Does Your College Major Lead to a Great Job?

Many students enter college every year and select a major that may not lead directly to a job that is in demand and pays a decent starting salary. Since students usually want to leave home after graduation, live on their own, have some fun, buy a new car and begin to pay back their college loans, that should be a concern to both students and parents alike. Spending all of that time in college and paying all of that money only makes sense when students graduate with a job that has career potential.

Although there will always be a few students in any major who do end up with good jobs, they may not use or need their coursework in the job they accept. Unfortunately, there are some majors where the odds for graduating with a good job with career potential can be tough. When students major in an area such as: Philosophy, Psychology, Music, Art History, Communications, Humanities, Sociology, Theater, Dance, Latin, Literature and Language Arts, etc., good jobs can be hard to find. Therefore, these graduates may end up in a job such as a Bank Teller, Car Rental Clerk, Book Store Clerk, Waiter/Waitress, Retail Sales Trainee, Fast Food Management Trainee, Peace Corps Volunteer, Telephone Solicitor, Hotel Desk Clerk, Insurance Claims Processor, Youth Counselor, Home Care Case Worker or something similar. If these are not the jobs that you were hoping to land after graduation, you should answer the following questions:

– How many recruiters came to your campus last year looking for students with your major?
– Where did last year’s graduates (with your major) end up?
– Does your major almost require you to go on to Graduate School?
– Should you change your major?
– What minor would increase your chances for job hunting success?
– Should you consider a double major?
– What can you do to increase employer interest?

I’ve used the “music” major in the exercise below. However, students in every major should gather this information for their own field of interest.

1. Identify A Wide Variety Of Job Titles Closely Associated With The Music Business

To identify job titles, talk with Career Services, Professors, Other Students, Alumni, Interns, Musicians, Entertainers, Music Business Executives, Promoters, Agents, use the Library or do some Research On-line. Once you have a long list of typical jobs in the music business, you can narrow or select a direction that makes the most sense for you.

2. Identify and Evaluate Employers Within All Areas Of The Music Business

More research and networking is required to identify employers in your narrow area of interest. Once you have a long list of potential employers, those that hire students like you, you can evaluate them and eliminate those employers that don’t fit your needs.

At the same time, you should determine exactly what those employers need, want and expect of the students they hire. You’ll need to know, in order to get prepared.

3. Use Your Network To Identify Information And Contacts / People In The Music Business

Your network can help you identify the people and information you are seeking. Make a list of everyone you know and ask them about the people they know who are in any way connected with music or the music business. There are people in your network who have the information and contacts that you need.

4. List Your Personal or Professional Experience In The Music Business

What experience and exposure have you had within the music business? Have you held a music-related job? Do you play an instrument? Do you write music? Do you give guitar lessons? Do you have a band? Have you recorded a song? Have you sung in public? Have you worked at a radio station? Any music-related work experience is helpful.

5. With Regard To Music, What Do You Do Best? / Like The Most?

It’s important for you to understand yourself and your capabilities in the field of music. It is more likely that you will be successful when you are involved with things you do well and enjoy. Therefore, you should take a few minutes to determine what you do best and like most. Then, you should pursue jobs that enable you to take advantage of your strengths.

6. List Any Music Industry Skills, Abilities and Accomplishments

Take your own inventory. Make a list of your skills, abilities and accomplishments related to the field of music. This will help you recognize where you are today and also tell you what you should be working on to improve or expand your capabilities.

7. Can You Start Your Own Business?

Are your capabilities and experience such that you can start a business related to the music that you love? Not everyone works for somebody else. Many people are in business for themselves.

If you truly love the field that you have chosen and can’t picture yourself doing anything else, you will have to face those odds head-on and get prepared to fight for success. Since it is unlikely that employers will be falling all over themselves to hire music majors, there are actions to be taken and decisions to be made. This may mean that you become a business major in order to work in the music business as a promoter, an accountant, in sales, advertising, marketing or public relations. It may mean that you pursue an internship at a Radio Station, TV Station or Recording Studio. Or, it may mean that you finally start that jazz band that you’ve been dreaming about. Whatever you decide, the earlier you get started the better.