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5 Careers English Students Might Enjoy After Graduation

librarianOnce you’ve completed your English course at school, college or university, it will be time to start thinking about what kind of career path would be most suitable given your skills and personal interests. Luckily, a lot of different companies require their staff to have excellent spelling and grammar abilities, so the possibilities really are endless. Still, sometimes it’s a good idea to hear suggestions from other people, which is precisely why I’ve written the article you’re reading today. You obviously want to aim for the best paid position possible, and so the ideas featured before could serve to give you the inspiration needed.

1. Librarian

You might think that working in a library would be a bit boring, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Librarians are responsible for categorizing titles, dealing with loans and placing orders for new publications they know will go down well with their clientele. On top of this, you might be surprised to learn the salary is usually very attractive.

2. Primary School Teacher

If you enjoy spending time with children and helping them to increase their knowledge, becoming a primary school teacher could provide you with all the job satisfaction you’ll ever need. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll need more than a basic English qualification from ECOT to score a job like this, but that’s still a brilliant place to start on this career path. In most circumstances, you’ll need to complete a full three year degree course in a relevant subject, and then enroll on a 12 month teacher training course to hone your skills.

3. Writer / Author

As you’ve spent so long learning how to spell and use grammar properly, it might make sense to capitalise on these skills by becoming a full time writer or author. Selling books is tough, so you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching the markers before settling on the subject of your first title. However, these days you can find well paid work with many of the internet’s top marketing agencies, who are always on the look out for new talent.

4. Professional Editor

You could turn that last idea around on its head and start a career as a professional proofreader and editor. Obviously, you’ll need an impeccable understanding of language to make a success of this, but as many top publishers pay in excess of £30,000 to editors for their most anticipated titles, this role could leave you with enough money to retire early and enjoy the good life.

5. Journalist

Okay, so, every English graduate probably dreams of working at a top fleet street newspaper, right? Well, this goal may not be too far beyond your reach. While there are often thousands of candidates for vacancies in this industry, you stand just as much chance as the next person, so start contacting your favourite companies now to find out about the next round of interviews.

Just remember, your destiny is now in your own hands, so you must to everything you can to make it a fruitful one. And anyway, If all else fails, at least you’ll know how to fill the forms in properly at the jobcentre.

Cheers for reading guys!

Sam Gatt, a UK-based contributor who writes on all things business and career related.

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What is your place in the film industry?

Not Sure What Path To Take? Check Out These 7 Career Ideas To Give You Food for Thought

ConstructionUpon leaving full time education, you’re going to have a potentially life changing decision to make. Your choice of career path could determine the path of your life for the next ten years or even longer, so it’s vitally important you perform a significant amount of research and get things right. Nobody wants to waste two or three years in a role only to discover they hold no enjoyment for the job, which is one of the main reasons this article has been created.

Hopefully, after reading through the 7 top suggestions listed below, you’ll have enough inspiration to find something you’ll truly excel at.

Here they are:

1. Construction

Whether you decide to become an architect or a builder, working in the construction industry is ideal for people who enjoy spending time outdoors. You’ll need to be strong and fit to succeed, but the potential earnings in this career are pretty favourable. You could even try to enter a niche market by working for a company that specialises in a particular product like Leominster Farm Buildings or something similar.

2. Recruitment Consultant

Have you noticed the lack of good jobs available at the moment? Well then, it might be sensible to join one of the only industries known to grow at times like this. As a recruitment consultant, your job will be finding unemployed people work and making a commission from their earnings. You’ll need excellent social skills and a good telephone manner to succeed at this.

3. School Teacher

If you like the idea of having lots of holidays and actually making a difference in the lives of young people, becoming a teacher could provide you will all the fulfillment you’ll ever need. Obviously, you’ll need to specialise in a subject at university before taking the teaching course, but there’s nothing stopping you from choosing something simple like geography or history. Earnings are also very reasonable for this job.

4. Police Man / Woman

Do you watch the news and spend hours thinking about all those criminals who take advantage of people? Would you like to really have an impact on society? Then joining the police force is the perfect career move. You’ll have to work hard at remembering certain parts of the law, and you might get in a slightly dangerous situation from time to time, but it will be worth it.

