You can find high-paying jobs in nearly any location or industry, but most don’t pay more than half a million dollars in salary. There are no get-rich-quick jobs, but successful people in these lucrative positions have the potential to earn more than $500,000 with bonuses, commission, stock options and other non-salary rewards.
In this article, we explore some jobs that can help you make more than $500,000 a year and suggestions for maximizing your earnings.
13 jobs that can pay over $500k a year
Here are 13 jobs with the potential for lucrative earnings, which can help you earn over $500,000 a year when you plan and are successful in your career.
National average salary: $24,126 per year
Primary duties: An actor portrays a character in a movie or TV series using their voice or physical presence. They research every aspect of the character, memorize dialogue the screenwriter has written and develop ways to help the character appear authentic. Many actors do media tours and promotional events and constantly audition for their next job.
While the national average salary for all actors is lower, top film actors can make millions per movie. Actors can earn substantially more by deferring part or all of their salary against a portion of the movie’s gross, known within the film industry as a “profit participation” deal.
National average salary: $49,616 per year
Primary duties: An author writes plays, articles, books or any written content. They think about the best way to tell a story or convey their thoughts and use specific language to entertain their audience.
A book author usually writes a book and sends it to publishers, who then provide a contract and prepare the book for publishing. Other authors prefer to self-publish their books, which involves writing a piece and completing the publishing process on their own.
While writing a book and getting it published can be challenging, there’s a huge earning potential when authors get a book deal. Self-published authors can earn more without editors or publishers taking a cut of the proceeds.
Traditionally, published authors make fewer royalties on single book sales, but the marketing and distribution power of a publishing house may help authors sell more books than if they self-published. In either case, if a book is popular and sells well, authors can earn more than $500,000 in sales and rights to movies and other related works.
National average salary: $62,394 per year
Primary duties: An accountant ensures organizations and companies operate efficiently and responsibly by reviewing financial records, tax returns, budgets and financial reports.
Specific duties of accountants vary depending on the company and the industry, but they usually include overseeing taxes, improving systems and procedures and performing periodic accounting activities, including reconciliations of credit card and bank accounts and completion and coordination of annual audits.
Salaries for accountants vary depending on the company. Some large companies may pay more than $500,000 a year, and independent accountants with an expansive client list can also earn more.
4. Insurance agent
National average salary: $64,020 per year
Primary duties: An insurance agent sells insurance policies. They’re responsible for creating strategies to promote different types of insurance, assessing an individual’s or company’s needs, recommending insurance plans that meet their needs and developing relationships to grow their client base.
Agents typically specialize in a particular type of insurance, such as long-term care, casualty care, disability, property or health. Other duties that an insurance agent performs include helping policyholders settle claims, handling all policy renewals, reviewing customer policies and proposing additions or changes to their policies.
Insurance agents usually earn a commission in addition to their salaries. This means that the more sales they make, the more they can earn. They also make significant money on large clients and businesses with big policies. Selling life insurance policies is also particularly lucrative for insurance agents.
5. Investment banker
National average salary: $83,391 per year
Primary duties: An investment banker helps facilitate capital funding by investing in either corporations or government organizations. They provide these organizations with financial consultation and advice on what kinds of securities, such as bonds and stocks, to issue, how and when to issue them and what price to set for each security. They often work on privately and publicly traded companies and usually provide underwriting services to municipal bonds.
Investment bankers have a compensation model that includes a base salary and all or some additional forms of compensation, including bonuses, commissions and profit-sharing. It’s common for an investment banker’s bonus to surpass their base pay, and in profitable times, they may earn over half a million dollars a year.
6. Professional athlete
National average salary: $84,908 per year
Primary duties: A professional athlete competes individually or as part of a team in organized sports such as baseball, figure skating, gymnastics, rugby, hockey, skiing, running, golf, tennis, soccer and basketball. They practice and train regularly to improve their performance and skills.
Top-ranking athletes can make much more than the national average salary and earn even more from championship prize money and endorsement deals.
National average salary: $90,323 per year
Primary duties: An entrepreneur develops, designs, produces, markets and sells products or services. They operate and own everything from small clothing stores to tech startups. Sometimes, they sell their businesses for a big payday.
