by Janet Fowler
If you've got outstanding relationship-building skills, or if you've mastered the art of networking, there are some careers that you might be particularly suited to. Careers that are built upon relationships require that employees are able to build and maintain a client base. Being personable, able to remember the fine details, and having the confidence to market yourself are all important aspects of these careers. If you're considering a career move that makes use of your keen interpersonal skills, be sure to consider the following jobs. (To help you with networking, read 4 Career Networking Tips That Work.)
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1. Real Estate Agent
A good real estate agent must build rapport with their clients and be sensitive to the needs of the buyers and sellers they represent. Buying or selling a home is a major financial decision, and no one wants to trust this kind of transaction to someone they don't feel secure with. Since real estate agents rely largely upon word of mouth in growing their business, having satisfied clients who will provide referrals is key. The education required to become a real estate agent can vary, though many may have an associate's degree along with a certification that permits them to work in the industry. According to the online salary database, PayScale.com, real estate agents can expect to earn an annual income in the range of $36,100 to $70,900.
2. Mortgage Broker
A mortgage broker assists clients with locating a mortgage that's right for them. Having the financial know-how to provide advice is a major part of this position, though communication skills are also crucial. Like real estate agents, mortgage brokers assist clients with significant transactions, so their clients must be able to trust them. Mortgage brokers must also develop good relationships with banks and other lenders, as well as real estate agents who can provide referrals. The education required to become a mortgage broker can vary from no formal education to a bachelor's degree in a finance-related field. A mortgage broker can expect to earn between $31,000 and $42,400 per year. (To help you identify which career is a better fit, check out Career Comparison: Real Estate Agent Or Mortgage Broker.)
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Although the level of skill and education required to become a medical doctor may be the most important aspect of practicing this profession, family doctors should also have strong communication skills that put patients at ease. Family doctors must discuss private medical concerns with their patients, and perhaps give potentially upsetting news. Bedside manner is a big part of what makes patients feel comfortable discussing these sensitive issues with their doctors. Family doctors must invest in a lengthy amount of time in schooling to get their MD, though doctors can expect to earn a hefty income once they have a few years' experience. The median income for a family doctor is $148,700 per year.
4. Financial Planner
Obtaining a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or economics is generally the first requirement in becoming a financial planner. Courses related to investments, taxes and other financial concerns are also helpful. Financial planners assist clients with retirement planning, insurance, investments and other financial considerations, so developing trusting relationships is of the utmost importance. Financial planners must build their own client base. New clients can come from referrals from satisfied customers, conducting seminars or courses, or even cold calling. The estimated median income for a financial planner is $62,100 annually. (To learn more about financial planning, read Financial Planning: It's About More Than Money.)
5. Commission Salesperson
There are many forms of commission sales, but one thing they all have in common is a need for strong networking skills. Relationship building can lead to repeat business and referred customers. A wide range of educational backgrounds can lead to a position in commission sales, from completion of high school to bachelor's degrees. An account manager (sales) can expect to earn an average of $59,000 per year, with an estimated $18,300 of this income coming from commissions. Keep in mind that pay structures can vary depending upon the organization; some salespeople's earnings are based entirely upon commission.
Though estheticians may get some walk-in customers, having a loyal client base is important for success in this career. One must be skillful in the esthetic services provided, but estheticians should also have a personality that puts clients at ease. The ability to make conversation with clients is important, as is the ability to remember clients' wants and needs between appointments. If an esthetician can develop a relationship with a client, it's likely that they'll return, and provide referrals. Estheticians must complete a certificate program, though this can vary depending upon the type of services an esthetician provides. Estheticians can expect to earn in the range of $20,500 to $36,700 per year. (For more information on sales, read Sales Director Career Provides Daily Challenge.)
7. Public Relations
Public relations careers require individuals to represent either a firm or a client in their public affairs. Many large organizations hire employees to fill this need, but smaller organizations and individuals may use independent public relations firms. Public relations specialists require outstanding communication skills and must be good at networking. Being well-connected and having a broad range of contacts certainly helps, as does the ability to be sensitive to clients' business needs and objectives. Individuals working in this field generally require a bachelor's degree, and the median annual income is $65,400.
8. Business Development Manager
Business development managers are primarily concerned with growing or expanding the companies they work for. This can be done through locating new business opportunities, or finding new clients. Business development managers must be confident and comfortable with making cold calls since creating new business contacts is a key aspect of this position. Some individuals working in this field may hold a bachelor's degree, though most business development managers require a Master of Business Administration degree. Wages are often tied commission, though most individuals in this career earn between $54,600 and $89,700 per year.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that any wage estimates given are just that estimates; workers that are particularly successful may earn a lot more than the amounts given. As in any industry, having the ability to market your skills is important, though when it comes to major financial decisions like purchasing a home or financial investments, dealing with the confidential health concerns that a family doctor faces or representing an organization through sensitive issues, having the ability to foster existing relationships and to forge new ones is of the utmost importance. (To help you land a job, check out Surviving A Bad Job Market.)
Source: All salary data is provided by online salary database PayScale.com. Annual salaries listed are for full-time employees with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.