Meta Description: Companies nowadays appreciate soft skills just as much, sometimes more, than hard skills when it comes to hiring good employees. Soft skills are intangible and grow and change as workplace relationships evolve. They are not as easy to learn but can be developed through classes, workshops, mentorships and determination.
Ted, who has an MBA, exhibited a knack for unearthing the best research. However, most of the time it never reached his manager’s desk before the deadline. He suffered from severe disorganization and was extremely difficult to work with on a team.
Fred, on the other hand, was an excellent communicator with a terrific personality that made everyone want to work with him. Yet his computer skills were appalling, as were his financial skills. When it came to solving a problem, however, everyone knew to consult Fred.
Who sounds like the better long-term employee? Ted or Fred? Ted offers two wonderful hard skills: his degree and research abilities. Yet he possesses three poor soft skills. He is not dependable or organized and is not a team player. Fred is somewhat the opposite. He falls short with two hard skills: computer savviness and financial skills. However, he epitomizes three soft skills. He is an effective communicator, problem solver and team player.
Soft Skills, Hard Skills… What’s the Bother?
What is all the fuss about soft skills and hard skills? What do they really mean? Professional skills characterized as hard are those that are defined and measurable. Perhaps most notable, they are teachable. For example, Fred’s employer could enroll him in computer and financial workshops to improve his effectiveness. Or Fred himself could take classes at a local college to earn a certificate or degree. He could truly learn to master all of those hard skills in which he is deficient.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are intangible attributes of employees. They are non-technical skills that affect relationships and are not as easy to teach. In Ted’s case, he needs to learn to be dependable, organized and a team player. See the difference? While there are ways to teach those skills, they are not as measurable and concrete as teaching the skills that Fred needs. It’s not possible to master them, either, since humans’ personalities are constantly growing and changing, as are the relationships at work.
Which Skills Set Do Employers Care About Most?
According to a January 22, 2018, article on LinkedIn, “57 percent of leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills.” A 2014 national survey conducted for CareerBuilder found an astounding 77 percent of companies stated that soft and hard skills were equally important. If you think of it in the most elementary way, it’s a lot more difficult to teach a grade school student how to be nice than it is to add two plus two.
A person showcasing a wonderful array of soft skills is more employable and more desirable. What if you know you lack in some of the popular soft skills described? Is it possible to improve enough to be noticed? The first thing that will get you noticed is your acknowledgment. If you can go to your boss and admit the deficiency, you have made one positive step already. Ask your manager for help in making the changes you want. There are classes for everything. You might find something online or at the local college. If you can’t find related training, ask someone who exudes the skill to be your mentor. He can give you tips and feedback. You will need to be able to accept the necessary constructive criticism throughout this process. Even if you did take classes, a mentor is a terrific way to make yourself more accountable.
Examples of Soft Skills
In evaluating numerous business-related websites, nearly two dozen soft skills were emphasized for their importance. Twelve of those are described below in order from most common to least. You’ll notice some overlap between the skills.
- Communication. Communication involves many areas, such as verbal (in-person, over the phone or even webcasts) and written communication (e.g., memos, reports, emails, official documents or presentations, letters) as well as conflict resolution, negotiation and persuasiveness. A good communicator must be able to relate to colleagues, bosses, vendors and clients. This is a key skill all professionals should continually improve.
- Teamwork. Everyone knows how uncomfortable and challenging it is to work with a superior, equal or inferior who is unkind, argumentative or uncooperative. An effective team player is someone who listens well, speaks and acts respectfully and does his or her fair share of the work. He or she is also flexible and committed.
- Adaptability. When a project changes direction, it’s important for employees to stay level-headed, calm and go with the flow. Companies want folks who can transition and keep the needed work on track.
- Problem solving. Effective workers can analyze the situation and change course as needed, similar to being flexible. You should be resourceful and have the ability to present solutions, whether it is with people or projects.
- Leadership. Of course, admirable leaders are always needed in the workplace. Companies want someone who can see what needs to be done, find the resources and produce an excellent outcome. They want leaders who get involved, are fair and inspire others.
- Time management. Have you ever heard the saying, “If you have five hours to complete a task, you’ll take five hours? Yet, if you have two hours to finish the same task, you will do it?” Someone with good time management skills budgets the proper time to complete what they need to do and strives to get it done early, if possible. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog every morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” If you tackle your difficult or big project first, it will make the remainder of the day easier.
