I am an International Student from Karachi, Pakistan, and I’m looking to graduate in three years – that is June 2017. I’m majoring in Russian and English with a minor in Philosophy, and I want to take advantage of the one year practical training opportunity that is offered to International Students. Ideally, I would like to work for the government in some capacity an internship with the Dept. of Justice, a senator, what have you, since in the future (after grad school), my plans are to join the foreign service in Pakistan. I was hoping you could give me some advice. Thanks
Circling the Globe
I encourage you to contact the career services office directly. Make an appointment to discuss your concerns and clarify your focus regarding the future. International students do have some “special” guidelines they must follow regarding “internships” and “post graduation practical training,” but the goals you state in your e-mail seem viable and wonderful.
While some professionals may have different views, I strongly encourage you not to wait until post-graduation practical training status to explore “academic internships,” as well as “non-academic internship options.” One will not be “counted” against your practical training period, but the other might. No matter the case, the more “internship experiences you have,” particularly in Washington D.C., the better. Some security issues may make it more difficult for you to work within US Departments or Agencies, but there are many, many other Non-Governmental Organizations and related settings. Use national internship directories like “The Internship Bible,” “America’s Top Internships” and “Peterson’s Guides Internships” to identify many exciting options. Call these potential sites and explore deadlines, actions required and, if any, special circumstances regarding international students. Also, contact your embassy in Washington 2315 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008 (202) 387-1980 FAX (202) 745-4933 for information regarding internships or post-graduation opportunities. This would be particularly valuable for someone who wishes to join the foreign service. You could begin now, building a challenging and rewarding career, by simply communicating directly with and offering to work as an intern for your embassy. The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce, 10th Floor Adamjee House, II Chundrigar Road, 92-21-222655, FAX 92-21-2412627 could provide some insight regarding Pakistani firms expanding to US markets and US firms expanding to Pakistani markets.
Careers in New Media
I have recently graduated from college gaining a 2.2 in BA Business Management and wish to pursue a career in marketing within the new media industry. I would be extremely grateful for any help you can offer. I look forward to hearing from you.
Searching in New Media
Dear Web Surfer,
Congratulations on your graduation. “Commencement” does truly mean a beginning. You are about to commence on an exciting career path. Remember, “a major doesn’t equal a job,” so you must define “marketing” by virtue of job titles and employment settings. The “new media industry,” can mean a great deal. I would need a bit of clarification to provide more focused advice, but I’ll give some general recommendations none-the-less. I often (but never too often) state “If you can describe a job, you can get that job” and “If you have met someone who has a job you would like, you can get a similar job.” Well, it seems as if you can do the first, but I’m not sure of the second. I encourage you to meet with at least four persons who are performing within media planning or media buying roles within advertising agencies or media sales roles in print, radio, television, or internet settings. Asking the same question regarding appropriate job search options which would be most prudent. Their answers may vary, yet they would highlight the most reality based options. Also ad agencies are moving very, very quickly to Internet activities and many are beginning to focus strategies and campaigns on marketing research, then advertising via the net. Of course, small web page development start-ups would be good places to gain some experience as an employee or freelancer. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it is the most effective career and job search strategy. Find persons to emulate or, ideally, to join. Offer to help with a project or two you would like some help with for the next three to six weeks.”
To find the “right job” you must seek out role models, mentors, and potential employers first. GO FOR IT!
I am considering a major in Athletic Training. Could you tell me some job options that would be open to me with this degree? Thank you for your help.
It seems you are gaining a sense of focus. That’s great. I am fond of saying “If you can describe a job, you can get that job” and “If you have met someone who has a job you would like, you can get a similar job.” I encourage you to meet with at least 4 persons who are performing athletic trainers, physical therapists, Emergency Medical Technicians, Occupational Therapists, Chiropractors, and Physicians. Identify these individuals by using the Yellow Pages, your school’s phone directory, an alumni advisory network, or professional association membership directories. Through “information conversations with these persons you will gain “information and inspiration” required of transforming job search focus into shadowing, externship, internship, and, ultimately job search successes. First, by asking question regarding the nature of their fields, personal advice regarding how to enter, and appropriate job search options you will gain a great deal. Their answers may vary, yet they would highlight the most reality based options. Once you have identified “role models,” and gained their advice, you can progress to the next level of “exploration by experience,” asking if you could “shadow” one or more of these individuals for one day a week for four weeks. Shadowing will allow you to learn by observation enable you to nurture and strengthen your relationship with the individual, or develop new relationships with others in his/her office. After, offer to help with “a project or two you would like some help with for the next 3-6 weeks.” This informal 3-six week experience is what I call an “externship.” It isn’t as formal as an internship, nor do you earn academic credit. Of course, I would strongly encourage you to explore formal internship opportunities offered by your school (or expand upon the externship option, extending your number of projects and length of commitment). If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it is the most effective career exploration and, ultimately, job search strategy.
