Alternative career paths

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Stylist Team
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When it comes to choosing a career path, it's likely you were heavily influenced by your careers councillor, who no doubt had handouts a-plenty relating to becoming a doctor, lawyer, accountant or the like. But where were they pamflets entitiled 'chocolate taster' or 'Barbie dress designer'? Whilst not tradititional career choices, these jobs do exist - and someone's got to do them so. So, in the interests of thinking outside the box and as the final installment of our Career Clinic, here are six unique jobs for an out-of-the-ordinary 9 to 5:

Professional chocolate tester

A tester or buyer of any food or drink that you love has to constitute as a dream job. Testers often travel the world searching for the best ingredients, as well as researching, sampling and negotiating deals on top-of-the-range products. If this sounds like the career for you, most supermarkets, department stores and product makers have testers and buyers and many will offer training programmes, but a background in sales or marketing can be useful. For more information about food and drink visit

Volunteer for VSO

If money is not your ultimate job goal and you’d rather have the personal satisfaction that you’re doing something of worth, then volunteering may be for you. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that fights against poverty in developing countries. They make use of your work skills and specialities (current vacancies include a vetinary researcher in Mongolia and an optometrist in Kenya), and offer three types of volunteer option: long-term (1 or 2 years), short-term (6 months) or youth (18-25 years old).

Personal shopper

Shopping for a living… many people’s dream job. You’ll have to find clothes and other items for clients and could be employed by a store, self-employed or hired by private clients. On top of being able to shop (surely a given?), you need to be well informed of the latest trends, where to find the best items and know your product inside out. If you’d like to become a personal clothes shopper then The London College of Style's Fashion Styling Foundation Course offers a module in personal shopping and covers fashion in general to give you a good basis to launch your career.

Relocate to Antarctica

If you fancy a dramatic change of scenery then don't rule out the Antarctic. Surprisingly there are a few jobs on offer and not just scientific roles that you’d expect; they’re looking for artists and writers, medical support, hairstylists, finance coordinators, bakers, firefighters and travel specialists. For more roles and information visit

Animal behaviourist/psychologist

If you love animals then this could be the career for you. Your role will be to study and interpret the behaviour patterns of animals, to predict responses based on this study and investigate how you can change this. If you’d like to learn more about becoming man’s best friend then offers a dog psychology course, but many universities around the country offers animal psychology courses.

Barbie dress designer

Toy company Mattel usually finds Barbie’s clothes designs at fashion schools, or they might make an exact replica of a famous dress by a known designer – well, she is a very stylish doll. You’ll need to have clothes or costume design experience and present the company with your ideas. University of the Arts London Central Saint Martins is renowned for their fashion courses.

Picture credits: Getty images