- Dependability. Your supervisor must be able to rely upon you when you’ll be at work and what you’ll accomplish. He or she should also have no doubt that if you have an assignment to complete, it will be done as expected. A dependable employee also produces consistent, fine work.
- Creativity. This is a trickier soft skill to learn but can be done with a lot of practice, awareness and mentorship. Train your brain to think and look outside the obvious. Read habitually and make learning part of your everyday routine. Be curious. Ask questions others are afraid to ask. Be willing to try new things and fail. From failure, people learn how to improve. Don’t forget to take breaks. The human brain needs breaks and other stimulation.
- Work under pressure. There have been many movie scenes of people operating under pressure at work. “Jerry Maguire,” “Office Space” and “The Devil Wears Prada” are just a few examples. In actuality, some people thrive under pressure— and managers love those individuals. This skill incorporates staying level-headed, calm and productive.
- Work ethic. A good work ethic shows your employer that you are worthy, reliable and honorable. This attribute is likely something you learned from your parents. An October 31, 2015, article in Inc. magazine described a related analysis by Harvard Business Review. It found that parents’ work ethics could influence their children in a variety of ways from the offspring following it exactly, to doing the opposite. The study established that sometimes the shadowing was deliberate and other times it was not.
- Organization. You’ve seen the offices where the papers are piled high everywhere, but the owner knows exactly where everything is. While it is possible to work in a state of disarray, it’s not ideal. Create a consistent pattern for filing important emails and papers and a schedule for doing it. Set aside periodic times to purge the unnecessary. Delegate, manage deadlines and make appointments.
- Motivation. This is a big one. The work of motivated employees really shines and inspires others. Recognize good ideas and final products. Be optimistic. Set attainable goals. Determine your purpose.
Other soft skills that were mentioned less frequently included critical thinking, decisiveness, prioritization, growth potential, cultural fit, friendliness, coachability, self-confidence, commitment and attitude.
How to Flaunt Your Skills
When applying for jobs, take particular note of the skills mentioned in the job description, whether it be hard or soft. Be sure to revise your past and present job descriptions to incorporate them into your resume, cover letter and job interview. See the examples below.
- Job description: Need reliable individuals who work well under pressure with tight deadlines.
- Your resume and cover letter: As an account coordinator at ABC Company, I regularly produced a quick turnaround on special reports to clients.
- Job description: Ability to problem solve and work on a team.
- Your resume and cover letter: As the lead accountant for XYZ Team, I facilitated the resolution of discrepancies and problems through weekly meetings.
In a formal job interview, you’ll likely be asked to give examples of situations where you exhibited the desired soft skill. It might be an example of how you organized a project you lead, what you did in the face of a conflict with a co-worker or how you handled a time crunch.
Whether it be tangible or intangible attributes, if you want to be the best employee or boss, you’ll need to work on it regularly. There are classes online and in-person to help you gain new skills or fine-tune old ones. Advance all your skills, keep a mentorship active with someone you respect and ask your employer what steps you need to take to further your career.
Foresters Job Description
Foresters perform physically demanding work in frequently adverse weather conditions, yet it is a rewarding profession that has a tangible, measurable impact on the environment. We have information on job specifications, the types of work foresters do, education requirements and the hiring outlook for the future.
If you enjoy being outdoors, are concerned about the environment and don't mind hard physical labor, a forester job may be a good fit for you. Foresters manage both private and public forested ecosystems, balancing the various needs such as timber use, water quality maintenance, recreational use and preservation. It is a demanding job that requires a lot of trekking through difficult terrain. However, it is also a rewarding job as the work foresters do has a real and demonstrable impact on the health of our natural systems.
It's All in a Day's Work
What does a forester actually do on any given day? The answer is a little bit of everything. Here is a partial list of the typical duties:
- 1Find and identify timber for commercial paper mills or sawmills.
- 2Supervise the harvesting of timber.
- 3Develop, implement and monitor reforestation efforts.
- 4Oversee community and urban trees.
- 5Conduct research about a particular forest ecosystem.
- 6Check and monitor disease and insect outbreaks.
- 7Plan and design forest hiking trails, road systems and tree planting.
- 8Conduct resource surveys.
- 9Plan and implement watershed management systems.
