There are few jobs that don’t involve some kind of interaction with other people. However, in some roles it can be a massive advantage to have strong people skills. These skills are some of the hardest to teach; how we interact with others and deal with social situations is the product of our own unique personality and years of life experience.
Being a “people person” isn’t just about being confident and outgoing. It can also be about being empathetic, a good listener, trustworthy, an effective communicator, persuasive, comforting, likeable… or any number of other traits that can help a person to connect with others.
A people person could be the loud and charismatic life-and-soul of the party. Equally, they could be calm, approachable and trustworthy. There is no single kind – but if you’re the kind of person that is able to build relationships and deal with people effortlessly, here are some roles that could make the most of your social skills.
Receptionists need exceptional people skills because they act as the first point of contact for visitors in places like hotels, hospitals, gyms and office buildings. They will typically be responsible for greeting customers and clients face-to-face and directing them to where they should be, as well as responding to telephone and email enquiries. A good receptionist will encourage customer loyalty by making them feel welcome and at home, and will help to form a large part of a client or customer’s initial impression of the organisation they are visiting.
There are qualifications you can do to increase your employability as a Receptionist (here are some examples on New Skills Academy). However, plenty of employers will take people on with little or no experience and train them on the job.
Hospitality is all about entertaining and receiving guests, and making them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. This is a key role in the service industry – you are essentially the public face of the business, so it’s important to make sure customers are happy to keep them coming back in the future.
Businesses like restaurants, hotels, bars and pubs rely on staff to make sure that each and every visitor’s experience is as pleasant as can be, by being as receptive to their needs as possible – which is where having people skills can offer a real advantage. The ability to sense, or even anticipate guests needs, before they’ve asked for anything is a real gift!
If you consider yourself to be a people person, then there are a range of different options in the hospitality industry that might be of interest; from bartending to waitressing, through to working in a front of house role at a hotel, checking in guests and showing them to their rooms. The majority of roles don’t need any formal qualifications to get started, as employers are often happy to train people on the job – but they will be more concerned with how you come across when dealing with people.
3. Customer Service
It’s very likely that at some point in your life, you’ve become frustrated by poor customer service, and considered how you would do things differently. Well if you’re in the market for a new job, then the good news is: now you can!
Customer service roles vary considerably by industry, but they all have the same goal – to make sure that customers leave satisfied with the service they’ve been offered, so that they are happy and likely to return again. Customer Service is present all around us. For example, when we go to the shops, watch a film at the cinema, take our car to the garage for repairs or post a parcel at the post office. And when the quality of the service we receive is good, it can really make a difference to how we perceive that company.
If you’re someone who enjoys communicating with and being around people, then you might be an ideal candidate for a customer service role. People can tell when the person serving them is being genuine and really wants to help, and this can make a huge difference to the quality of their experience. Customer Service roles are wide-ranging and can include anything from dealing with customer queries in a large supermarket as a Customer Service Manager, through to offering help and advice with banking queries as a Customer Service Assistant. Any relevant customer service experience you already have may give you an advantage, but many employers will train people on the job, as long as they have strong people skills and the right attitude.
4. Youth Worker
Would you like to make a difference to the lives of young people, by helping them get on the right track? As a Youth Worker, you could support, motivate and encourage young people aged between 11 and 25 years old who are going through particularly difficult situations, such as bullying, discrimination, involvement in crime and/or family issues. Your overall aim would be to help them make positive life choices and find their place in society.
The most direct route to becoming a Youth Worker (if you don’t have any previous skills or experience) is to complete a youth work degree recognised by the National Youth Agency (NYA).
Alternatively, you could get started as an apprentice or a volunteer in a youth club, community or religious centre whilst working towards a Level 3 certificate in Youth Work Practice. Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll be able to apply for a job as a Youth Support Worker and continue learning on the job. From here, if you still want to reach professional Youth Worker status, you could take a youth work degree part-time alongside your job.
5. Holiday Representative
Are you always planning your next adventure? Do you get bored staying in one place for too long? Then why not think about becoming a Holiday Representative?
Holiday Reps work with members of the public in some of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the world – helping them to get the most out of their time away. A travel company will place you in a location abroad for several months at a time – and your job is to become a knowledge base for the area, so that you can act as a guide for tourists travelling with your tour operator. It’s the perfect opportunity to travel, meet people from all corners of the world and make a living at the same time.
