Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.
Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.
Below is a sample version of this entry to help you see how an occupation can reveal your character’s beliefs, history, goals, and more.
To view the full entry, visit One Stop for Writers where it resides within the largest fiction-based descriptive database ever created. (Free Trial available.)
Overview: A recruiter is a human resource specialist who seeks out, vets, and interviews potential job candidates for the management to consider for a specific position before referring them onward. They may be a recruiter within their own company (an internal recruiter) who looks to fill positions that come up, or they may be hired as a third party…
People might recruit for a business, a big project (like a new condo or office building high rise build), do executive searches for a CEO, CIO or another high-level executive position, recruit athletes for a sports agency…
Necessary Training: To become a recruiter most require a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration. There may be certification programs that one must finish prior to being hired as a recruiter.
Recruiters must be extremely detail-oriented, observant, and learn the art of influence…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, a knack for making money, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, ESP (clairvoyance)…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, ambitious, analytical, charming, confident, cooperative, courteous, diplomatic, discreet, easygoing, efficient…
NEGATIVE: obsessive, perfectionist, workaholic
Sources of Friction: a prospective job candidate that lies about their qualifications (and only discovering this after they have been placed with a company), a job candidate who has an impressive resume but does sub par work (or is lazy, entitled, or is high maintenance in some way, etc.), being asked to loosen one’s standards or fast track sourcing in order to gain the fee (perhaps because the recruitment firm is struggling financially)…
People They Might Interact With: CEOs, CIOs, COOs and other executives at different companies, prospective candidates being interviewed…
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Esteem and Recognition: constantly placing others in industries that constitute one’s “dream job” might cause a recruiter character to question their own path and make them feel like they settled…
- Safety and Security: If a character becomes embroiled in an ethics review due to poor hiring practices in their recruitment firm, this could cause them to lose their job or struggle to move to another firm…
Common Work-Related Settings: boardroom
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: Recruiters in fiction can be portrayed as not being ethical or being willing to do anything to secure a commission, but in an industry where reputation is everything, mistreating clients or letting them down by providing candidates who look good on paper but who are not great fits for the job will only hurt the recruiter’s practice. A recruiter who is good at what they do will take the time to really get to know a clients needs and strive to bring them exactly what they need, time after time.
Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.
How will your character’s occupation help reveal their innermost layers?
Much of your character’s life will revolve around their work, and whether they love it or hate it, their job is a great way to show, not tell, their personality traits, skills, work ethic, worldview and beliefs, and more, so we should choose it with care.
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Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.