Once you explore LinkedIn and learn more about the professionals who inspire you, I hope you’ll realize that what you study in college does not determine your ultimate career trajectory, however, it can give you a strong head start.
For example, I earned my BBA in Marketing and a BA in Liberal Studies at the University of Houston. I love my degrees and what I chose to study. My undergraduate career was a joy and an honor. Since I live and breathe education, I understand quite clearly that your degree does not necessarily translate to one industry or career path. It is possible to branch off into different fields. Your career is what you make it and your degree is a tool to help you do so.
With that being said, I understand your concern in making sure you are making the best decision to honor your investment in a higher education. Choosing a degree and major is a huge part of that investment and it can be stressful. You can use LinkedIn to shine some light on that process.
#1 Research ambitious dream jobs descriptions
LinkedIn is stock full of various openings and opportunities to advance your career. I encourage you to use the Jobs tabs on LinkedIn to explore various fields. Be as ambitious as possible. It’s okay if you are unqualified as is to apply. The point is to find a role you see yourself fulfilling in the future in order to give yourself something to work towards. I encourage you to look up 3-5 different roles that you’d enjoy.
When you find those roles, try to find professionals who currently hold that position or positions with similar responsibilities. Take a look at what those professionals studied in college and how long it took them to grow into that role. This is not to say that you mustpick that major specifically, but it’s a place to start.
Learn more about how to use LinkedIn to revamp your resume.
#2 What skills are important to your industry?
When you use LinkedIn to research a specific industry, you’ll find that there are specific skills that make industry professionals more competitive in that field. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, study skills in college that are difficult or time-consuming to teach yourself.
Use the skills you need to acquire as a guide for what classes to take. If you do that, the degree you end up with at the end of your college career will be a moot point because you’ve already acquired all the skills you need to do well in your desired industry.
Learn how to use LinkedIn to fill a skills gap.
#3 What did your mentors study?
If you are thinking about following in your mentors’ steps then take a look at what they studied in college. Remember, it’s not completely necessary to choose the exact same major, but it’s a place to start. Since they are your mentor, I assume you trust their judgment. When you get a chance, sit down to have a conversation with your mentors about their time in college and why they chose their field of study. It’ll give you some insight regarding your choice as well.
Learn how to use LinkedIn to build meaningful relationships.
#4 What do recruiters think?
Is your heart set on one specific company? If so then take a look at what majors they are recruiting from. Keep in mind that not all recruiters limit their scope to a specific field of study. It’s possible to still be recruited for a job at Shell and not be an engineer. The best way to score a one-on-one conversation with a recruiter is to attend a career fair hosted by your college.
With that being said, take a look at the positions available at Shell, or any company you are targeting, and see what they’re looking for. If your field of study is going to have a huge impact regarding the type of work you do then that will influence what major you ultimately choose (or what company you decide to pursue.)
Learn how to use LinkedIn to land an internship.
#5 Reference your alumni database
Each university with a LinkedIn presence has an alumni database. You can organize the alumni by where they live, where they work, and what they do. You can also type in keywords relevant to your search like a college major you’re interested in or a specific career path. For example, you can type in “supply chain”, “copywriter”, “liberal arts”, “digital marketing”, etc. You can customize your search to the information you need.
The goal of using this database is to see where students who graduated ended up working soon after graduation. This does not mean that you have to do what they did, but it’ll give you an idea of what you’re working with. For example, if you notice that most people majoring in X, Y, or Z ended up working at Company 1, Company 2 or Company 3, then chances are you may end up there as well. Remember, nothing is set in stone but this will give you a birds-eye view of your prospects.
Learn how to use LinkedIn to plan your career.
Did you know you can use LinkedIn to help you stand out in the best way? It’s so much more than a landing page for your resume. It can help you revamp your resume, fill a skills gap, land an internship, plan your career, build meaningful relationships, conduct industry research, transition to another industry and so much more!
How long did it take you to choose a major? Did the process stress you out? Knowing what you know now, would you have chosen another major? Share your experience in the comments section!