You′re Majoring in What???

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Amy Oakes
Assistant Director
Career Services

It’s not uncommon for students to hear, “What are you going to do with THAT major?” However, it is uncommon for students and their parents to realize that any major can be successful, that “major does not equate career.” Meaning, a philosophy major does not have to become a philosopher, and a history major isn’t limited to teaching. Art majors can even go into business. It’s experience that counts in the workplace.

Fewer than 50% of college graduates are in a career that directly relates to his or her major. In fact, employers who recruit on college campuses are often open to “any major” when taking job applicants. According to career services guru Vernon Zucker*, the six core workplace competencies that employers look for in students include:

  • Learning skills
  • Basic reading, writing, computation, and cognitive reasoning skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Creative thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Leadership and visioning skills
  • Self-development/self-management skills

These competencies can be obtained with any major.

When selecting a major, it’s important to encourage your student to choose a subject they enjoy. People who enjoy their studies are more likely to do well. This success will, in turn, foster an incentive for a student to become more involved in campus life. We all feel better when we’re spending time doing something we enjoy!

Once you’ve learned about your student’s major and career plans, encourage him or her to visit Career Services. We can help students develop a resume, explore career options through the Shadow Program and informational interviews, and secure internships and/or part-time jobs, all of which will point them in any career direction.

*Zucker, Vernon G. (2001). Career Counseling: Applied Concepts of Life Planning.