Career Growth

I Graduated with a Useless Major, Now What?

Students pose this question to me all the time. Typically, they have majored in Sociology, Anthropology, Art History, or another major that they have decidedly renounced as “useless.” As Liberal Arts-focused colleges are attracting more and more students uncertain of what they want to do upon graduation, students are often attracted to majors that don’t often intuitively lead to promising careers. So you’re not going to become an anthropologist with your Anthropology degree? You’ve still got a promising future. I’ll walk you through it.

 

1. You Are Not Your Major
More accurately, your career prospects are not your major. Majors matter only in the sense that they reflect certain skills you’ve attained during college. They don’t narrow your options by name alone unless, of course, your graduate program or desired job requires a certain degree or major type. In that instance, I assume you won’t be reading this article.
 
2. Elevate Yourself Beyond Stereotypes
Recognize that certain majors have stereotypes attached to them – some true and some not so true. A former boss, for example, was hesitant to hire any Communications majors because she assumed they chose an “easy” major in order to slack off through college. Move beyond the stereotypes potential employers may hold by distinguishing yourself from your peers by pointing out internships, awards, unique or strong skills, or particularly interesting projects you worked on. Employers care much more your demonstrable skills than your degree. Get involved in extracurriculars and internships that you actually enjoy.
 
3. Ignore Your Major, Focus on Skills
So you majored in English. But you’re not going to become an English teacher, writer, journalist, English graduate student, or English language & literature researcher. So what. Now that you know what you don’t want to do, you’re a couple steps ahead of the game. Now think about what skills you gained or discovered while pursuing that major. Writing? Researching? Analysis and thought organization?

Now think about what made you decide to pursue that major. Was it because you found yourself enjoying classes where all you needed to do was read and discuss books? There you go. Now, gather a list of your skills and interests, and go explore which careers out there allow you to use them.
 
For more detailed tips on how to figure out which career is best for you, read more here.