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I Can’t Find a Job in My College Major, What Should I Do?

A close up of people graduating, with diplomas.

From a reader:

I am a recent graduate of a four-year university with a bachelor’s degree in Democracy and Justice Studies. I chose not to go to law school or pursue any further education in hopes of landing a nice job. Now, with no luck searching and applying fruitlessly for months on end, I almost wish I had. Do you have any advice for finding a good job that recognizes a degree in a field such as mine?


Dear What Now?

I was in the same predicament as you when I finished my undergraduate degree in Criminology. I thought I wanted to go into corrections, but after a few interviews I realized it really wasn’t the field for me. Similar to you, I was more than concerned. It was too late to apply to grad school and I needed a j-o-b.

Here’s what I did:

  • Visit the website for your college major. Just about every department lists what graduates with that particular major have gone on to do. This will give you some insight into the range of ways people have leveraged your particular major. Identify several that sound interesting to you and reach out to those individuals to learn more about their careers.
  • Get insight from your college’s career services office. Career Services staff members often have insight into which companies are willing to take chances on nontraditional majors. Let them know that you are interested in learning about careers that might be outside of what people normally do with a degree in your field and if they can connect you to potential alumni, organizations, and opportunities. Additionally, some universities have multiple career service centers, so don’t limit yourself to just your department. Who knows, there might be a company visiting the College of Business’ Career Services office that would love to have you!
  • See if your university is hiring. Many universities have entry-level positions that are perfect for recent alumni. Most of the time, these positions don’t require you to have a specific major and your alumni status goes a long way.
  • Consider a year (or two) of service. There are programs like CityYear, Teach for America, and other “service” related opportunities that will put a little money in your pocket but give you big experience and help you grow your network.
  • Take a job outside of your major and volunteer on the side. While it would be great to work in a field that speaks to your major, if you’re pressed for work, you might have greater success taking a job outside of your field and volunteering instead. You’ll still get experience and explore your interests while making money.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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About the Author | Qiana Williams is a senior human resources manager for a global retailer where she is responsible for all aspects of the implementation of HR strategy for more than 200 employees domestically and internationally. Prior to this role, she navigated the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, tackling the various aspects of HR. Qiana has played an active role in her community through board service with organizations such as City Year – Columbus, Communities in Schools of Central Ohio, HandsOn Central Ohio and the United Way of Central Ohio.

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