might be a path to consider. There’s a vast array of areas you can choose to focus on, including stone massage, shiatsu, and sports injury, among others.

While most massage therapists work at a spa or clinic, about one-third of them choose to set up a home office. This allows them to manage the size of their client base and make their own hours. It can also help to minimize some of the downsides, like physical burnout and no-shows.

In addition to getting certified in one or more specialty, most states require a general license. This can be obtained by attending a massage therapy program, completing a set number of training hours, and then passing an exam. The AMTA website (the American Massage Therapy Association) provides up-to-date information on what steps to take. 

#5. Police officer - This is a solid career option if you’re dedicated to making a difference in your community. Many officers enjoy bonding with colleagues, getting out and about, as well as staying physically fit.

That being said, it’s not without its risks; depending on the area in which you work, it can be quite dangerous, and you’ll need to learn how to quickly deescalate conflict. You could go on to pursue higher roles down the line, like becoming a police chief or a state trooper.

Officers must attend a police academy or training program, and you might need to become certified or complete in-service training, depending on your state. While the minimum age requirement varies, all applicants must undergo a thorough background check. You can look up your state’s requirements on the Go Law Enforcement website. 

Next up, we'll talk about some up-and-coming occupations in healthcare.