Academic and career exploration continues into and well beyond Freshman and Sophomore years. Take a “one course or seminar at a time” strategy during your first three-six semesters. A course from one curriculum area, then another, and then another will allow you to see what “sticks” and what “turns you on.” More importantly, once you have identified “role models,” and gained their advice, you can use your sense of focus to build your portfolio of skills one course at a time and gain some sense of your “major” (noun, not adjective, because it isn’t as important as you might think) decision. Find persons to emulate or, ideally, to join in specific professions. Also, almost all colleges, universities and community colleges offer some form of “career counseling.” The ideal progression from your stage of interest to focus includes: self assessment (identification of Values, Interests, Personality , and Skills), Research (paper and pencil then people to people research pertaining career fields and job functions); Exploration by Experience (information conversations, shadowing, externships and internships), then Job Search, Undergraduate or Graduate Study. Progression through these four stages, facilitated by workshops, individual counseling, or group activities can be achieved through various experiences. Examine which are readily accessible to you.
Athletic training is a wonderful area, which allows for many “spin-off” options. Explore them. Feel good about your choice. Remain ever curious. GO FOR IT!
How a Criminal Record Could Affect Your FBI Candidacy
Hello, I am a sophomore in college. I am currently a criminal justice major. I hope to work for the FBI; however, I have a Minor in Possession on my criminal record and would like to know if this would restrict me from a job down the road. Is working for the FBI possible and if so what path should I follow?
Dear Agent Scully,
In a previous Ask the Genie, a real FBI agent gives his advice regarding the path into the Bureau. He suggests attending college and then obtaining a graduate degree in law or accounting or working in another useful field. You should contact a nearby FBI field office for more information. You should also spend time at the FBI web site which will also provide you with information regarding employment opportunities.
However, I must advise you that the FBI does treat job candidates who have a criminal record with hesitancy. You will be automatically disqualified for use of marijuana in the past three years, use of any other drug in the past ten years, and for the sale of any drug-ever. You should definitely speak with someone at the FBI to find out if and how your record will affect you. If you are eliminated from the FBI selection pool, remember that other careers in criminal justice and law enforcement do exist in fields such as police, customs, and criminal investigation. The career counselors at your university will be a source of information to aid you in mapping out your career path. Also see the LawCrossing.com and LawEnforcementCrossing.com for more information about careers in law and law enforcement.
Careers in Mathematics
Hello, I am a junior who is about to fulfill his requirements for a BA in mathematics. How do I find a career in the field of math given that I am not affiliated with the education program here? My main strengths are my ability to remember statistics and to use numbers in various ways. I could become a statistician of some sort, but I do not know how to start this process.
There are numerous professions that incorporate statistics, analysis, and prediction through the use of numbers in areas such as demographics, biometrics, applied statistics, internal auditing, meteorology, seismology, budget analysis, and research. The industries vary from investment banks to universities to engineering firms to government agencies. In order to determine which field you want to pursue, you should visit your campus’ career center. Not only will it have list of jobs that are suitable for math majors, but the office also comes equipped with career counselors who are there to help you choose a career path. They can also aid in the development of a plan that will help you to attain the job you desire. Granted.com also provides a list of the various professions that involve math such as a cryptanalyst or a product statistician. You should also check out the American Mathematical Society’s website for information about the professional services to the community provided by those in the field of mathematics and to find out what is new in the math world.
To find specific job listings, review Granted.com. Finally, keep in mind that the further you move in your field the more experience and education you will need. In statistics or demographics, for example, you should consider a minor field for specialization, such as public health or agriculture, that will provide you with an area of expertise in which you can apply your mathematical skills. Often you will need a graduate degree in mathematics or statistics in order to guarantee the possibility for upward mobility in your particular field.
Job Outlook for Meteorology
What are the job prospects like in the field of meteorology?
The good news is you can expect modest job growth in the private sector for meteorologists. These industries include farming, commodities investing, utilities, transportation, construction, radio and television. Also, there should be job growth for meteorologists who analyze and monitor air pollutants in compliance with Federal environmental regulations.
