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What can I do with a degree in University Studies?

Elizabeth from Texas Tech University asked:

I am a summer 2012 graduate and am having a really hard time finding a job.  My degree is in University Studies with concentrations in Psychology, Communications and Interdisciplinary Studies.  What jobs do I qualify for with this degree?  Where should I look? I live in the Dallas/Ft.Worth, TX area and am not having luck. Am I looking at the wrong jobs? Should I expand my search area to other areas?  Also, how can I get noticed by an out of state company with my resume showing I am in Texas?

Hi Elizabeth –

and thanks for submitting your question – or should I say – questions!  They are all good questions, and you are not alone in trying to answer them,  Hopefully my responses will be helpful.

First, all college degrees are not created equal . . . .

. . . so, you cannot compare them directly.  While accounting majors, engineering majors and architecture majors are all pursuing degrees that prepare them to enter very specific and clearly defined fields, in most cases, psychology majors, communication majors and university studies majors are not.  While it is easy for accounting majors to identify target employers, and it is easy for employers needing entry-level accountants to identify and evaluate potential candidates, the same cannot be said for students in majors that do not track linearly into specific professions or for employers who have job opportunities that require a diverse set of skills, education and experience.  Not all job searches are clear cut.  There are huge gray areas that you as a job seeking need to clarify for employers.

Why is that . . .

Employers don’t inherently “get” you, what you want, or what you offer . . .

. . .  you have to make you understandable and valuable to employers.  Employer expect you to be able to tell them why you want the job they have to offer, why you believe you are a qualified candidate for that job, why you want to work for their organization and why you want to work in their industry.  As a job seeker, you have to prove to employers why you want and are qualified for the job they have.  And their expectations are not unrealistic. They don’t expect entry-level candidates to be able to respond to those questions in the same way an experienced candidate would respond, but they do expect you to have done your homework.  Needing a job is not a qualification for seeking a job.  You have to be very proactive and focused in your search, which leads me to my third point:

In order to find a job you want – one that fits you, your needs and your priorities,  . . .

you must first define yourself, your wants, your needs and your priorities, and you must use that information to guide your search for employment.  Without knowing what you did while you are in college – in addition to your coursework (internships, student leadership, etc.) – to round out your candidacy; without knowing what kinds of employment you are seeking;  and with out knowing what you have been doing so far to seek employment in the DFW area; it’s really not possible for me to tell you whether or not you are looking at the wrong jobs or if you are looking in the wrong areas.

Check to see if your university offers alumni career services, and if you are eligible to visit with one of their career advisers.  They are good people who offer sound advice.

I also recommend you review some of my previous posts related to this topic, including:

Let the Job Seeker Beware: Four Tips for the Savvy Job Seeker

Four Interview Questions Everyone Must Be Able to Answer

Hope this helps,

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