5. PR Consultant

Presuming you find the world of advertising to be interesting but you don’t want to me a full-blown marketer, opting to either set up your own business, or join an established PR consultancy firm could satisfy all your urges. This is perfect for people who have an interest in human psychology, and those who don’t mind spending all day sat in front of a computer.

6. Stock Broker

With the recent success of Martin Scorsese’s film “The Wolf of Wall Street”, many people are considering a career in the stock market. While you might think it’s a difficult job to find, once you’re in, you stand to make millions. You’ll need a number of skills relating to persuasion, and a conscience you’re able to ignore.

7. Diving Instructor

Finally, this is out wildcard today. So long as you have adequate swimming skills, and you like spending time with other people, becoming a diving instructor could seriously change your life. There are many companies all over the world who provide instructors to popular holiday destinations by the sea, so you could end up spending your summers in somewhere like Morocco. Not bad eh?

After reading through those suggestions, you should be much closer to finding the ideal career path and starting your adult life in the real world. Good luck with the decision, I’m certain you’ll make the right choice when the time comes.

See you soon!

Uk-based contributor Sam Gatt, a blogger on all things business and career related.

Does Going to a Trade School Make More Sense than Going to a 4-year College?

trade schoolHave you spent hours looking for the perfect college for you or your son or daughter to attend?

Look at official brochures and websites and you will see descriptions of beautiful campuses, accommodations including game rooms and lounges, pools available for use throughout the semester, exciting experiments possible in a hi-tech laboratory etc., etc.

Do you really want to pay for amenities that you may never use? Is the amount of choice provided overwhelming? Perhaps it would be best to scrap the idea entirely.

Yes, for a moment, put aside your thoughts of which 4-year college to attend and focus instead on the prospect of streamlining your options by considering a technical or trade school.

A trade school may provide you with the skills you need to make a living doing what you love. Trade schools have numerous benefits that differ from those associated with going to a regular 4-year university, and sometimes they lead to careers with better job security.

Have you always had an interest in gardening? You can make a living as a gardener/landscaper going to a gardening and landscaping school.

Trade schools allow you to skip the general education that 4-year universities require. Rather than take general education classes needed to accrue the required number of credits for a 4-year degree, you can dedicate more time to getting hands on experience in your chosen field.

Go to a trade school, and you will get a highly focused curriculum that allows you to develop specific knowledge and skills, from the very general and basic to highly specified and professional. Educational programs are intensive and focused, so students are guaranteed in-depth knowledge that is delivered by professionals with extensive experience in the same field. Trade school students also are encouraged to develop their problem solving skills in ways related to issues that may arise during employment.

Trade school saves time

Most trade school degrees and certificate programs can be completed in less than two years; a much shorter time than the typical four to five years spent at university.

Trade school saves money

Because going to a Trade School saves time, it also saves money. Families in the United States spend on average $32,000 dollars a year on one child’s college education. Multiply that by four and you may emerge as a graduate with years of debt on your shoulders. In contrast, the amount you pay for a trade education is significantly less, ranging from $4,000 to around $30,000 for the entire certificate or degree.

Trade school may provide a greater chance of employment

Getting a four-year college degree will not guarantee you a job upon graduation. Most employers require candidates with education and some experience and established skills that will enable them to hit the ground running within the working community. Depending upon your desired career path, a trade school degree may help you hit the ground running more effectively, more quickly and more economically than will a four-year degree.

Yes, it is true: If you attend a trade school, you will miss out on the “college experience.” But, trade school will provide you with a very intense and focused education in a positive learning environment and can considerably increase your chances of getting a good job upon graduation, all while potentially saving you up to 50% of the money you would have spent on a traditional college education.

“Make today’s efforts pay off tomorrow. That’s what my two-year degree from Porter and Chester did for me. It opened the door to an awesome career and a great future.”

Tony G. (quoted above) got a trade school degree from the Porter and Chester Institute.  He didn’t have much, but that didn’t stop him from doing what he wanted to do – and he thanks his trade school education for much of his success. Trade schools provide a complete and well-rounded education for much less money than and time than what is required to complete a four-year college degree.