- 10Appraise a forest ready for harvest for timber value.
- 11Work with forest owners to help them meet their forest goals.
- 12Manage controlled burns and fight wildfires.
- 13Plan and oversee the recreational use of forests.
As foresters may work for a government organization on public lands or for a private company or individual, their work may range from protecting the trees to harvesting them. In any case, foresters are always concerned with the good of the environment and sustainability.
Foresters may work in many different climes and for a variety of employers. Obviously, most foresters spend a good deal of time outside in all kinds of weather and frequently walk long distances through heavy forest undercover. Jobs may be found in very isolated areas on reserved land or in urban centers, managing trees for a municipality.
A forester may also find employment at universities or research centers. Different organizations need foresters to study diseases and insects that affect tree growth. These foresters are busy discovering ways to stop the spread of tree blight and protect our forests from damage and decimation.
A Forestry Education
Most forester positions require a bachelor's degree. There are some federal jobs that will take experience in lieu of a degree, but they are scarce and the competition for those positions is fierce. If you would like to become a forester, it's best that you go to a college or university and major in forestry.
Search for a degree program that is accredited by the Society of American Foresters. This ensures that your coursework is rigorous enough to meet the standards of the profession. It also gives your degree more weight and importance when applying for jobs.
You can also earn a master's degree and PhD in forestry. This is a good idea if you want to advance in your career. Forestry administrative positions frequently require a graduate degree, particularly with the government or conservation agencies. Graduate coursework allows you to specialize and perform research that prepares you for a science-based, analytical job that is a step or two above evaluating trees for timber.
If you are interested in forestry, you must take a lot of math and science classes. Physics, biology, chemistry, statistics and algebra are all essential for success in this career. Courses in government policy are needed as well, since so much of forestry work concerns maintaining federal lands. A few business classes are a good idea if you plan on becoming a forester for a private company.
Forester Certification, Licensing, and Registration
The Society of American Foresters provides a professional certification for the best foresters. This certification is an official stamp of approval and is a great boost for anyone seeking a forestry job. The certification process is demanding and includes the following:
- The applicant must have a bachelor's or master's degree in forestry or in a related field such as environmental studies or ecology. If it is the latter, coursework must include 56 credit hours of forestry classes.
- The applicant must have a minimum of five years of experience in two of the following areas: management planning, resource assessment, execution of management plan, and stakeholder analysis and relations.
- The applicant must earn 60 Continuing Forestry Education hours in three years.
Some states, such as Maine, Massachusetts and Maryland require foresters to be licensed to work in that state. In other states, like North Carolina, West Virginia and Georgia, foresters must first register before working there. If you know where you want to work, it's important to check that state's regulations to ensure that your employment will be legal.
Examples of Forestry Jobs
Here are some real examples of forester positions with a description of the work you would perform.
1. Forester for a lumber company
This position requires you to live where the lumber is, often the Pacific Northwest. When you work for a lumber company, you are assisting them in developing contracts for the responsible harvest of usable timber. Job responsibilities include timber appraisal, quality control, contract negotiation, timber sale administration and road construction appraisal. Basic skills you need to have are a commitment to safety, working and communicating well with a team and an attention to detail.
2. Forestry Crew Lead
As a crew lead you are responsible for heading a four to five-person crew working on forest restoration and vegetation management projects. Some possible duties could be data collection, inspections, marking trees for harvesting and timber cruising. There may be times that the crew has to camp in the field for extended periods. To be successful in this position you would need to use a GPS, read a topographic map, be physically fit and good at scheduling.
3. Project Manager
For a manager position you typically need a graduate degree or a bachelor's degree with several years of experience. As a manager you would be responsible for overseeing forest restoration projects and ensuring that they meet the objectives of environmental stewardship, regulatory compliance, financial returns for the company and community engagement. This job requires leadership and team-building skills as well as the ability to organize, motivate and negotiate.
4. Log Yard Manager
If you want to be a forester, but don't want to spend most of your time in the field, this type of job is a good choice for you. A log yard manager is responsible for scaling and grading hardwoods and marketing products to customers. You need to be adept at maintaining inventory records, developing relationships with loggers and customers, and communicating effectively.