The bad news is because the government is one of the top employers of meteorologists, and because the National Weather Service has reduced hiring due to technological progress and the need for fewer employees, growth in the government sector is expected to be less than the average of all occupations.
For more information, visit the American Meterological Society.
Careers in Genetics
What career fields are there in genetics and what are the starting positions and wages?
Starting positions in genetics are in the field of research and the career path is lengthy. After majoring in biology or genetics in college, you should enter a doctoral program in genetics. The Ph.D. program consists of advanced genetics courses, a research project, and then two to four years of original research. Following two to four more years of postdoctoral research, you are qualified to join universities, research centers, or biotechnology associations. Starting salaries in research range from $35,000 to $60,000 per year depending upon how much related experience you have to the project. However, that salary has the potential to increase substantially as you gain experience and move into research centers or other professions in genetics. After the completion of your initial research projects, the major careers that you are qualified for are genetic counseling, laboratory genetics, and clinical genetics.
Genetic counselors must have a M.S. rather than a Ph.D. and need experience in both counseling and medical genetics. They function as part of a team that provides information and support to families of people with genetic disorders or birth defects and to people who may be in danger of having one of many genetic conditions. Counselors—who come from a multitude of fields such as biology, psychology, and nursing—pinpoint at-risk families, investigate the disorder, evaluate and interpret the information about the condition, and discuss options with the individual or family. Check out the National Society of Generic Counselors for more information.
Laboratory geneticists apply genetic technology to a variety of areas including agriculture, forensics, and medicine. These geneticists are experts in fields such as molecular biology, cytogenetics, and biochemical genetics. Lab directors need a background in laboratory medicine as well. For more information take a look at the Association of Genetic Technologists website.
Clinical geneticists usually have an M.D. and have served a residency in pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, or internal medicine. Their education concludes with a fellowship in clinical genetics. The individual can then work in research institutes, hospitals, or medical centers.
For more information, stop by the career center at your university and contact the Genetics Society of America and for a copy of the Scientific Journal of Genetics. Also see a compilation of genetic professional societies which includes the contact information for each listing.
Breaking into Financial Services
Do you have any advice about breaking into the financial services industry? Do I have to move to New York first? Do I need an MBA?
The Future Mr. Gecko
Yes, no and no. Most of the big Wall Street firms hire people in two waves: right out of college as analysts and right out of business school as associates. There are exceptions to these situations—people with specialized and/or technical knowledge, for example—but for the most part, you either enter the field as part of a two-year analyst training program (after which you would return to school for your MBA before returning to the industry as an associate), or you enter after completing your MBA as an associate, and participate in a three-month training course before beginning your real work.
The good news is, though competitive, getting a job in financial services is fairly straightforward. If you’re still in school, you should participate actively in on-campus recruiting, and sign up for interviews with as many banks as possible. On-campus recruiting should be supplemented with smart networking. Make a list of everyone you know in the industry and everyone you know who knows someone in the industry. Check with your school’s career services office for alumni contacts who work on Wall Street. Go to all the open houses, introduce yourself to the firms’ representatives, and make sure you walk away with business cards so you can follow up with a note saying, “We met at the open house last Thursday, and …” If you’re out of school, you’ll have to rely much more heavily on networking, but in school or out, it’s important to develop contacts at the firms where you want to work and touch base with those people on a regular basis so they grow to like you and will vouch for you when your name comes up at the hiring committee meeting.
How can I find out how much an entry-level position in human resources earns?
There’s an organization called NACE the National Association of Colleges and Employers, that conducts entry-level salary surveys every year.
Working for the FBI
I am interested in pursuing a career as an FBI agent. What should I major in when I go to college to meet the requirements for being an FBI agent? What colleges are known for having great success in this area of study?
The FBI has a Web site that provides recruiting and other employment information. I suggest you spend some time perusing the site. In addition, I asked a friend who is an FBI agent to address your concerns. Here’s what he had to say:
“The college attended is less important than the success of the student there. Someone who wants to join the Bureau should get the best available education and focus on doing something he/she enjoys. Enjoyment leads to success.
“Common majors are finance, political science (or government), pre-law, economics, or foreign languages. There are also computer scientists, biologists, physics majors, and others. The FBI needs people from all walks of life and with all types of education.
“After college, the candidate should pursue a graduate degree in law or accounting, or work for a few years in a field that the Bureau will consider useful. The FBI’s needs are always changing, so there is no way to predict what field will be “hot” when any particular candidate applies.
“The FBI is always looking for people who speak a foreign language. Lawyers and CPAs are almost always needed. Police officers are often hired. Prior military experience can be helpful, if the candidate possesses the requisite education.