Is a trade school right for you?  That depends upon your career goals.  So, be smart.  Do your homework when researching college options.  You just might find that a trade school is the best choice for you. The choice is yours, make it smart.

About the Author

Ray Holder is a career coach. After completing his education from Porter and Chester Institute and working for 15 years in other fields, he now helps people from high school age to those in their thirties and beyond make sound career decisions.

I love my job as an architect! (David Schultz)

David Schultz, AIA, NCARB, LEED is the principal architect at David F. Schultz Associates Ltd. in Barrington, IL.  David F. Schultz Associates was founded in 1986 and specializes in the design of churches, preschools, parochial schools and other facilities for church-based ministries. David’s firm has designed more than 372 facilities over the past 26 years.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be an architect.  I constantly played with blocks, made huge towns out of them that would wind throughout our house.  I built tree houses in my backyard. Some kids got into trouble for chewing gum or passing notes during class – I got into trouble for sketching buildings in my notebooks when I should have been paying attention to the teacher. I still have a notebook of “gravity-defying” buildings I designed in 4th and 5th grade.

I’m grateful my parents encouraged my interest in architecture. They had hoped I would become a Pastor, but they never pushed that on me– to the contrary, they encouraged my interest in architecture. In fact, throughout high school my standing request for a Christmas present was subscriptions to the two major architectural publications, and my parents honored that request every year.  My dad was also very interested in buildings, so he and I would explore buildings together when we took family vacations.

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been intrigued by buildings.  I love to explore them, and I love to design them.  On some level, I have always been architect.

At the time I went to college (in the mid-1970s), I was told that just under one third of the licensed architects in the country were graduates of the University of Illinois.  Those numbers have changed dramatically since then, as more and more universities started offering architecture degrees, but when I went to school, Illinois was one of the primary places that did.  My dad is a Michigan alum, so I know he was disappointed I didn’t go to Michigan.  At least I stayed stay in the Big Ten!

What is unique about going to college for Architecture?  What should a prospective student expect?

Know what you are getting yourself into! Architecture is a grueling college curriculum.  I had 20 hours per week of required design lab each semester for which I only got 3 academic credits.  It’s not that the curriculum is that much more difficult than, say, accounting; it is just very time intensive, and that rigor weeds out who really wants to be an architect and who does not.

My freshman class started with over 320 architecture students – we graduated 87.  I think that kind of attrition is not something most students expect.  This weeding out process was intended to prepare us for the real world.  Clients are very demanding, and if you are going to be a successful architect, you had better be prepared to deliver results on time and design buildings that won’t fall down.

That’s pretty much the first rule of architecture:  Build things that won’t fall down.

What is the job market today for architects?

There are more options available today, but the job market is just as tough now as it was when I got out of school in the late-1970s.  Back then the economy was really bad as a result of the oil embargo.  I got a job out of school because I knew a guy who knew a guy. The guy I knew liked me a lot and helped me get my foot in the door with the guy he knew who happened to need people to do some drafting.

Of course, I walked in on my first day thinking I was God’s gift to architecture. Within 10 minutes I realized I wasn’t and that my education in the real world was just starting. I was really fortunate; many of my fellow graduates were not as lucky to get jobs.

The job market is similar today.  Given the current economic conditions, particularly here in Illinois, very few firms are hiring at any significant levels.  It’s tough right now.  But as I said, there are a lot more options for new graduates today; particularly for those folks with computer and construction industry skills.  New graduates with current technology skills are needed; particularly in larger firms.

The entry-level architects who have internship experience under their belt have a great advantage over those who don’t.

What courses did you take in college that didn’t seem to make sense at the time but have proven valuable?

Let’s see – I took 3 hours of microbiology and 3 hours of astronomy, and I haven’t used any of it.

However my math classes, particularly, calculus and advanced calculus, have been invaluable, even though at the time I didn’t want to take them because they were hard. They really help me understand how things work and understand things from a structural engineer’s perspective.  I’m a design guy and being able to understand things from the structural engineer’s perspective is critically important.  So, definitely my math classes.

Also, general history and the humanities.  I took classes in Greek and Mesopotamian Literature and Mythology.  I really enjoyed these classes, but didn’t think they would be that valuable.  More recently I have become an avid student of American history.  Architecture and history go hand in hand, and a lot of modern architecture has its roots in the structures of ancient Greece and Mesopotamia.

