Strategies for College Grads with Soft Majors

By on June 28, 2019

Look at the lists of occupations that pay the most for young college graduates and they are dominated by majors in the STEMS (science, technology, engineering, math).

STEM occupations pay more, and sometimes significantly more, than the mean annual wage for all workers of $50,620, according to federal statistics. In 2017, the mean wage for STEM jobs was $91,310.

Roughly half of recent college graduates, who have a soft degree, are employed in a job that only requires a high school diploma, according to research conducted by Educate to Career (ETC), a nonprofit that offers a wide array of online tools that focus on college admissions and degree outcomes.

Knowing this reality, it’s stressful for the parents of students, who aren’t interested in pursuing a STEM field or who don’t have the academic ability to do so. What will happen to a student, for instance, who wants to major in studio art or sociology?

Luckily, there are ways that students who choose a soft major, which encompass the liberal arts and humanities, can improve their salary prospects when they graduate.

Here are four tips that will help graduates to become much more marketable and give them an earnings boost if they choose a soft major.

1. Minor in business.

Getting a business minor, according to EToC, can increase a graduate’s earnings by 35%. Just taking some business courses can improve a grad’s marketability by 20% in terms of increased earnings.

Here are some skills that ETC says students can learn taking business courses:

Marketing. Learn the principles of branding and communications. It’s strategic, challenging, entails learning how to research facts and figures, and is a key function in successful companies.

Accounting and finance. This is how a business keeps scores, represents important life skills, and are highly valued by employers.

Administration and operations. Management and organizational skills are also great life skills to possess.

Microsoft Office. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook are common tools in almost every business.

2. Consider becoming an entrepreneur.

Being self-employed is more common than ever. An entrepreneur has to be a resourceful, ambitious, market-oriented, and willing to work long hours.

Some possibilities have a low bar to get started including building websites, creating art, playing music, tutoring, and selling things online.

3. Get internships.

Internships are a must for students who want to have an edge in the job market. The more internships a student can put on a resume, the better.

4. Avoid gaps in a resume.

It’s important to find a job within three months of graduation. A resume will be tarnished if employers see a large and unexplainable time gap between graduation and a real job. Traveling to South America for a few months after graduation is fine, but make sure you volunteer at a non-profit for a few weeks while you are there. Don’t have any suspicious gaps in your resume that raise questions.


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