5. Supervisor of Parks and Urban Forestry
This is a great position for you if you love trees and nature but want to live in a city. Positions of this type involve monitoring and maintaining a city's trees. You would be responsible for controlling disease, blight, insect infestations and overseeing any pruning or trimming. You might also create and implement reforestation protocols and replanting schedules. This position requires computer skills, the ability to negotiate and mediate, and an understanding of the needs of diverse populations.
6. Professor of Forestry
Teaching at a university or college is a good option for foresters who have some field experience and want to share it with others. Most professorships combine teaching with research opportunities and would expect you to be involved with studying issues such as the environmental impact of logging, tree diseases, invasive species and other similar topics. You typically will need to have a PhD in forestry as well as a few years' experience of working in the field in order to be considered for a teaching position at a university or college.
The Future of Forester Jobs
The demand for wood products is always in flux, and that impacts forester jobs. Paper use is in decline as more records and print media go digital, reducing the number of jobs in the lumber industry. However, the use of forests for recreation and tourism is on the rise, and this is generating more jobs in the national parks and forests sector. If you can stay flexible and have a broad skill set, you will be well prepared for current forester positions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for foresters in the United States is $60,970 per year. The number of positions is expected to grow by 6 percent through the year 2026. This is the national average rate for job growth, which shows that forester jobs are keeping pace with the economy. If you are interested in working abroad, there are many countries that have robust forestry industry growth and are aggressively recruiting employees. Canada and New Zealand are two examples.
Working as a forester can be an exciting and rewarding career. It gives you stewardship over an important part of our planet and the opportunity to help maintain it. It requires strong scientific and analytical skills in addition to excellent physical strength and stamina. In short, being a forester gives you the chance to use mind, body and soul every single day.
Meta Description: A list of 14 rules to help you get through your salary negotiation. We have compiled research to bring you the most valid and helpful information and divided it into manageable guidelines. Start with your market value, decide on your ideal number and your minimum number, then work your way forward with confidence.
Learn the Art of Salary Negotiation Using These 14 Rules
Salary negotiation is probably one of the toughest things to deal with, whether you’re starting a new job or you’re looking for a pay raise in your current position. It’s not easy for many people to put a price on their worth, and it can be a seriously stressful situation if you go into it unprepared.
But fear not, we’ve put together a list of rules for you to follow that will help you on your way to successfully negotiating your salary and approaching the issue wisely.
1. Know Your Value
This is going to be your first step, even before you really start salary negotiations. You need to know what your actual market value is and how to sell that. Research is your friend in finding out exactly what others with your skills are earning. You can talk to recruiters in addition to searching the internet, just make sure you’ve researched enough that you’re confident in what you’ve discovered.
2. Find Your Number
Now that you know your market value, you will need to know the exact number that you ideally want for your salary, and don’t use a range. A range will tell your employers that you’re willing to go lower, and that’s where they’ll start, so have a specific goal number in your mind. You’ll also want to have a maximum (a padded number to start with), and a minimum where you’ll draw the line.
3. Have a Walk-Away Number
It’s possible that you’re not going to get even the minimum salary you are aiming for, despite any attempts to negotiate. Know what your lowest acceptable salary is, and be willing to walk away if it isn’t met. Sometimes you can work the negotiations up from a lowball offer (20% below your minimum), but it can be very tricky and will require a lot of skill and research.
4. Timing Is Everything
After a performance evaluation is actually not the best time to be angling for a raise because management may have already decided to grant one for your whole department, and they’re not going to give you another one on top of that.
Instead, aim for 3-4 months before performance evaluations, as that will give you plenty of time to look for ways to go above and beyond and really show them that you deserve the raise you’ll be asking for.
Also, it has been suggested that the day of the week you pick may also have an effect. Thursdays and Fridays are at the end of the work week, and everyone is ready for the weekend. Nobody wants to take work home with them, so you might have a better chance of walking away happy if you negotiate on one of those days
5. Confidence is Key
If you can’t actually be confident, “fake it ‘til you make it” is an excellent mindset to get into when you’re going into salary negotiations. Even if you’re not really feeling confident, act the part. In fact, if it makes it easier for you, imagine it as a role you’re acting out on a private stage.
Some people say this makes a huge difference, allowing them to walk in confidently and get through meetings much more easily. If confidence isn’t a problem, you’re one of the lucky ones, so make sure to walk tall and make use of your firm handshake.
