Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Career Paths for Arts and Sciences Majors

By Kai K. Harvey, sophomore economics major at CU-Boulder 

Picking an internship or career path can be especially tricky for Arts and Sciences students. A quick peruse of job posting sites like CSO (Career Services Online), or a visit to a career fair can leave non-business or non-engineering students feeling hopeless. It may seem like every job opening out there is geared towards marketing, management, sales or some engineering discipline. Finding a job as a major in anthropology, creative writing, sociology, political science can seem like a daunting task at times. On the surface you may not see opportunities, but there are plenty of job openings available for any major. All that’s required is a little flexibility.

One of the biggest misconceptions college students have is that they are going to end up spending their entire careers in the same field they majored in. Talk to any college grad in a well-established career and you’ll quickly find out this is usually not the case. For example, the current VP of Marketing for Vail Resorts majored in veterinary science, the current CFO of Google in the Boulder branch majored in creative writing, and Steven Spielberg majored in English.

It is important to remember that your college major teaches you important skills, but it is not necessarily training you for a specific profession. No matter what your major, these skills can benefit you in a wide range of jobs. A creative writing major, for example, doesn’t necessarily have to become a novelist. Strong writing skills are necessary in many different jobs from public relations to business. As a sociology major, one can apply their knowledge of people and society to a range of jobs, including marketing, international affairs and entrepreneurship.

The most important thing to remember when you begin your job search is opening your mind to different opportunities. If you are overly specific about what you want to do, it will be more difficult to find work. If you are willing to be flexible, however, finding a career opportunity that will allow you to apply your skills will be easy.

When you browse online job postings on CSO, think about the skills you have acquired and whether or not they are applicable to the job rather than only focusing on positions that apply to your major. It’s all about broadening your choices and increasing opportunities. You will soon find that in the real world there is seldom work that fits neatly into one field, but rather most positions require a combination of skills that could apply to pretty much any major. Remember, be flexible, and good luck!