If anyone has ever said to you, “You shop like it’s your job,” then this might just be your favorite time of year. For those who are looking to start turning the satisfaction of buying things into a more profitable (and personal credit card-friendly) career path in the new year, then there are definitely options you can pursue.
A personal assistant is generally tasked with managing an employer’s professional or personal life. That can include handling scheduling, shopping and ordering on their behalf, running errands, or performing other support tasks.
What you’ll need: There are no specific credentials needed to be a personal assistant, but certain skill sets come in handy: strong organization, good communication skills, and solid customer service skills, to name a few.
What it pays: The average median salary for a personal assistant is $45,146, according to Payscale.com.
A personal shopper is…pretty much what it sounds like. Personal shoppers are employed by retailers or other organizations to assist specific customers in purchasing products. If you’ve ever mainlined entire seasons of Friends, this is what Rachel Green did for Bloomingdales for a time—working with clients to determine what they need, sourcing particular products, and advising the customers on what they should buy within a particular budget. (Though the real-life version is more professional, less zany interactions with guest stars.)
Personal shopping is often a good way to start a career in retail merchandising or other retail-based career paths.
What you’ll need: Personal shoppers are savvy client managers, so good customer service skills are key. It’s also important to have knowledge of current trends, product quality, and the market in general.
What it pays: The average median salary for a personal shopper is $32,000 per year, according to Payscale.
Do you have a flair for aesthetics, an addiction to HGTV, and an unfailing sense of style? If so, you might want to look toward the home decorating end of things. An interior designer works with clients to remodel, decorate and accessorize their personal spaces. Interior designers have a functional knowledge of architecture and aesthetics, as well as knowing how to make a design fit legal or safety regulations. They find a balance between the creative and the practical, within a client’s budget. Interior designers might work on their own with personal clients, or also within a larger architectural or design firm. In terms of shopping, the job typically involves sourcing and buying materials for the client’s needs.
What you’ll need: Interior designers usually have a bachelor’s degree with a focus on interior design, engineering, or architecture.
What it pays: The average median salary for an interior designer is $57,060, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Buyers (also known as purchasing agents) plan, source, and buy goods for a given organization. These buyers can be found in just about any industry, from retail to the military or IT. It’s not quite the “shopping” we might think of usually, but it involves the same skills necessary to scout the best prices, find the best quality, and work within a budget.
What you’ll need: Purchasing agents/buyers typically have a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or supply management. Strong financial skills are a must for this kind of job.
What it pays: The average median salary for a purchasing agent is $72,270 per year.
Do you ever wonder who decides what products that stores sell? That responsibility falls to wholesale or retail buyers, who make sure that stores and sellers have products that will sell, drive traffic, and meet the needs of the customer base. Wholesale and retail buyers aren’t just responsible for direct purchasing, but also strategizing and coming up with merchandising guidelines to keep the store on budget and meeting strategic goals.
What you’ll need: Purchasing agents/buyers typically have a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or supply management. Strong organizational and financial skills are essential.
What it pays: The average median salary for a wholesale/retail buyer is $66,690, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What if, instead of buying and selling things, you’re buying and selling financial transactions? Commodities traders make transactions related to commodities such as securities, stocks and bonds, currency, agricultural goods, and other goods—like orange juice futures if you’re familiar with the classic 80s movie Trading Places. These traders work with clients to analyze the market’s movements and tendencies in real-time, and use this information to advise clients on what shares they should buy or sell.
What you’ll need: Commodities traders typically have a bachelor’s degree in business or finance-related fields or an MBA.
What it pays: The average median salary for commodities traders is $64,770, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Being a shopper involves a lot of skills that can have real-world applications if you apply them to your career path. With some training and savvy about what’s out there and what it’s worth, you might just be able to turn that hobby into a fulfilling career for yourself.