So, along with math – history and the humanities!

Is a graduate degree required to become an architect?

There is a lot of confusion around that question. When I was in school, you could get a 4-year degree, and with three years of experience you could get licensed. Now, you have to get a 5-year professional degree, and a 6-year degree is considered a graduate degree.  You are going to have trouble getting licensed in some states if you don’t have a graduate degree, so a graduate degree is almost a given – you have to have it if you are going to pursue the career.

It is required to get an NCARB Certificate in order to be licensed in multiple states, and to maintain your license you have to do annual professional development

Tell me about your career path

I started my career doing drafting for a tiny firm in the suburbs.  It certainly wasn’t glamorous, but the guy I worked for really taught me how a building comes together.  I learned a lot, but it wasn’t fancy.

My long term goal was to design churches, and the premiere architectural firm doing that kind of work was in Rockford, Illinois (another suburb of Chicago); but they weren’t hiring.

I remember going into my office to announce that my wife and I were expecting our first child.  My announcement was greeted with a lay-off notice!  Not the response I was expecting, of course, but a major project had just been completed, and they didn’t have any work. As a result, all of us got laid off.

I must have reached out to 80 firms throughout the Chicago-land area via phone, postal mail or foot, including that firm I really wanted to work for.  As it turned out, they were looking to open a small Chicago office with two people, and they were interested in me and one of my classmates from Illinois to be that two-person team.  That is when my career really took off.  I had a design job with an architectural firm specializing in churches, I was working with a former classmate, and I was making enough money to support my wife and growing family.  It was a real blessing.

After establishing my reputation with that firm, I decided to strike out on my own and in 1986 started my own company.  26 years and 372 projects later, here I am!  And, I still love it.

What don’t you love about your job?

Government mandated paperwork!  I spend so much time filling out government forms and paying fees and taxes I never used to have to.  It is getting harder and harder to be a small business person.

Here’s an example: The building code used nationally used to be about 180 pages long. Nowadays, the building code fills 12 volumes, 300 pages each, and some parts of the code contradict others.  The whole code review process has become really cumbersome.

Dealing with late payments is not much fun either.  They are rare, but they happen occasionally and when they do, the client meetings are usually uncomfortable.  This is stuff they don’t teach you in architecture school.

What advice do you have for students considering an architecture degree?

Work really hard in school – particularly in the area of design –  and get a mentor.  Your mentor will fill in the gaps in your education for you.

Find an architect you admire and ask them to be your mentor.  Trust me, they like mentoring.  I regularly mentor students at Judson University and I love seeing their passion and creativity.  Mentoring gives me great hope for our future!

If you really love architecture – pursue it.  If you don’t have that passion for architecture, the program will weed you out!

If you knew then what you know now . . .

I wouldn’t change anything.

Recognize that you don’t know everything and that you will be learning as you go.  You will make mistakes.

There are times you will be right, but that won’t matter. What matters more is doing the right thing by your clients.

In Illinois, there is lawsuit every two years for every licensed architect.  With myself and two other licensed architects on staff in my firm, I should be facing a lawsuit every year.

I am proud to say that in 26 years – I have never been sued; I’ve never had to set foot in a courtroom!

I recall a meeting with a prospective client who asked “Have you ever had anything go wrong on a project?”  I had to laugh as I suggested an alternative question to her: “How do you handle the inevitable problems that come up during a project?”

Know this – you will encounter problems during your career, everyone does. How you handle the problems (and opportunities) you face will reveal your character and define your career and reputation.

A guide to forging a career as a solicitor

UK-based guest blogger Sam Gatt shares his thought on pursuing a career in law as a solicitor (in U.S. terms …  a lawyer!)

law courtsIf you are based in the United Kingdom, and becoming an astronaut is something that is a little too “out of this world” for you, then you might want to come back down to Earth and consider a career as a solicitor instead.

Whilst these two occupations are seemingly as different as can be, they actually have a number of similarities.

For example, you have to do years of training and pass many exams to be fully qualified in both jobs, and both of these jobs are quite high-level and are aimed at people who are willing to put the time and the work in to achieve a successful end result.