They may also develop their own innovative products and services. Entrepreneurs often create a business plan, acquire financing and resources, hire labor and provide management and leadership for the business.
Working as an entrepreneur is one of the best careers that can help people earn more than $500,000 a year because a lucrative business established in the right market at the right time can turn into a multi-million-dollar success.
8. Hedge fund manager
National average salary: $90,620 per year
Primary duties: A hedge fund manager, or portfolio manager, oversees their client’s investment and financial strategies. They’re in charge of making investment decisions for a pool of capital typically provided by investors that meet designated requirements for investment sophistication or net worth. They use advanced financial knowledge and analytical skills to develop fund goals and implement a strategy to achieve them. A hedge fund manager’s duties include keeping up to date on government rules and regulations, updating hedge fund members on progress, monitoring investment performance and offering investment recommendations to clients.
Hedge fund managers charge their investors or clients a management fee and a performance fee, making them some of the highest-paid people in finance.
9. Real estate developer
National average salary: $92,408 per year
Primary duties: A real estate developer develops and sells real estate to clients. They may purchase land, assist with financing real estate transactions, work with builders to construct or design a building on a property and market the land or structure to clients. Real estate developers usually work with various counterparts in the development process, including lawyers, surveyors, leasing agents, inspectors, city planners, contractors, architects and engineers.
Most real estate developers work on commission and are compensated based on the deals they close. This means that if they sell a property for $6 million with a 9% commission rate, for example, they would receive more than $500,000.
National average salary: $96,907 per year
Primary duties: A lawyer helps companies and individuals navigate the legal process. They often specialize in particular areas, such as tax, family or criminal law. Their duties vary depending on their specialty but often include interpreting regulations and laws for clients, preparing legal documents, and attending trials and other legal meetings. Lawyers work with investigators, paralegals, police and clients to gather evidence and witness statements, prepare legal arguments, and, if necessary, represent their clients in court.
When it comes to earning more than $500,000 a year as a lawyer, a list of big clients and a steady success rate in courts are two of the most important factors.
National average salary: $100,142 per year
Primary duties: An engineer uses their knowledge of mathematical and scientific principles to design products or solve technical problems for a range of industries. They focus on identifying problems, designing solutions and developing and testing processes and products. They can specialize and work in fields such as aerospace, biomedical, nuclear, electrical, chemical and petroleum, all of which can pay well over half a million dollars per year.
Engineers who think of and develop new technologies or products can profit significantly from those ideas and patents. Engineers with advanced degrees may have higher salaries and more advancement opportunities.
12. Chief executive officer
National average salary: $139,797 per year
Primary duties: A chief executive officer (CEO) usually heads a company or organization and reports to the board of directors. The chief executive is responsible for developing and implementing business strategies, making high-level decisions and ensuring the company reaches its goals.
Other duties that a CEO may perform include managing the company’s operations, overseeing the organization’s budget, working with department managers and other executives, approving contracts, staying knowledgeable about industry developments and determining how to help the business and make a profit.
Because of their responsibility for a company’s success, CEOs often earn very high salaries. Those working for big companies might earn more. CEOs also frequently receive bonuses and stock options that can contribute to their wealth.
National average salary: $367,393 per year
Primary duties: An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who sedates patients or numbs parts of the body to eliminate or reduce pain sensations during surgery or another medical procedure. An anesthesiologist works with surgeons or doctors and determines the right dosage of anesthesia according to a patient’s medical history.
An anesthesiologist’s other duties include monitoring patients before, during and after they administer anesthesia, detecting adverse reactions, addressing complications and complying with hospital and medical procedure policy. As a vital member of a surgical or medical team, this high-paying professional begins with a six-figure salary and, with experience and specialization, can earn over $500,000 per year.
50 Ways You Can Encourage Someone Struggling To Find a Job
When someone you know is struggling to find a job, you can help them by offering support in different ways. Some people just need someone to listen as they go through the process of finding a new position. Others appreciate those who actively help them search.
In this article, we offer 50 different methods of how to help someone get a job in various stages of their job search.
You can help someone during the job search process by researching relevant roles, optimizing their online presence and recommending professional development opportunities.
Someone searching for a job might appreciate you reviewing their resume, helping them prepare for interviews and assisting them with their networking efforts.
