Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Ask the Experts: I can’t find a job related to my college major. What should I do?

Posted March 17, 2020 by

First Answer:

In the old days, circa 15 years ago, most employers understood that a liberal arts education meant a broad-based curriculum that did not prepare students for any one particular career.

Liberal arts instructions are not trade schools. A liberal arts education teaches students how to think critically, solve problems, and come up with compelling arguments. A liberal arts school teaches students how to be curious and also how to be lifelong learners.

If you can’t find a job related to your major, don’t panic. You may want to re-tool your resume and your online profile to reflect the skills you have learned in college. When you approach your job search in a skills-based way, you’ll find more pathways are open to you.

Be sure to also discuss your career aspirations with your college career services office. Always run your resume by as many people as you possibly can, and don’t be afraid to fine-tune it for a particular position.

Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Power Sales Words (How to Write It, Say It, and Sell It with Sizzle) (Sourcebooks, 2006). 

Second Answer:

Perhaps you’ve already considered this, but do you even want a job related to your college major? Many and perhaps most young adults enter a college or university, are pressured into selecting a major, and pick something that their friends and family will approve of or which aligns well with the student’s skills but do not align well with their interests or values.

College Recruiter recommends that candidates first complete a CIV analysis: what are your competencies, interests, and values? What are you good at, what do you like to do, and what is important to you? Grab a legal pad and put at the top of the first page the word competencies. Then, without regard to your major or anything else, just list everything you’re good at. Some will be career-related, most may not. Repeat for interests and values. Now lay those sheets side-by-side. Look for similarities. Focus on those. That’s your career path.

If you’re like many young adults, your CIV analysis will reveal that your career path does not line up well with your major. If that’s the case, do NOT kick yourself over your educational decisions. Education is always a good thing. If nothing else, your education taught you how to think. And that skill is, amazingly, in very short supply.

— Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of College Recruiter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Career Advice for Job Seekers | Tagged