Are you the kid who loves trivia and can rattle off random facts like nobody's business? Can you recite movie lines? Listing all 206 bones correctly in the human body during biology wasn't a big deal to you?
Sounds like you’re a little superhuman in the memory department!
If you’ve got an exceptional memory, there are plenty of careers that count on your kind of talent for information recall. This doesn’t mean you’ll be a good fit for every job. Learning anything involves memory and comprehension, which means you need to understand what you’re processing on the job to do it well. But being able to recall information easily and relatively quickly is a valuable skill you can put to use in lots of cool careers.
Let’s take a look at a few:
My sister Angi is like a walking information booth—she has an incredible memory! And her ability to remember things so easily makes her an exceptional nurse. As a nurse, Angi is required to retain an enormous amount of knowledge that she must promptly access and accurately convey daily. Nurses work under a great deal of pressure, sometimes even in life-and-death situations, and must be able to recall which treatment protocols to follow for whatever medical challenge they’re facing. If you have a powerful memory, an aptitude for science and math, and love helping people, you could be well suited for a career in nursing or medicine.
Teachers need to tap into their strong memory banks to establish credibility with their students—pretty much right off the bat! Within the first few days of school, they need to remember their students’ names, faces, and personality traits, which can add up to 150 kids for some higher-grade level teachers. Then, they need to draw upon their knowledge and memory of an extensive amount of subject-matter material and convey that to their students. Doing this confidently and with authority, but also in a natural, engaging way, is MUCH easier when you come to the classroom with a sharp memory!
Ever glimpse Law & Order and feel a little “wowed” by how those trial attorneys can cite so many facts, details, and laws to argue their cases effectively? Lawyers and judges need to have an impressive memory—first, to get through the required three years of law school, and then, in their work presiding over trials, hearings, civil disputes, and criminal cases. Lawyers must be able to retain very specific details of their clients’ cases, and then must call upon their memory to connect which laws best support their arguments. Of course, Google is a no-no in the courtroom, so lawyers and judges must bring A-game memories to the job.
Selling a product or service to a business requires persistence, great people skills, and an in-depth knowledge of whatever you’re trying to sell. For example, if you’re a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, and you’re aiming to get doctors to buy your company’s new blood pressure medication, you’ll need to know what the medication is used for, its benefits, how it works in the body, any side effects, why it’s better than competing brands, and more. You’ll also need to remember key details about your customers’ company and about individual employees to help build the strong relationships needed to close sales deals.
Speak, listen, translate, repeat. If you’ve ever watched a foreign language interpreter work their magic, it’s pretty amazing. Interpreters use their strong working memory to interpret speech, so they are listening to what’s being said, storing that information, and almost instantaneously converting that message into another language. AND they’re doing all of this while keeping up with what’s currently being said. Memory plays a constant role, as the interpreter often must wait several minutes until the speaker is finished—and then deliver the message accurately and in the right language. WOW!
If you love working with furry or feathered types and have a sharp memory, you might consider work as a veterinarian. Vets need to know about the complex physiology of a vast array of animals and how to treat their different issues. Recalling complex details about illnesses, surgical procedures, medications, and more are all part of their day’s work.
Acting looks pretty easy, but when you consider the sheer number of lines a performer has to memorize and deliver in front of an audience—it’s easy to see why the good ones get paid the big bucks. Most actors working on television or film sets at least have to get breaks between “takes” to memorize and rehearse new lines. But stage actors must memorize hundreds of lines of dialogue and deliver them perfectly, night after night. Dancers, musicians, and other types of live performers also must have top-notch memories to nail their acts each time.
We’ve provided a few examples of careers in which having an exceptional memory can be a major asset—but there are MANY more! Architects can call on their photographic memory to visit a building site and quickly assess whether their designs plans are being carried out correctly. EMTs and paramedics work in emergency situations, so their ability to recall exactly what to do for an injured or ill patient is key. Politicians and their staff must have sharp memories to remember key statistics, laws, community information, campaign pledges, and more. Athletic coaches need a vast memory bank to store rules of the sports, the plays they need on game day, and details about players and the opposing team.
Bottom line: sometimes it’s hard for teens to imagine careers outside of what may pay you the most, what other people think you should do, or what’s the “safest” option. But if you look a little deeper at yourself, including at some of your more innate skills and talents, you could land in a job that’s really a great fit for YOU.
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