Should I frame my diploma? When did the whole cap and gown tradition start? Is this graduation speaker going to wrap it up already?
A lot of things go through your mind as you wait to cross the stage at college graduation. One that can stir up fear, however, is “Am I going to get a job with this major?”
In an article published by HerCampus.com last Saturday, the 10 Most Employable Majors are outlined. Taking the cake (and jobs, presumably) at #1 is Computer Engineering. Others that made the list include Pharmacology, Economics, Mathematics, and Political Science.
Did your major make the cut? If not, don’t fret. Plenty of happily employed people in today’s workforce majored in something almost completely unrelated to what they do for work now. The key to success in this scenario seems to be the ability to adapt and apply the concepts you did learn in your major to the tasks you do daily in your profession.
In today’s post, CourseSmart interviews 3 people who meet the following criteria:
• Currently employed
• Love their job
• Majored in something with little or no relation to what they do for work now
1) Dylan Macnamara – Deputy NFL Editor, BleacherReport.com
“My job is to make sure our NFL writer base of 120 or so columnists are writing about things that fans find topical/enjoyable/interesting. So, I watch a lot of football and read even more about it. I would do that in my free-time. I’m paid to do what I’d do in my free-time.
I had just returned from a year spent abroad, with little sense of what I wanted to do. I scoured job sites and found something from BleacherReport, a 3-month internship with promise of nothing else beyond that. I secured an interview, which was mostly questions about the 49ers, and was offered the job a week later.
Anthro, at its core, is all about researching and contextualizing the unfamiliar. And writing long research papers. So, directly, I probably use my Anthro knowledge very little. But the ability to research, and structure written work, and use reason, would help in nearly any line of work I was in.
From everything I’ve read and experienced, your undergraduate major holds almost no bearing on what field you’ll get into. One of my best friends from college was a history major and is now an investment banker in New York. Companies just want to know that you can think. And, hopefully, read and write. But I truly believe that coming from a liberal arts background is becoming more and more appealing for companies hiring in every discipline, because they want to find young people who can understand concepts and problem-solve. If you can do those two things, the rest will work itself out.”
2) Marcie Banks – Jewelry Designer, Owner of jewelry company Beau and Stella
“I love that I get to be creative every day and I love being my own boss. Setting my own work schedule leaves more time for me to stop and enjoy the little things in life. I worked in architecture for a few years after college and missed making things with my hands. I started making jewelry on nights and weekends and selling online. After about 6 months, it was profitable enough that I was able to go part-time in architecture (and eventually quit altogether).
I like to think of my architecture degree as a ‘design degree’. I learned a lot about design and - most importantly for what I do - how to edit an idea down to a concise, clear concept. In this economy, take the job that you can live with that pays the bills, and then use as much of your free time as possible (nights, weekends, mornings, lunch hours) to learn skills that will help you get into the career you want. Take classes, intern, volunteer or just network with people who do what you want to be doing. I started my business by giving up my free time and refusing to accept defeat. People rarely start out at their dream job; It’s up to you to take initiative and go after what you want.”
3) Aaron Lapierre – Project Manager, DoubleDutch
College: McGill University
Major: Anatomy & Cell Biology
“I work in a small start-up running project management and client services. I love being on a small team with extremely talented people, and also being able to work with large enterprises in defining how they use mobile and social technologies in the workplace. I found an ad on Craigslist and within a week I had interviewed twice and accepted. I landed the job by being extremely process oriented and able to break down complex systems into smaller steps. Life Sciences are all about protocols - 4 years later I could still talk you through isolating cancer cells from blood samples. This type of thinking is not something they can teach you in the workplace.
During interviews I’ve always been asked, ‘You have a strong Life Sciences background, why go into tech?’ Being able to justify that I moved to San Francisco to pursue pharma, but discovered and fell in love with technology has been more than enough to quell any concerns.”
So get out there and go after the job you want, no matter what your major is! Take the concepts you learn each day and determine how to apply them to your desired profession. Dylan, Marcie and Aaron did it, and so can you. Happy hunting!