6. Show and Tell
Sadly, you can’t just waltz into the room with your proposed number and have that be it. You have to show what you’ve done to deserve the salary you want, and you need to have an idea of what you will do in the future to make their investment worth it.
This is the time to pull out a prepared brag sheet, listing successes that put more weight in your corner. Don’t be shy here; if you’ve done something stellar, make sure you bring it up. Don’t gloat, nobody likes a Braggy Betty, but do factually and proudly state your achievements.
7. Focus on Your Market Worth
You can mention your current salary or not, it’s up to you, but if you do it should be in passing and not the focus of your discussion. Don’t bring up personal needs, such as raised rent or medical bills as a reason for needing a pay raise.
Everyone has those kinds of issues, and it’s probably not going to be a bargaining chip you can use. Stay on your marketable skills, market worth, work performance, and personal achievements. That’s where your focus should be, and it’s your job to direct their focus to those as well.
8. In Their Shoes
Consider the other person’s position as you work through your salary negotiation and listen very carefully to everything they say. Really make the effort to understand what their position is, and listen to understand, not to reply. Listening and understanding their point of view can help you find a solution that works with everyone.
Also consider the people in your life that will benefit from the desired salary other than yourself, like family, your own future self, and your employer. You don’t have to mention them but do keep them in mind as motivation. You’re more likely to come out on top if you have more to fight for than just yourself.
9. Be Positive, But Firm
Focus on positive experiences you’ve had with the company if you’re going for a raise or positive outlooks if this is a new job opportunity. Be kind and respectful, but also be firm on your number and what you want.
Definitely do not make threats about leaving if you don’t get what you want or hang other job opportunities over their heads. Not only is that unprofessional, but it will leave bad feelings all around no matter the outcome. Stand your ground, but do it with respect.
10. Pad Your Bid
Not only is this a salary negotiation, this is a bidding war, so pad your bid. Go for the high end of your market value range and ask for more than what you want. You’ll probably have to haggle for it, so put your high number out first and set the bar just as high. This will give you more wiggle room to get to the salary you want and will hopefully stop any lowball counteroffers that you can’t consider accepting.
11. Other Perks
There are other things you can keep in mind in addition to your salary during negotiations. Job perks, office location, vacation time, a better title, your pick of projects, and signing bonuses may be things you want, and maybe even more than a higher salary.
You also might have to settle for some of those other options if they won’t budge on salary. Prioritizing your list is good preparation, just in case your first option isn’t available. You may miss out on a pay raise, but you could end up with a lot more vacation time or a signing bonus to make up for it.
12. Don’t Be Afraid of “No”
It’s not really negotiating until there’s a “no,” so don’t be scared of it when it comes. You might hear “no” for a lot of different reasons. They will probably not accept your first offer, but if they make a really low counter offer, don’t be afraid to question it.
In fact, as you negotiate you might get a lot of “no” until you reach an agreeable number. You may even end up getting a “no” altogether. Don’t let that discourage you, though. It’s just a “no” this time, and you can try again later.
13. Use the Silence
If you’re having a meeting in person, silence is actually a powerful weapon in your arsenal, as is patience. When they make an offer, don’t immediately go “hmm” or “um.” Take a few seconds of silence to consider it. Give yourself that time not only to think, but also leave to them in suspense. They may even improve their offer before you reply.
14. Use Email When You Can
Have you ever noticed how your words come out much more concise and reasonable when you’re writing versus when you talk? Make this work in your favor. Corresponding through email in the early stages of salary negotiation will give you a chance to make your words very clear-cut and well put. You won’t be able to do the entire negotiation via email, but if you can tackle a part of it this way, it could be a good idea.
If this seems like a lot of rules, that’s because it is, but that’s due to salary negotiations being a big deal and hard to navigate, especially if it’s your first time. Following these rules, or at least treating them like a guideline, can get you started and provide you with a basic idea of what you might come up against during your negotiations.
Salary negotiation really is an art, so devote a little bit of time to studying it. Being prepared will likely be the biggest help and give you a solid base to jump from as you begin your negotiation.
The world is made up of all different kinds of people. Some love to travel, while others feel safer staying close to home. Some people work with their hands in blue collar jobs, and others couldn't imagine setting foot outside of an office. Have you ever noticed that some people are just born leaders or speakers, while others seem far more comfortable behind the scenes?