There are no formal entry requirements needed to secure your first role. If you feel happy and confident diving in straight away and applying for a position, then go for it – there are plenty of travel companies who will train you on the job.
However, if you would prefer to build your confidence and increase your chances of getting hired by gaining a qualification online, then a Holiday Rep Diploma will equip you with the basic skills and knowledge needed to get your first job.
As the saying goes, “people buy from people”. If you’re the kind of person who is confident, likeable, a great communicator and good at building relationships – you could have some of the key foundations upon which to build a career in sales.
Think of the best and worst salespeople you have encountered. We’ve all been in sales situations where it’s felt awkward, forced, overbearing and perhaps like we’re being sold things we don’t want. On the other hand, really effective salespeople are able to engage with customers on a personal level – lowering their guard and earning trust, so that they are open to discussion and willing to be persuaded.
There is a great deal of psychology in sales. The best salespeople tend to be empathetic and inquisitive, and typically listen more than they talk! They are able to put themselves in the shoes of the person they are talking to, ask questions to understand what they need, but also read the more subtle signs in body language and tone-of-voice. These ‘soft skills’ are often hard to train, so it can be a real advantage if you have them naturally.
Of course, sales can be challenging. It’s important to be resilient to knock-backs, be able to deal with objections and challenges, and be determined in hitting targets. However – those challenges are often part of the thrill and contribute to the ‘high’ when you do land that sale
Working in retail can be a great opportunity to build strong connections with people in your community. A local customer-facing role can introduce you to a range of different people and help you to find satisfaction in providing excellent customer service. There are often perks on offer, such as staff discounts, getting first dibs on popular items that sell out quickly, and being the first to know when an item is about to hit the sale rail.
One of the other great things about retail is that there are a wide range of roles and retailers available to choose from – from clothing to food, and technology to homewares – so it’s simply up to you to choose something that takes your fancy.
For those who enjoy meeting new people and don’t mind the sight of blood, phlebotomy can be a great job option.
Phlebotomists take blood samples from patients to be sent to the laboratory for diagnostic testing. They work with members of the public of all different ages and backgrounds and are generally based in hospitals or private laboratories. And whilst no one particularly likes having their blood taken, it can be made so much easier if the Phlebotomist doing it is able to help you relax.
Therefore, to be truly good at this role, you’ll need to be a great communicator who can connect well with strangers. You may have to take blood from children or people with severe needle phobias, who may be a bit hesitant about the process and need a bit of convincing, which will usually involve saying and doing the right things to gain their trust.
If you’d like to get started, then it’s worth contacting your local hospital directly to find out whether there are any paid apprenticeship or trainee opportunities available. Alternatively, you could see whether they can take you on as a volunteer, so that you can network, build up some new skills and decide whether phlebotomy is the right role for you. Then, if any trainee positions do pop up, you’ll be one of the first to know.
Counsellors are usually empathetic, trustworthy and able to listen to others talk for long periods of time. They offer people a safe and non-judgemental space to express how they are feeling, and work towards resolving any issues that they might have.
As a Counsellor, your role wouldn’t be to offer advice, but to pay attention, ask questions that can help clients explore different emotions, and offer empathy.
There are no set standards for training to become a Counsellor, however, the The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) recommend that you complete a three-stage Diploma course (lasting three years), which will give you plenty of opportunities to practice your counselling skills in real-life situations and get feedback from supervisors and tutors.if yo
However, if you’re not fully sure that Counselling is for you and you don’t want to commit to the full Diploma, then you can try taking a distance-learning course. This will will teach you some of the basics needed to become a Counsellor and help you decide whether it’s the career for you.
10. Driving Instructor
If you’re calm and confident behind the wheel and you love the idea of giving the gift of driving to others, then it’s worth thinking about becoming a Driving Instructor.
Most people who become Driving Instructors have been driving for several years and have built up enough experience that they feel comfortable sitting in the passenger seat next to a complete beginner, identifying potential hazards ahead of time so that they can intervene when necessary.
