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Change your career from: Fashion or Art


Your new gig: Art therapist

WHY: Since the health-care industry is one of the few that’s expanding, you may be able to land a gig in a hospital, private counseling center or school.

1 Before you begin, you’ll have to get some schooling (a master’s or Ph.D.) and a license, says Career Counselors Consortium president Judith Gerberg, who specializes in arts jobs. The New York Art Therapy Association ( has plenty of info. There are at least six nearby programs, including those at NYU, Hofstra and the College of New Rochelle.
2 Join the American Art Therapy Association ( and other professional organizations to meet colleagues and future employers.
3 Look for part-time work to get started and try presenting research papers at art-therapy conferences to gain recognition.

Your new gig: Carpenter

WHY: You’re good with your hands, not just a computer.

1 You may as well post on Craigslist or Brownstoner’s forum, where folks often search for laborers. Keep pictures of your work, and do not underestimate the power of a good website. The best way to get jobs is through referrals, so ask satisfied customers to write you a review.
2 Apprentice with an experienced carpenter. Find nonunion mentors the same way you’d advertise yourself—online or through networking or cold calls. For union apprenticeships, contact the New York City District Council of Carpenters ( to find out when it will be accepting its next round of applications. If accepted, you’ll earn $16.49 an hour.
3 Find a workshop. A collective spot like 3rd Ward ( offers classes and lets members use shared machinery.

Your new gig: Corporate presentation specialist

WHY: Was the best part of your job creating presentations? Then try making it your entire job—as a presentation designer for a corporate communications department. It’s 80 percent PowerPoint and 20 percent Adobe Creative Suite applications like Photoshop and Illustrator. “They’re looking for someone who’s cross-platform—Mac or PC—and can work with programs like PowerPoint and InDesign,” says Kirk Myers, a design recruiter for the staffing firm Aquent, and a former corporate communications specialist himself.

1 Focus on an industry or firm that’s expanding, Gerberg suggests, like green power, health care or the banks that announced enormous profits a couple of weeks ago. In the career section of JPMorgan’s website, for instance, you can select “marketing/communications” and scour positions in New York and beyond.
2 Make sure your software skills are up to par, but Myers also suggests having a good-looking physical portfolio to tote to interviews, as well as a PDF version and a website.
3 Contact staffing firms like Aquent, or hit online design resources:, or

Your new gig: Art teacher

WHY: “Our graduates want benefits and security,” says Rod Berg, associate director for Parsons’ career services. “They can find it in academia.”

1 Go back to school for degrees and certification, or teach in private high schools or charter schools that don’t require the same credentials (and have more openings than the public school system right now); look for job postings at “Try it part-time first,” suggests Berg, “to make sure it’s for you.”
2 If you already have an M.F.A. or advanced degree, check out Studio in a School (, a partnership with the NYC Department of Education and Pratt.

Your new gig: Real-estate stager

WHY: Says Nairn Friemann, a stager and staging trainer in Manhattan: “There’s a lot of compatibility [with design] because of intuition but also understanding of color and texture—which is difficult to teach.”

1 You need access to some nice-looking props, either from rental houses or your own stash. And you need photos of your work—even if it’s your own apartment.
2 For an edge, Friemann suggests classes. Try Certified Staging Professionals ( or online at Home Staging Resource ( 3 Join real-estate social-networking groups like UpWorld (, and, says Friemann, even contact PR firms with real-estate clients. Another option: Work for an existing stager until you’re ready to go out on your own.

Your new gig: Trend tracker

WHY: Also known as a “market researcher,” a trend tracker figures out what’s going to be hot this season—and you know hot.

1 Study up. “You don’t just look at data and statistics, you have to look at social change” says Gerald Celente (founder of the Trends Research Institute). Read, he suggests, and be obsessed with all things Internet. You have to show that you’re on top of all current trends, and able to spot new ones.
2 This can be an entry-level staff job—some fashion houses have “trend assistants,” for instance—or, once you establish yourself, a freelance service. Start at sites like or Trend Hunter, where you can post write-ups on crazes you’ve noticed—the more Google directs folks to your contribution, the more money you make.


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Jobs 2009: Change your career
Your industry isn't working for you anymore? Here's how to move on.

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