You probably won’t ever get the chance to fly into space if you become a solicitor (well, not unless you’re aboard a Virgin Galactic flight perhaps), but you will certainly have the skill and experience to help people get justice through the legal system! Here is a guide to forging a career as a solicitor.

Why become a solicitor?

OK, so you might have an interest in the legal system but you might be wondering why you should consider becoming a solicitor. Here are a few reasons:

  • Earning potential – whilst it is true that the starting salary of a trainee solicitor can be anything from minimum wage to around £16k a year, fully-qualified solicitors can expect to earn between £25,000 and £70,000 a year working for firms such as Poole Solicitors, whilst partners in law firms could earn a minimum of £100,000 a year;
  • Impressive job title – you can be proud of the fact that you have a prestigious job title, and people will hold you in high regard as you work in such a professional industry;
  • You get to help people – millions of people around the world need the assistance of solicitors to help them fight any legal problems through the courts, and you will be the person that can help many people by helping them fight their cases on their behalf;
  • You get to use your brain – some jobs like data entry clerks are really boring and monotonous as you would often have to type the same sorts of things into a computer on a daily basis. Solicitors, on the other have, are often involved in interesting and diverse cases which requires them to use their intellect in order to seek out the truth.

How do I become a solicitor?

In the United Kingdom, there are three paths that you can take to become a solicitor. The first involves completing a law degree and then a Legal Practice Course and the second involves completing a non-law degree and taking a law diploma

The third involves becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives – although you have to be working in the legal profession in order to be considered.

For those considering the law degree path, you will need to have a foundation course such as criminal and contract law, or property law as part of your degree.

You will also need to have five GCSEs between grades A and C, and three A-levels. The Law Society website will provide further information on the specifics of each path.

Moving to the UK from the United States?

For those of you considering a move to the UK from the USA, and you are already a successful lawyer in the state you currently reside in, it might be worth your while speaking with The Law Society in the UK to determine what is involved in getting a job as a solicitor in Britain.

Are Cosmetic Surgery Careers Really A Good Idea?

Cosmetic Surgery

UK-based guest blogger Sam Gatt shares the following advice:

There appears to be a huge influx of talent in the cosmetic surgery industry at the moment, and this is mainly due to the high levels of pay and mostly simply procedures involved. Over the last couple of years, shocking quantities of science and medical graduates have turned to this form of body modification when deciding on the best way to progress their education and career. Still, with so many people getting involved in the industry, could there come a time when it’s impossible to make a good wage from this endeavour?

I mean; the same thing happened with hairdressers a few years ago when colleges around the world started training thousands of students in the role. Unfortunately, this created the situation we face today, where the high streets of our hometowns are filled with hairdressing and beauty businesses unable to make a decent profit because of the sheer amount of competition. Presuming this could happen to body modification specialists, it begs the question; are cosmetic surgery careers really a good idea?

So, over the next few paragraphs, I’ll attempt to reach a conclusion by looking at all the pros and cons of working in this field today.

The Pros Of A Career In Cosmetic Surgery

  • The PayCosmetic surgeons  can earn up to and including half a million each and every year. Although the competition is becoming stiff, this amount looks unlikely to drop to unfeasible levels anytime soon.
  • Job Satisfaction – In instances where you’re performing plastic surgery on someone who’s experienced serious burns or an accident of some kind, you’ll get immense job satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that you are responsible for making that person feel a little more normal.
  • Innovation – Once you’re qualified at a cosmetic surgeon, you’ll be free to create and test your own unique techniques. If you manage to come up with something truly innovative and useful, you could even revolutionise certain parts of the industry.

The Cons Of A Career In Cosmetic Surgery

  • Lengthy Education – Unfortunately, anyone wishing to become a registered cosmetic surgeon will have to undertake a minimum of four to five years training at university, and this can put some people off the idea. However, in a recent survey, only 4% of registered professionals regretted their career choice.
  • Higher Risks – For the obvious reasons, plastic surgeons face an increased risk of malpractice cases, which means you may find yourself defending your techniques in court on more than one occasion. That said; so long as you follow all guidelines, you’ll be covered.

