Social jobs working with people

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 personalities 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’s no single kind – but if you’re the sort 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.

1. Receptionist


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’ll 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’re 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.

2. Hospitality


Hospitality is all about entertaining and receiving guests and making them feel as welcome and as comfortable as possible. This is a key role in the service industry. You’re 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 and 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’ll be more concerned with how you come across when dealing with people.

3. Customer service

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’d 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’re 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

youth worker

Would you like to make a difference in 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 11-25 years old that 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 at a youth club, community centre, 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. Sales


As the saying goes, ‘people buy from people’. If you’re the kind of person who’s 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’ve 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’re open to discussion and willing to be persuaded.

There’s a great deal of psychology in sales. The best salespeople tend to be empathetic and inquisitive, and typically listen more than they talk! They’re 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.

6. Retail


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’s 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.

Although, if you need some inspiration, you could consider applying for a role at Southern Co-op? They have over 200 convenience stores across the South of England, and they’re always looking for enthusiastic people to join their team. So if you think a role in retail might be right for you, then why not search Southern Co-op vacancies on our site?

7. Phlebotomist

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. These kinds of people may be a little 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.

8. Counsellor


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’re 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, offer empathy, and ask questions that can help clients explore different emotions.

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 practise your counselling skills in real-life situations and get feedback from supervisors and tutors.

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 teach you some of the basics needed to become a counsellor and help you decide whether it’s the career for you.

9. Driving instructor

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 and 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. On the other hand, others prefer working on a self-employed basis and 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 our full guide below.

10. Doula


If you’re a compassionate and empathetic person who enjoys supporting 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, 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.

As a doula, your job would essentially be 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 learned 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?

11. Hairdresser


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 for you.

Clients generally trust their hairdressers to be honest and use their knowledge, skills, and experience to deliver the hair makeover they’ve been dreaming of. They’ll 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 that are willing to train people on the job whilst they complete a hairdressing qualification, so there’s nothing to stop you from 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. Alternatively, you can check out the hairdressing courses available on our website.

12. Victim care officer

victim care

Victim care officers help people who’ve 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’ll need to tailor your support to each victims needs, according to their vulnerabilities and differences.

It may be possible that you’ll 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.

13. Funeral director

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’ll then arrange the details of the funeral from start to finish. While dealing with death is never pleasant, there’s 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’ll 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.

If you have little experience, then the fastest route to a career as a funeral director 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.

Want to learn more about becoming a funeral director?

Or ready to apply for a funeral-related job today?

14. Teacher


A good teacher will do more than simply teach, they’ll also encourage students to make positive choices in their lives and inspire them to be the best they can be.

Many people never forget the teachers that have had a positive influence on their lives and will often hold onto life lessons learned from them long after they leave the classroom.

There are several routes you can take to gain Qualified Teacher Status (OTS), depending on what skills, qualifications, and experience you already have. This can range from completing an undergraduate degree to taking on a specialised training programme which is geared towards people who are retraining later in life. You can find out more in our dedicated guide.

15. Personal trainer

personal trainer

If you’re passionate about health and fitness, then chances are that you’ll understand the value that exercise can add to your life.

Personal trainers spend their time motivating others to aim high and reach their fitness goals. The role comes with a great deal of reward because you’re essentially helping people to improve their lives. However, it can also prove challenging – especially if clients struggle to believe in themselves.

This is where effective communication is particularly important. Part of a personal trainer’s job is to try and make clients feel good about what they’re doing even when things get tough and they want to give up.

To get started as a personal trainer, you don’t need any formal academic qualifications, but you should have a recognised qualification for safety reasons and credibility. The Level 2 and 3 Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer Combined Course is accredited by the YMCA (the UK’s leading fitness organisation) and successful completion will allow you to join the Register of Exercise Professionals.

Once qualified, you can either work as a personal trainer at a gym or fitness centre, or you might decide you want to take the leap and work on a self-employed basis, advertising your services locally.

16. Veterinary nurse

veterinary nurse

Veterinary nurses help to care for and rehabilitate sick or injured animals. They typically work in veterinary surgeries or practices, but they can also work for animal charities or zoos, sometimes providing emergency or specialised care.

Whilst veterinary nurses spend a lot of time with animals, those animals are (more often than not) attached to worried humans who need regular updates and reassurance about their pet’s condition. So, for this reason, it helps if a veterinary nurse has good social skills and can put animal owners at ease.

One of the best ways to get started is to enrol on a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at your local college, adult education centre, or veterinary school. This vocational course will allow you to put your theoretical knowledge into practice and get hands-on experience.

You can either take the course full-time, or part-time on an apprenticeship-style basis alongside a part-time job as an assistant in a veterinary practice.

Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll be able to apply for professional registration as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), which means you can start applying for professional roles.

17. Nurse or midwife

Nurses work with patients who are injured or unwell, helping them to recover or at the very least, feel more comfortable. On the other hand, midwives work with women who’re pregnant, labouring, or have recently given birth to a new baby to make sure that both mum and baby are both happy and healthy.

Whilst both have quite different responsibilities in respect to the care they provide, the skills and qualities needed to do both these roles are quite similar. They both aim to gain the trust of their patient whilst making them feel as relaxed and reassured as possible.

Gaining that trust enables nurses and midwives to do a better job because patients are more likely to offer up information about any health concerns they may have, allowing them to get the proper care and treatment that they need.

The routes to becoming a fully-qualified nurse or midwife are fairly similar, with the degree route being the most common option. If you’d like to know more about how to get into either of these professions, then you can carry on reading by selecting one of the guides below.

Final thoughts...

From helping learners to pass their driving tests to organising funerals, we hope that this list of social jobs has given you some inspiration if you’re looking for a role that connects you with others.

For more job ideas, why not head on over to the career advice section of our website? Here, you can find articles like 14 rewarding jobs where you can really make a difference and Roles that will take you around the world.

Do you work in a social job? If so, what is it? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation over on the Rest Less community forum or leave a comment below.

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