“I suggest contacting the nearest FBI Field Office for information on the formal requirements. That can help a prospective candidate decide what to do.
“Lastly, live a good life. That is, be truthful, diligent, forthright, and excellent in all aspects of life. The FBI looks at the candidate’s life very closely. WHO you are is just as important as what you have learned.”
Career Stagnation and Depression
I have been in school since the midpoint of the Bush administration, and I still don’t have a clue what I want to do with the rest of my life. At first, I wanted to go to medical school, then dental school, and latest of all chiropractic school. The longer I stay in school, the lower my GPA gets. It’s now 2.0. In my own mind, I still have ambition, but am losing hope. I’m currently a chemistry major, with 30 hours to graduation. Maybe you could suggest some field of interest or occupation. Please help.
From the tone of your letter, I can hear that after six years of academic work and hard soul searching you are becoming depressed and overwhelmed. What I am about to say may surprise you: I don’t think you have enough information to decide what to do with the rest of your life. Don’t worry—I’m NOT suggesting you try another major or degree. But you must understand that very few college students know what they want to do for the next two years, let alone the rest of their lives. And most people who think they know what they want to do end up doing something different. So if you’re waiting for that lightening bolt to hit you on the head with your life’s mission, STOP. Instead, ask yourself what you’d like to do for the next 1-2 years. After you’ve had some work experience you’ll be better equipped to decide where you want to focus your efforts over the long term.
Most people change careers several times in their 20’s—and even throughout their working lives. I know this from personal experience: after college graduation I spent 3 years as an opera singer. Then I was a book editor for a couple of years. Then I got my MBA. Now I work for an Internet career publication. When I graduated from college I knew I loved books and music, but I never could have predicted my career would follow this path. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: careers that chart a serpentine course may be more challenging, but they can also be more interesting than forty years in the same profession.
And don’t feel as though you have to make your decisions alone. In addition to sympathetic friends and families, you should seek professional counseling. The office of career services at your school has trained career counselors who are ready, eager and qualified to help you. And don’t hesitate to talk with a psychologist about your depression (your school’s health services should be able to refer you to someone). You may be feeling stuck right now, but I promise you it’s all in your head. The opportunities are out there and you will soon have a college degree under your belt. Also, don’t worry too much about your grades. Yes, it would be better to have a higher GPA, but plenty of people with lousy grades get excellent jobs—it just may take a little longer.
Any suggestions for good free internet placement testing sites (such testing as Meyers-Briggs, etc.) so I can get a handle on what I might be best suited to pursue for a career?
Testing, One, Two, Three
Most high quality personality and skills assessment tests are only available for a fee and must be administered by a qualified professional. However, there is a site on the Web with free personality tests that is worth recommending. The Keirsey Temperment Sorter is a personality test that scores results according to the Myer’s Briggs system. Finally, the career advice on Granted will help you define your marketable skills and identify suitable professions based on your major and interests.
Careers in Cemetery Management
I am researching careers. Can you tell me how I might find information on working as a cemetery manager or director?
There is an excellent Web site devoted to this field called FuneralHomeCrossing.com.
Combining Chemistry and Art
Are there any careers that combine chemistry and art?
Leonardo da Vinci
Of course! Here are some of your choices:
- Illustrator of medical and scientific textbooks
- Scientific Photographer
- Restorer of paintings, documents, prints, drawings, photographs
- Art Conservator (see http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/aic/ for more information)
Finding Your True Calling
Boy do I need you. I’m about to graduate in December from an excellent university. I finally figured out what I want to do long term (well okay, long term-ish, I’m pretty sure it’s a good working model)—a professor of Anthropology—but I need to take a few years off to find out what it is about anthropology I want to research in graduate school. Any suggestions? In addition, my dad is trying to help me network my way onto Wall Street, which is a viable option except for the fact that my heart isn’t in it, and I’ve learned early on that “Yeah, yeah, I know so-and-so . . . we can definitely get you a job” means squat. Any words of wisdom?
Which Way To Go
First things first. Congratulations! You think you know what you want to do with your life! You’ve got a leg up on a lot of people coming out of school. You also seem to have a plan, and a viable one at that. Now all you need to do is to draw some of the more practical elements into your very reasonable blueprint. Just be sure you don’t draw premature conclusions.