If you want to offer emotional support to a job searcher, consider celebrating small victories and writing positive notes for them to help them stay positive and motivated.
How to support someone looking for a job
There are a lot of ways you can help someone who is searching for work. Whether you’re encouraging a friend, family member or professional contact, offering help when needed can motivate someone struggling to find a job. Start by communicating with them and listening to their needs to offer support as they look for employment.
Here are some ideas to support someone looking for a job broken down into categories:
Job search support
Here are some ways you can offer support to someone in the process of searching for a job:
1. Help suggest jobs if you’re asked
If someone you know who is searching for a job asks for help, send them links to great jobs posted online or share any places you know that are hiring in their field. It’s better to only send help when it’s solicited by the job seeker.
2. Help them create a professional profile online
Professional networking and job search websites are a good way to find opportunities. If a friend or colleague who is searching for work doesn’t already have a profile set up, offer to help them get started.
3. Seek out career coaches
Using a career coach can be a great way to find a new job. Help someone searching for work by researching career advocates and mentors in your community or through online services.
4. Research online job boards
Offer to help a friend or family member job hunt by searching online job listings yourself. You can even set up alerts that you can send to them when a new position is available in their field.
5. Ask them to list ideal jobs
Before you can help a colleague or loved one search for a job, have them brainstorm some jobs they’d like to perform, even if they aren’t in the same field as their previous employment.
6. Help them decide if they want to go back to school
This may be the time for someone struggling to find a job to pursue another career path. Offer to help them research degree programs in a new industry.
7. Help them determine if a job is a good fit
Ask them what positions they are applying for and look at the job description together. Discuss the pros and cons of each job and what skills they have to match the position.
8. Offer advice about job trends
Pay attention to the kinds of jobs that are in demand and help your friend translate their skills to an emerging field.
9. Offer to research companies
Help someone seeking a job by finding businesses that are hiring within their industry.
10. Help them find temp work
Working as a temporary employee may lead to permanent employment. Offer to help the job seeker you know get connected to an agency that hires for their skills.
11. Go with them to a hiring event
Offer to attend a job fair with someone struggling to find work. Companionship at events like these can be motivating to a job seeker.
12. Listen to job search podcasts together
Find engaging podcasts on topics related to job searching and play them to encourage a friend or loved one as they seek out a new position.
The following ideas can help you support someone looking for a job by strengthening their resume:
13. Offer to review their resume
You can support someone looking for a job by checking their resume for content, style and grammar. Help them focus on readability and key skills that match their industry and prospective job.
14. Help with word choice
Employers look for resumes that show strong phrasing and detailed descriptions in each section.
15. Brainstorm a skills list
Help by listing the key skills that you observe in your friend or colleague. Suggest the top skills that match their potential jobs.
16. Offer to review a cover letter
Review their cover letter to make sure it uses more detailed phrasing to explain work experience and abilities along with a summary of why their expertise fits the job.
17. Write a recommendation letter
Offer your help writing a letter of recommendation as a trusted connection.
18. Help summarize their accomplishments
Sit down with a friend or family member searching for a job and talk about their greatest successes. Make a list of these accomplishments including both work and personal matters.
19. Film a video resume
Get creative and use this new technique to gain the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. A video resume gives prospective employers a personal introduction to a job seeker’s skills and professional history.
20. Offer graphic design help
If you’re skilled in creating graphics, you can help someone struggling to find a job by adding graphic interest to their resume. Use subtle, professional fonts, colors and layouts as you help redesign their document.
21. Snap a headshot
Some professionals insert a photo of themselves into a resume or cover letter to make it more personal. Use a high-quality camera and neutral background to capture the best picture from the shoulders up.
22. Help craft their personal statement
You can help someone looking for a job by working on their summary statement. This section should be placed at the top of a resume as an introduction to potential employers. Include an objective and quick overview of their skills.
Follow these suggestions to support a job seeker as they go through the interview process:
23. Help them prepare for an interview
Offer to role-play as an interviewer to help them prepare to answer questions and greet a prospective employer.
24. Practice video conferencing
Prepare them for a virtual interview by practicing over the computer. Offer praise and tips for improvement once you finish.
25. Shop for professional attire
Ask your friend or colleague if they have a professional outfit to wear to interviews. If not, offer to take them out to shop for something new.
