Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming a best-selling author, professional footballer, an astronaut or a rock star? While these may be out of reach, there are other slightly more accessible dream jobs that will make you the envy of all your friends. See if any of these inspire you…
Voice over artist
Have you ever given a thought to who provides the gravelly-toned voice on movie trailers – or who creates the sound effects on computer games or talks on radio and TV ads? Voice-over artists are paid to bring a script to life with their voice – which could be a serious tone for a home learning video or the squeaky high-pitched giggle of a cartoon character.
Some voice-over artists come from a drama background, but qualifications aren’t necessary. If you have a versatile voice with a good range, try approaching agencies such as The Showreel who can help you put together a professional demo and offer coaching and courses. Once you’ve got your reel, the next step is to approach TV production companies and radio stations for ad work.
Do your friends always turn to you for help on matters of the heart? Become a professional agony aunt and you can share your wisdom with the world. The best known agony aunts write columns for newspapers and magazines, answers reader questions online and pen books for organisations like Relate.
As a professional agony aunt, most publications would expect you to be “qualified” to give advice – which might mean having a degree in psychology, being a trained psychotherapist, or having a background as a counsellor. Having writing experience also helps – so if you can provide examples of published work (even on your own blog) it may help you to find paid work in the future.
Being paid to eat chocolate for a living rates pretty highly on the ‘dream jobs list’ for many. Nearly every company in the food industry employs tasters who check product quality and work on developing new products – testing everything from fish pie to fudge.
If you’re lucky enough to land a role as a food technologist at a company like Thorntons (a degree in food science and technology is generally required), you could find yourself working within the new product development team devising recipes, inputting on the design of the final decoration, and of course, tasting the new chocolate creations.
Ferrari test driver
You might not be lucky enough to own a Ferrari – but what about a job test driving them? Test drivers work with the company’s engineers to test the entire vehicle from front bumper to rear bumper, making sure every spark plug and every sensor works exactly as it should.
Although not a prerequisite, a background in mechanics or mechanical engineering is likely to give you an advantage. You’ll also need exceptional driving abilities – speeding round a race track at more than 200mph requires training and skill, not least nerve. As you might imagine, competition is fierce – check the company websites of places like Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche for job openings.
You may never be a star, but it’s easier than you might think to become a film extra. Extras are required to appear on TV dramas, commercials and music videos, as well as blockbuster movies – who knows, you could find yourself stood next to Johnny Depp one day. You don’t need supermodel looks – people of all ages and sizes are required – and acting experience isn’t necessary, though you will need a professional attitude and be able to take direction.
There are many agencies around the country that cast extras. Search online or invest in a copy of Contacts (£12.37, Amazon), an annual directory which lists casting agencies. Some agencies charge a registration fee and take a commission (around 11%), while others charge nothing upfront but take a larger cut of your earnings.
Payment can be wide ranging, from around £65 to £200 for a nine-hour day, depending on the production and what’s involved. Work is erratic, so you’ll need to make yourself available, sometimes at short notice, and will need transport to get to film locations. Being in the same room as movie stars is exciting – but be prepared for lots of waiting around too.