Career Development

How to Make Sure That College Degree Gets You a Job

Two of the most “up and coming careers” in today’s market are information technology and finance—two fields that are more closely related than you think, which is why you need to keep paying attention as you work your way through your business degree programs.

The truth is that, outside of some highly specific career fields (like engineering and health related fields), the general majors like business and communications are what the vast majority of employers want to see. This is because the general majors tend to produce better rounded graduates than a highly specific major will.  A highly specific major is only going to train you to do or truly understand one thing well. The more general and varied majors teach you a variety of skills. More importantly they teach you better critical thinking skills and, typically, train you better to fit into a variable workplace.

If you’ve already completed one major and are looking to go back to school for some post-grad education, think about this: the skill that an employer values more than any other is a potential employee’s ability to communicate. This applies to both verbal and written communication. If you can’t articulate your ideas and points of view well, you can hold up projects—sometimes for weeks or even months. No employer wants to chase down an employee for clarification. They are looking for people who can say what they actually mean on the first try.

So, if you are interested in pursuing those “up and coming careers” we mentioned at the start of this article, resist the urge to major specifically in information technology and finance. Or, if you are convinced that you need these majors on your resume, minor in fields that are broader, like communications, marketing or general business. This way you can be sure that you will be able to meet at least the basic employment requirements for most companies within these fields while simultaneously proving that you had a diverse education and that you can think about more than one thing at a time.

This “well rounded” philosophy is not so directly applied when it comes to gaining experience—especially since the most desirable careers are most likely to have the highest levels of competition. If you are serious about entering the fields of finance or information technology, for example, you should make sure that your work study jobs are with your school’s business office and IT department, respectively.

Yes, most recently graduated college students have resumes that include time done behind retail counters and as food servers. Don’t worry so much about that. Just make sure that there are also career specific entries on your resume as well. If you haven’t been able to find employment (or even internships) in these areas, do some volunteering. Volunteering for non-profits—particularly those in your field of interest is a great way to learn about your chosen career, gain some practical experience within it and give back to your community at the same time (which also looks good on a resume).

Pro Tip: make sure that the people you volunteer with know you’re looking for full time employment. The majority of jobs these days are gained through personal connections.

Whatever else you do, make sure you finish school. Even if you end up working behind the counter at Starbucks for a while before finding employment within your field, you’ll be glad that you have that piece of paper…and so will your future employer!

 This is a guest post from Becky W.

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