TRUTH: Your Major Matters Much Less Than You Think

TRUTH: Your Major Matters Much Less Than You Think

By: Celine Salim | Contributor
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“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Are you afraid of not getting a job after you graduate? This is not a new story in the increasingly competitive current world of careers. In fact, you might have already experienced the extreme difficulty of getting a job these days. When thousands of other candidates are graduating with the same degree as you, how do you make yourself stand out? How do you boost your value beyond the degree(s) you graduated with?

On SFU’s website, each major program guideline provides a long list of relevant jobs you can work in. We are constantly faced with the mystery question of whether what we study is what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Undergraduate studies are designed for planning what you aspire to do in the future, but it does not mean that your career is limited to your degree.

Underline this: Don’t be afraid to explore job opportunities in other fields outside your major. Of course, it’s great if you can find a career relevant to your studies, but there’s no harm in looking ‘around the neighborhood’. In fact, only 27% of college graduates have a job related to their major. How do I qualify for a job in Business with a Communications degree, you ask? Working in a field outside of your degree does not mean that you don’t get to apply what you’ve learned from school.

It is about time that you start thinking of yourself as more than just a Communications undergrad; you are a collaborative team worker with a remarkable aptitude to negotiate and communicate ideas. These are transferable, soft-skills you learned from a Communications major, for instance. Not only are these skills applicable for other opportunities outside your major, but they are also what makes you more ‘valuable.’ These are skills that you have attained from a 4-year battle in university, not merely the label of a major.

Of course, applying for a position outside your major can be challenging and tricky. If the job position is a Logistics Operations Manager and you have no experience with logistics, then you might want to reconsider your chances based on your hard skills. However, if it’s an entry level job and you are only short of one or two secondary skills required such as Microsoft Excel (or maybe even a skill that you have, but lack of formal education in), then you should definitely try! At the end of the day, a company can afford to train you for hard skills you are lacking, but they can’t teach you how to work well in teams, or how to display appreciation for other’s cultural values in a cross-national agreement negotiation. So, the next time you see a job vacancy in another field that ‘secretly’ excites you, give it a shot! Don't get too fixated on finishing a degree for the sake of the title on a paper. Instead, start thinking about what you really want to attain from your major and, in turn, what you can do with it in the future. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for opportunities in the world.

 

Sources:

Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major - The Washington Post

Does the College Major Matter? Not Really - The New York Times

Why Your College Degree Doesn't Always Matter - Business Insider

The Benefits of Earning a College Degree - College Atlas

A PhD is a qualification, not an identity - Jobs on Toast

 

Lead Image: The Scientist

 

Celine had to travel half the globe from Indonesia to Canada to pursue her academic career in Communications. After living away from home for 3 years, she has learned invaluable experience be it from inside or outside of school, and hoping that she can share them to inspire other students through her writing for the blog. When she needs a break from school, she would whip something fresh from scratch in the kitchen

Posted on March 31, 2015