So, you should clearly see that opting for a career in cosmetic surgery is still a very wise move at the current time. This could change in the near future depending on the amount of students enrolling on relevant courses, but anyone considering pursuing this path over the next couple of years shouldn’t experience any major issues. I hope this article will prove useful, and maybe it will have given some of you the inspiration needed to improve your lives.

See you next time!

Sam Gatt
UK-based guest blogger who writes on all thinks business and career-related.  

What can you do with an engineering degree?

UK EngineerHere are some great suggestions from UK-based guest blogger Sam Gatt, a writer on all things business and career related. 

In the UK it’s rather difficult to find well paid work at the moment, so when you finally graduate from university with an engineering degree, you’ll need to put extra effort into researching possible employment solutions. You might not realise it at the moment, but the skills you’ve gained over the last three years are desirable to employers in a wide range of different industries. This means your options are vast when it comes to finding a good job that you truly enjoy with ample prospects for promotion in the future. With that in mind, this article will give you a few ideas that you may wish to research before contacting relevant businesses and asking about vacancies.

So, if you’re due to finish your course this year, spend a couple of minutes reading through the suggestions I’ve made below, and hopefully you’ll be in the best position to find employment in a timely manner. At the end of the day, the quality of work you find will depend heavily on the amount of effort you’re willing to put in, but the jobs listed below will give you some new ideas that could assist you along the way.

Logistics

Most firms that deal with deliveries of any kind will have a dedicated logistics department that deals with ensuring things operate in the simplest and smoothest way possible. The skills you’ve obtained during your degree course will come in very handy in this kind of role, as you’ll be required to create methods and processes in much the same way you would when designing a machine.

Supply Chain Management

Most manufacturing companies will need to employ a professional supply chain manager to oversee production lines, the sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing processes. This means they require people with a logical mindset who are capable of drawing up plans and making sure all requirements are met. In most instances, they look towards engineering graduates because their talents are usually very similar to those needed for successful completion of the role.

Traditional Engineering Jobs

Of course, we mustn’t overlook the type of job you’re been specifically trained for, and so becoming a traditional engineer and working for companies like Fastec Engineering might be suitable. The great thing about this kind of employment is that your days will be varied, as most engineering firms specialise in custom projects for clients all over the world. So, you should never get tired of performing the same old tasks over and over again.

Teaching / Lecturing

Anyone interested in pursuing this form of employment will obviously have to also complete a basic teaching course, but so long as you can afford to stay out of work for an extra year, this could be a great way of giving something back and making a real difference in the lives of new students. The benefits of a role like this are many, but the most prominent is that you’ll spend most of your working life comfortable and warm, which is something that can’t be said for most engineers.

After reading through my suggestions, I hope you now understand a little more about some of the most lucrative opportunities open to you on the UK job market at the moment. That wasn’t an extensive list, and there are many other routes you could take, but I’m sure the ideas presented will serve to point you in the right direction.

Good luck with your search, I’ll see you back here again soon!

Sam Gatt

What tools do welders need?

Welder-011Ben from the Lamar Institute of Technology asked:

Can you point me to the right tools most commonly needed for welders. I have a hood, gloves, half round file, leathers, goggles, glasses, adjustable T-square, tip cleaners, folding rule, and tool bucket. What else do I need?

Hi Ben

I have to admit, welding is not my area of expertise, but your question gave me the opportunity to show how easy it can be to find information while looking for a job when you know where and how to look.

A basic Google search

I googled your question.  A lot of useless info came back to be sure, but the following news release came up, as well:

What Are The Basic Welding Tools For Welders?

The information is a little old, but it is sound.

It is amazing how valuable the most simple of searches can be.  Not always, of course, but often.

Company and Industry Discussion Forums

The news release mentioned above was produced by a company in the welding industry, so I searched for more companies and found some company and industry discussion forums that proved very valuable.  One offered a good reminder that you have to make sure you are asking the right questions if you want valuable answers.  The following response was very enlightening:

An Iron Worker Welder will carry much different tools than a Machinist Welder, and an Aerospace Welder will carry no tools. You need to be more specific with your questions.

Check out the Welding Design and Fabrication Discussion Forum and company discussion forums, like Miller Electric’s MillerWelds that answers the question  What tools should one own as an apprentice welder fabricator?