Four Jobs That Don't Require You to Work in Customer Service
Personality types determine far more for than just whether you have a quiet or outgoing demeanor. It also influences what career or jobs you are best suited to. If you don't like speaking in front of a group of people, teaching isn't going to be a good fit. On the flip side, teachers wouldn't necessarily make the best office managers.
If you're someone who doesn't enjoy talking to people, you aren't alone. Introverts, in general, do not enjoy engaging in random, constant chatter like their extrovert counterparts do. Therefore, someone who prefers to work quietly and independently should not apply for jobs that require constant face-to-face interaction. What follows are four non-customer service jobs for people who don't want to deal too much with the public.
Transcriptionists provide vital services throughout the business and medical fields. It used to be that doctors and lawyers would talk into a mini-cassette recorder and hand off the finished product to an in-house secretary or administrative assistant to type. As with everything else, the transcription industry has evolved.
The use of digital recordings has revolutionized the industry. No longer do you have to have someone sitting outside your office typing what you say. Now you can send that recording out across the world and have it back in your inbox within a matter of hours.
Online transcription companies offer a variety of services and are almost always hiring. Working as a transcriptionist typically requires a typing speed of 70 words per minute with 90-percent accuracy. If you have specialized experience in the legal or medical field, you have a leg up.
These two specialties make up a vast client base for transcription services. If you don't have experience in these fields, you aren't out of the game. With all that digital recording offers, general transcriptionists are in demand to type things like podcasts, board meetings, construction foreman notes, and the like.
Aside from the typing requirements, most companies don't require anything other than a resume showing your education and work experience. Some have short tests, which ask you to transcribe an audio sample. The best part is many companies don't even require you to interview.
Your credentials and your skills speak for themselves. After you get hired, you will have to go through a training process. After that, you are let loose to make money. You need to be able to listen, type and click submit.
One of the most significant needs in almost any profession is someone who can double check documents for grammatical and spelling errors. It is critical that correspondence, advertising, news releases, or anything written is re-read and double-checked for errors.
A misplaced comma or misspelled word can change the whole meaning of a sentence. Spell check can only take you so far. It just catches words that are misspelled, not misused. The wrong use of "there/their/they're" can make your documents appear shoddy.
A proofreader is a person who finds mistakes the writer overlooks. It is difficult to proofread something you've written since you've been looking at it for a while. Someone who has no vested interest in the piece is better able to find the errors.
For instance, this article may be riddled with typos the author cannot easily spot. A proofreader, however, will help ensure that everything flows well and makes sense for you, the reader, to enjoy.
There are a few variations to a proofreader. You can just point out mistakes, or you can also fix them. Performing both functions falls more under the category of editing. When some companies are looking for proofreaders, they are also expecting you to edit the text. Proofreading, like transcription, can be done electronically over the internet.
The beauty of being a proofreader is you usually don't have to deal with the public at large. If you are seeking a job as a proofreader, you will have to be able to pass a grammar exam and a sample article. There are classes you can also take to help you further a career in proofreading.
If you enjoy writing, there are many routes you can take that will free you from customer service-related careers:
Content writer: A content writer creates articles for websites. Many times the subjects are provided along with a word count. It is your job to do a little bit of research and put together something that gets published under the company's name. You don't usually get credit for these articles in the form of name association; however, you do get paid.
SEO writer: When companies want to drive business to their websites, they call upon search engine optimization or SEO creators. These are usually short articles or blurbs that contain specific keywords. When someone goes online and types those keywords in a search engine, the article will come up as one of the results. The person then clicks on the article and is brought to the company's website.
Social media posts: Companies need help creating content for their social media accounts as well. A social media contributor creates posts specifically designed to show up on a company's social media account. If a mattress company needs a social media post reviewing July 4th sales, then they will engage the services of a social media writer to do so.
Blogger: A blogger can create content for other websites or just their own. Bloggers make money when they have advertisers or sponsors that link to their pages. Most blogs have a theme and tone that need to be kept in mind.
A freelancer produces a product, usually something artistic, and gets paid upon submission. There is no salary or by-the-hour rate most of the time for a freelancer. You may have contracts with companies that set forth the scope of your employment, but you aren't considered an actual employee of the company.
A contract employee also means companies don't typically have to take out taxes or Social Security from your check. Instead, it falls on you to make good with the IRS.
