What can new grads do with their degree?

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When it comes to looking for an entry-level role post-graduation, my advice is to think outside the box. And by “box,” I mean the major printed on your degree.

One of the hardest parts of looking for a job is knowing what jobs to look for and what types of employers to apply. It can be difficult to step outside the comfort zone of your major, but you should do so in order to maximize the chances of you landing meaningful work right out of school – especially in our current economic climate.

For example, since I will graduate with a Bachelor of Journalism in the spring, it makes sense for me to apply to traditional journalism jobs such as news reporting, writing, editing and all the variations in between.

The truth is, however, that I’m probably qualified to work in other roles too, such as public relations, technical writing, designing layouts, analysing and researching, among other things. If I went on to law school or teacher’s college, I could also become a lawyer or a teacher.

I should also look at roles in companies of all backgrounds, not just news organizations. Big business, all levels of government, law enforcement agencies, advertising and marketing firms, non-profit agencies, and universities and colleges all employ people with backgrounds in journalism.

I’m just using myself as an example, of course, but the same goes for almost any undergraduate degree.

Concordia University’s Career and Placement Services (CAPS) has a great resource on their website, called What Can I Do With My Major?, which gives students and recent grads a good idea of what’s out there in terms of potential jobs and potential employers, as well as the skills you’ve probably acquired over the duration of your degree.

So far, there are more than 25 “majors” listed under the categories of Arts & Science, Engineering & Computing Science, Business and Fine Arts. Most of them are fairly common and can probably be found at most universities across the country, such as economics, history, engineering from civil to mechanical to software, business management and administration, and theatre.

Each document gives you examples of jobs acquired by recent grads in that program, potential work settings, skills and characteristics, as well as professional associations you should be aware of as you pursue a career in that industry. It also gives you a few examples of notable grads who have the same degree, in case you wanted some interesting trivia to throw out there at your next party.

If you can’t find your major on What Can I Do With My Major?, ask your peers, your profs and other contacts in your industry to find out what kinds of jobs you could be doing with your degree. If your university’s career centre is as good as Concordia’s, it should also have program-specific information for you.

Once you learn more about what you’re capable of, you’ll have the upper hand and be confident enough to apply for jobs most people with your degree wouldn’t think of.

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.