And, finally – check out YouTube

I found the following very helpful video: The 10 Must Have Hand Tools of Every Welder

Hope this helps!

matt-signature

What can I do with my major?

Crossroads1I get a lot of “Ask the Coach” questions asking essentially the same thing:

What can I do with my major? 

This can be very easy or very difficult to answer, depending upon your major.

If you are majoring in accounting, chemical engineering, social work, architecture, or any other field that tracks directly toward a specific professional, you have at least one possible answer to that question.

If you are majoring in a foreign language, any of the liberal arts, or many of the natural sciences and social sciences, you have a wide variety of possible answers.

If you in your senior year and have just discovered that you do not want to work in the area of your undergraduate major, you have a lot of options to consider, and you are probably a bit frustrated and scared.

What should you do?  Here are a few things to consider.

Many people with college degrees work in fields NOT directly related to there undergraduate major

Not working in a field related to your major is NORMAL.  It certainly is easier to look for work when you are an accounting major looking for a job in accounting, but that doesn’t make it better.  Take a look at the new Education section on LinkedIn.  (If you’re looking for work and your are not on LinkedIn . . .  what are you waiting for?)  Search your school’s alumni by major and you will see that you have a lot of options. For example, I went to the State University of New York at Oswego and studied communication.  Look at the “Where they work” and “What they do” columns below.

Surprised by the variety?  You shouldn’t be. If you limit your search to those opportunities that are directly related to your major, you are really limiting your options.

Oswego

You major does not define you

You are not an English major,  you are a student who happens to be studying English.

You might call it semantics.  I call it a big distinction.

Defining yourself by your major is self-defeating. It says “I can only do things that people similarly educated do.” It tells potential employers that the only thing they need to know about you to consider you for a job is your major; nothing else matters.

I don’t mind saying . . .  THAT”S CRAZY!

What you offer potential employers is the grand collection of education, skills, experience, qualities, characteristics, gifts, talents and passions that make you who you are.  And, you are a lot more than just a major.

But there is a catch . . . .  (there’s always a catch) . . .  .

You have to help employers understand what you offer and what you want

Even when you are majoring in a clearly definable professional field (e.g., architecture), you still have to help employers understand who you are, what you are looking for in a job, what you offer in qualifications, why you want to work for their company, and why you want to work in their industry.

If you can’t explain who you are, what you want and what you offer to employers, how do you expect them to figure you out?

Answer:  They won’t!

You must be curious, ask questions and explore your options

If you are going to ask the question – what can I do with this major? – you had better be ready to look for answers.  If you want to consider your options, you have to be willing to explore those options.  Be curious!  Let your knowledge of yourself, your interests and your talents guide your exploration.

If you are really into sports, what industries, business, non-profits, etc. focus on sports.  Not everyone who works in sports in an athlete. Where might you fit in?

Likewise with arts & entertainment:  Not everyone who works in the arts is an actor, sculptor, artist or musician.  What roles exist in arts and entertainment that allow the artists to create? Again, where might you fit in.

If you haven’t explored your career options, you are in no position to complain you don’t have any career options.

You must be realistic

Understand this – you will not live in a big house, drive an expensive car and vacation in exotic locations on a school teacher’s salary, unless you marry well, win the lottery or have a trust fund.

No matter how badly you would like to be a teacher and earn a six-figure income, those two concepts are largely incompatible.

As you explore your career options, be realistic.  Look at jobs and career paths that are compatible with your needs and lifestyle expectations. Not doing so will be very frustrating for you and everyone who might offer you job or be willing to help you look for a job.

You should seek help

Why try to answer the What can I do with my major? question on your own?

Chances are, your college has people and resources that can help.

For example, the California State University Chico Career Center has an excellent  What can I do with my major? page and career center advisors who can help you navigate your options.  Likewise, St. Norbert College’s Career Services office has a  What can I do with a major/minor in . . . ? page on their website, and helpful career center staff.

Get help!  And, start with the career center on your college campus.

What can you do with your major? What can’t you do with your major? You’re not going to become a brain surgeon by studying sociology, but if you really explore your options, you will find they are many, but the answers don’t always come easy.

Good Luck,

matt-signature