Working as a freelancer opens you up to living a more independent life in quite a few ways. Depending on what type of work you do, you may be able to work from anywhere. If you want to hang out at the library and do some writing or take pictures of the horse farm next door to your house, you can set your own schedule.
In this way, you are also in control of your income, as the more you work, the more you get paid. Freelancing is a great job that has minimal contact with customers, as these days most of your interaction can be done online.
Start Your Own Business
You love these options and the freedom they afford, but you believe you are worth more than some of these companies are willing to pay. If you have a bankable set of skills, you can start your own business. The best part: You can do it entirely online. For example, if you have experience working as a transcriptionist, there is no need for you to keep working for a third-party except that they do the legwork of sending you work.
Opening your own transcription company will cut out that middle-man, but it will force you to do some interacting to drive business to you. You can probably accomplish most of your advertising efforts online. Maybe you know a realtor who would be willing to recommend you to title companies and law offices he or she works with. One or two clients who provide you consistent work may be all you need to get you the job you really enjoy.
Job Seeker Beware
Something important to keep in mind when searching online for a job is this: Any legitimate company will not force you to pay anything to apply or work for them. If you come across a position that seems to be a great fit, however, they want you to pay a $50 application fee, forget about it.
Never pay to work for someone else. Before you go out and spend money on specialized equipment that a company tells you is required, do some research and see if it's legitimate.
In this technological age, there are so many options for finding non-customer service jobs. If you are someone who possesses the skills to be a writer, proofreader, transcriptionist or freelancer, then there are jobs out there waiting to be done. All you need to do is spend some time looking for them.
Most of the positions listed above can be done at home with the skills and equipment you already have. It's really a win-win situation all around. A company needs your skillset, and you need a nice, quiet place to work in solitude and serenity. Win one for the introverts!
Meta Description: Food scientists promote safety and quality during the agricultural, manufacturing, production, and processing stages of the food supply cycle. Most food scientists hold degrees in chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, or food science. Learn about the daily responsibilities and requirements for a food scientist position.
Food scientists apply scientific methods and practices to food production, manufacturing, and processing. Research in food science focuses on improving the quality of food through production and maintaining safe conditions for packaging, preparing, and processing to promote public safety.
If you are interested in becoming a food scientist, you should study food science or related sciences such as chemistry, microbiology, and nutrition at the college level. A number of two- and four-year colleges and universities offer degrees in food science.
Two general career trajectories include agronomists or agricultural food scientists and food scientists and technologists. The agricultural side of food science is concerned with increasing the nutritional quality and quantity of crops or livestock and maintaining safety standards in food growing and production.
Other food scientists are concerned with the manufacture, packaging, or processing of food for consumption. Even within these broad categories, there are many different applications of food science ranging from research and development for food or pharmaceutical companies or positions in regulatory compliance and quality assurance.
What Is a Food Scientist?
Food scientists conduct research into food safety, quality, or quantity. Most food scientists hold at least an Associate or Bachelor of Science degree in food science or a related area, if not a master's or doctorate. Most food scientists work in corporate, government, or university labs, studying the characteristics and composition of food products. The primary goal of food science is to promote food safety and public health by researching food sources and methods of distributing, selling, or serving food.
A food scientist may perform experiments to identify the origins of foodborne illnesses or test samples to ensure the stability or quality of food. Some scientists work for food manufacturing or production companies that develop new food products. This research may involve fine-tuning the look, taste, or texture of various foods.
Food scientists are not licensed by professional organizations on the state or national level. Several voluntary certifications are available in different areas of food science. The Research Chefs Association offers Certified Research Chef and Certified Culinary Scientist credentials to food scientists who meet basic education and experience requirements and pass an exam.
Agricultural food scientists may be more interested in the American Society of Agronomy. In order to become a certified crop advisor, professional agronomist, or soil scientist, a scientist must hold a degree, have relevant work experience, pass an exam, and obtain continuing education credits.
If you are interested in being able to inspect food processing and service establishments for safety, you might be interested in seeking a public health certification. The American Society for Quality can certify a food scientist to act as a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point auditor.
This certification adheres to standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure that safe preparation and storage methods are being used in environments where food is being prepared or processed. You can learn more about ways to train as a scientist from the Institute of Food Technologists, which lists colleges and universities offering undergraduate and graduate food science degree programs.