Learner drivers are often nervous and unconfident to start with, so it’s important that you can be encouraging and exercise patience. A good Driving Instructor has to be able to communicate clearly and effectively – both to ensure that the student understands the instructions, as well as helping to encourage them and improve their confidence.
As a Driving Instructor, you could earn anywhere between £20-£30 per hour, depending on what area you teach in and whether you work for yourself or a driving school franchise. Some people prefer to work for a driving school or agency first whilst they build up confidence in their teaching ability, whilst others prefer to work on a self-employed basis, choosing their own schedule – but it’s completely up to you!
The journey to becoming an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), is fairly straightforward and involves completing a period of training with a driving school, before taking a series of tests provided by the DVSA. To find out more about becoming a Driving Instructor, read out full guide below.
If you’re a compassionate and empathetic person who enjoys acting as a rock for others, then a career as a Doula could be ideal for you.
Doulas tend to work at one of two different ends of the spectrum of life – with people who are pregnant, labouring or with a new baby, or those who are coming to the end of their life. Both of these life stages are emotional and daunting for people, and having someone there to offer practical assistance can make a huge difference. Your job is essentially to make someone feel safe and supported – which could mean holding a labouring woman’s hand, helping around the house with the cooking and cleaning, offering supportive words, or engaging in someone’s favourite hobby with them as they make the most of their last few months of life.
Doula’s tend to work on a self-employed basis and offer services to people in their local area, charging a price per hour. And everything that you need to know about supporting people during such sensitive and critical times of their life can be learnt by taking the courses below…
Would you like to support women and families during pregnancy, birth or soon after?
Or would you be more interested in becoming an End of Life Doula?
If you enjoy making other people look and feel fantastic, and you’re keen to learn some new skills, then a career as a Hairdresser could be a good match.
Clients generally trust their Hairdresser to be honest and use their knowledge, skills and experience to deliver the hair makeover they’ve been dreaming of. They will also be responsible for ensuring clients are comfortable and happy throughout the hairstyling process. Often, clients will happily chat to Hairdressers about different aspects of their lives, and it’s not uncommon for clients to become more like friends than customers.
In Britain, hairdressing is not a regulated profession, so you don’t need any qualifications to start your career. There are many salons who are willing to train people on the job, whilst they complete a hairdressing qualification alongside, so there’s nothing to stop you applying for trainee roles at a salon near you. Or if you’ve got the time and can afford to pay for training, then you may want to increase your chances of getting hired by acquiring a few skills before you start applying for jobs. Hairdressing: The Complete Guide is a popular course offered by “Of Course” for anyone looking to start a career as a Hairdresser.
13. Victim Care Officer
Victim Care Officers help people who have been affected by serious crimes, like sexual assault or domestic abuse, come to terms with what has happened to them. This is a rewarding but naturally challenging role, because although it can make an incredible difference to the lives of people who have been through a traumatic time, you will need to tailor your support to each victims needs, according to their vulnerabilities and differences.
It may be possible that you may be the first person a victim has opened up to about their experience, so you must be prepared for any emotions – for example, anger, fear and guilt – that rise to the surface as they begin to deal with the events that took place.
The best way to get started as a Victim Care Officer is by gaining experience. You may already have some if you’ve worked in counselling or with vulnerable people, in which case you may be able to apply directly. If you haven’t had that experience, then it’s worth getting your foot on the ladder by doing some volunteer work with a victim or witness care organisation first, such as Victim Support, to help you develop the skills needed to support victims.
14. Funeral Director
Someone who has just lost a family member or a friend will have a lot on their plate already. Trying to plan a funeral during this time can be difficult and stressful. This is where a Funeral Director steps in.
An individual or a family will usually express their wishes about the funeral to the Funeral Director, who will then arrange the details of the funeral from start to finish. Whilst dealing with death is never pleasant, there is a lot of satisfaction to be found in helping people celebrate the life of someone they loved, making their grief that little bit more bearable.
To be a good Funeral Director, you will need to be sensitive, tactful and comfortable talking about death. You’ll be dealing directly with grieving families and friends, so it’s important that you can communicate in the right way.
The fastest route to a career as a Funeral Director if you have little or no experience is to get a job as a Funeral Arranger first. But if you have sufficient experience in the funeral care industry, or you have extensive experience in customer service, you may be able to apply for a job as a Funeral Director straightaway.