26. Let them do an interview outfit fashion show
It may be fun to let them try on potential interview outfits so you can help choose the best ones.
27. Brainstorm interview questions
Help a friend or family member come up with a list of questions they might be asked during an upcoming interview so they can practice answering.
28. Help them craft a thank you follow-up email
Help them include ideas like what excites them about the company and how they think their skills are a good fit for the position.
29. Observe nonverbal behavior
We say a lot with our hand gestures, posture and facial expressions. Help someone you know who is seeking a job by giving them feedback on their nonverbal cues.
30. Practice handshakes
It may seem strange, but offering a firm and confident handshake to a prospective employer can make a good impression as you begin an interview.
Here are some ideas to offer support through networking:
31. Network with your own contacts
Asking your own contacts if they know of any open positions may provide opportunities for a friend or family member searching for a job.
32. Invite them to a networking event
Even if you’re not working in the same field, many networking socials or seminars accept professionals from across multiple industries. Take your friend or colleague to a networking event and introduce them to your contact. Also allow time for them to network and have conversations on their own.
33. Set up a network meeting
Many people have a friend or coworker who’s connected to lots of other professionals. Ask that person if they’re willing to sit down with your friend or family member to discuss job search tips and help make professional connections to better their chances of finding a position.
34. Share their resume on your social networks
You can always help someone out by bringing their skills to the attention of your social media connections. Make sure you ask permission before sharing any personal or professional details with your online network.
35. Help set up social networks
If your friend or colleague doesn’t have a social network of their own, offer advice to help them get started.
36. Help find professional networking groups in their field
You may be able to help someone get a job by encouraging them to join a local networking organization. Connecting to other business professionals can improve their chances of finding a position with a nearby company.
These are some ways to offer emotional support to someone seeking a job:
37. Let them know you’re there for support
One of the first and best things you can do for someone struggling to find a job is to communicate that you are ready to offer emotional support to someone searching for jobs. You don’t necessarily need to give advice or find the perfect job for a friend, colleague or family member. Just being available to listen is an important way to offer support.
38. Write a note
A handwritten note shows support and friendship. Even a quick text or email proves you are thinking about someone. Briefly mention their job search and focus on encouraging statements.
39. Ask them to share stories
When you give someone you care about a chance to talk about their history, you allow them to recall past successes. Storytelling can also be an effective way to share about previous job experience in an interview.
40. Ask about their interests
Instead of focusing solely on a job search, ask about their personal interests. Giving someone a chance to talk about their passions can be motivating and uplifting.
41. Give them space
Instead of asking constantly about their job search, give a loved one or friend a chance to bring it up in conversation. Sometimes they just need a chance to process on their own, especially if their search is lasting a long time.
42. Celebrate small wins
Even if they don’t get the job, show your support by celebrating the fact that an employer picked them as a top candidate. Find more moments like this to applaud.
43. Offer to take them out for a meal
Talking over a meal can be encouraging for someone in the midst of a job search because it gives them the chance to be open about their challenges and successes.
44. Suggest a personality test
It might be beneficial for someone struggling to find a job to find out how their personality impacts their job interests. A Myers-Briggs personality test matches certain jobs to personality types. Maybe it’s time for the job seeker to consider a new career.
45. Let them share frustrations
Sometimes it’s helpful just to talk about any disappointments and challenges with someone who’s willing to listen. You don’t need to give them a solution, just a safe place to share.
46. Share your own job search stories
When you are open about your own job search highlights and problems, you show empathy to a friend, loved one or colleague.
47. Offer accountability
Offer to let someone on the job hunt check in weekly to talk about their search. If you do this consistently, you may help motivate them to keep looking.
48. Give them a ride
Even if they have a means of transportation, you can encourage someone looking for a job by driving them to interviews and career events. An encouraging word from a friend before the pivotal moment of an interview may be the positive motivation they need to do their best and earn a new position.
49. Volunteer together
If someone you know has been looking for a job for a long time, suggest a volunteer activity in your community. Helping someone else gives you a new perspective and can also help them meet people throughout the community, broadening their networking connections.
50. Join a public speaking organization
Public speaking groups like Toastmasters International provide a positive and supportive environment for professionals to boost their confidence and make new connections.