What Do Food Scientists Do?
The daily work of a food scientist depends on his or her area of specialization and employer. Food scientists working for companies may spend time developing, testing, and refining food products in a lab to achieve goals such as improved taste, nutrition, or stability.
Government food scientists can be tasked with identifying the sources of outbreaks of foodborne illness, such as salmonella. Agricultural food scientists may work to ensure that the food produced by growers meets all of the safety standards set by regulatory agencies while achieving high quality and yields.
Food scientists with a focus on agriculture or agronomy research ways to improve the productivity and sustainability of crops or livestock. They may focus on the ways in which soil composition affects plant growth or how modifying feed affects farm animals.
Some scientists focus on ways to preserve the quality of produce that is transported long distances. Those performing basic research study the biological and chemical professes that influence the growth of crops or farm animals. Scientists engaging in applied research develop solutions for various challenges in the food supply.
Scientists who work in food manufacturing, packaging, or processing ensure that these environments are sanitary and up to code. They may develop new products, additives, or packaging solutions that keep food fresh for longer.
Most of these positions involve applied research and testing to create more standardized and stable food products that appeal to consumers. Whether a scientist works in agronomics or processing, he or she will develop skills that can be broadly applicable within the field of food science.
How Can You Train to Become a Food Scientist?
A variety of food science degrees and certificates are available from two-year, four-year, and trade institutions. It is also possible to study a major branch of science such as chemistry or microbiology and focus on the area of food science.
Students should try to take coursework in food analysis, food chemistry, and food engineering or processing to gain the specialized expertise necessary to excel in the professional field of food science.
Make sure to choose an institution that will enable you to take specific coursework or even specialize in the area of food science in which you are most interested. You will likely develop transferable skills, particularly if you have a solid foundation in sciences such as chemistry, microbiology, or nutrition.
Further specialization may enable you to take different types of jobs in either the basic or applied branch of food science. You should try to determine where your interests lie as soon as possible and obtain the strongest foundations in the disciplines you need to pursue the food science career you want.
In addition to pursuing undergraduate studies in the sciences or food science specifically, a food scientist should also complete an internship in this area. Real world experience can help a student direct the remainder of their academic and professional training to the type of job that he or she would like to pursue after graduation.
If you are interested in performing research at the college or university level, you should also seek further education in the form of a Master of Science, Master of Professional Studies, or even a doctorate program in food science. On the higher levels of study, you will need to select a research specialization such as food chemistry.
If you want to combine the culinary arts with food science, you might want to pursue a Certified Research Chef or Certified Culinary Scientist certificate from the Research Chefs Association.
You will need to pass an exam and meet basic requirements in the area of education, food science experience, and research and development. Candidates do not need to hold an academic degree in food science, but must have taken college-level coursework in relevant sciences.
Who Employs Food Scientists?
The largest employers in agricultural and food science are food manufacturing facilities followed by colleges and universities, research and development, government, and consulting services. Many food production companies involved in large-scale food sourcing, manufacturing, processing, and packaging may have food scientists on staff to perform research and development.
Food scientists also have insights that can be beneficial to maintaining a sterile production and packaging environment for pharmaceuticals and other sensitive products designed for human consumption.
Many colleges and universities recruit faculty and researchers in food science. This is a field in which many faculty members may have previous applied experience working for a food production company or government agency. In addition to performing research, academic food scientists publish findings in peer-reviewed or refereed scientific journals and teach courses in food science or related subjects.
Federal agencies underwrite some food science research performed by research institutions and maintain their own scientists on staff. Agricultural and food scientists work for government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration. Government food scientists may perform research on public health, safety, and nutrition and conduct clinical trials.
How Many Food Science Jobs Are Available?
As of 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there are approximately 43,000 working agricultural and food scientists in this country. Most food scientists specialize in researching crops and soil. Almost as many people working in this sector are general scientists or technologists. About one-third as many food scientists work in farm animal or livestock research.
The number of available food science jobs across all of these sectors is expected to increase at an average rate of about 7 percent from 2016 through 2026, adding about 3,000 new jobs in this field. The pay for these positions depends on the employer and industry, but the median annual salary for a food scientist is $62,910. Pay for these can range depending on whether a scientist works for a food manufacturing or processing company, a college or university, or a government agency. Public concern about food safety and quality is increasing, which is good news for food scientists.