At this point, it seems that your interests are broad enough that you shouldn’t turn your back on any opportunity to meet with people. I agree that you should not march into a job that you know you won’t have your heart in. However, are you sure it isn’t a bit early to have come to that conclusion? Don’t shut a door that’s been opened for you without some exploration. Certainly there is more than one type of job on Wall Street, so isn’t it worth a conversation to find out how someone like you might be able to use your skills, interests and strengths in that environment?
That does not mean applying for or taking a job that you are not suited for, but it does mean taking advantage of your network to discover what your options there might be, even in some possibly unlikely places. If in fact no good opportunity exists there for you, you will have at least learned more about a business with which you were unfamiliar, you will have made an informed decision, and you will have established a relationship with someone who might just know where a good opportunity for you does exist. Plus, you won’t alienate your dad, who is trying to help you. If an opportunity does exist there, you come out the wiser and have gotten yourself a job lead, or perhaps even a job that will support you both financially and intellectually.
The point is, you need to have some conversations and gather some information. Networking will be a crucial part of your professional life in any field. Of course, nobody can actually get you the job, but others can be instrumental in opening important doors so you can go in and get it yourself. Every introduction, every foot in the door, every professional conversation will bring you that much closer to achieving your goal.
Now let’s discuss anthropology. There are many ways you can use your undergraduate degree to help you work towards your longer term goals. Let’s examine some of the skills you’ve probably acquired as an anthropology major and consider how you might apply them in the business world and, insodoing, prepare yourself for your graduate work.
- As an anthropologist, you have learned a good deal about understanding diverse cultures, customs and belief systems.
- Your background has improved your ability to work with diverse people and under varied conditions.
- Your training has given you the tools to communicate with different populations and to develop appropriate approaches to reaching different communities.
- Anthropologists often have excellent language skills, since they need to be able to communication with different populations and communities, so you are likely to be skilled at interpreting and translating.
- Chances are, you are quite competent at compiling, organizing and interpreting data, as well as conducting statistical analysis, since these skills are necessary in conducting population research.
- You’re also probably technologically competent, because you need to make use of scientific and computer equipment to analyze your data.
With these things in mind, make a list of all of your other professional skills and experiences and note what you liked and disliked about each of them. Try to think broadly about how you can apply your skills and in what venues. For example, understanding cultural dynamics and social systems can be useful in creating marketing strategies, developing public relations, working in politics, developing team strategies and work strategies. Your skills can be applied to various types of disciplines, from academic work to social services, business, government work, and urban planning.
In order to determine which of these environments you would find most fulfilling, you should conduct some informational interviews and talk to as many people as you can. From there, you can begin your search for a satisfying work environment that will enable you to hone your skills, learn new ones and maximize your talents. That means doing company research. From that point, it’s resumes, cover letters, and interviews. I am certain that with this type of preparation, you will find an organization in which you will thrive and will gain the necessary experience to bring you closer to your longer-term goals. As for your graduate research, I encourage you to keep an open mind and your eyes open. Perhaps through your work experience, your future research topic will find you.
Preparing to Work Abroad
At present, I am an undergraduate student at Imperial College, London University. I will complete my degree at the end of this academic year with a Masters Degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering with Management. I hold a green card for the United States of America and am planning to go and work there as soon as I finish my degree. I have not applied for employment in the US as of yet. My plan is to go there and then apply for jobs. Is this approach advisable?
I would like to know what academic information I should bring with me to the US for employment purposes. Is a university degree from England recognized in the USA? What are the equivalent standards? Who should I get references from? What information would employers be looking for from a person of my background?
Dear Green Card,
Since you already have a green card, you’ve eliminated quite a big obstacle to your plan. Without the need to search for a company to sponsor you or help you obtain working papers, you can begin to focus on your job search in earnest. Obviously, this puts you at an advantage among non-American citizens looking for employment in the United States. However, you may find yourself at a disadvantage within the pool of US candidates, since you are less likely to have as many American business contacts to get your foot in the door. Therefore, the first step for you will be to concentrate on networking.
Gathering Information and Networking. There are a number of available sources that will help you start gathering information in the UK. Keeping in mind that you may find it beneficial to come to the States to conduct the main part of your job search, here are some suggestions on gathering as much information as you can and establishing contacts before you relocate.
Read American newspapers and classifieds. Start reading the major newspapers from US cities, which you should be able to find at any big newsstand. Some examples include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe. These and many other papers are also available online. Pay close attention to business articles that cover your field and trends in the industry. Keep track of names of companies and executives at firms in your industry and keep a file on companies that interest you. Read the classifieds to get a sense of what employers are looking for, what positions you are qualified for, and what companies are currently hiring and where they are located.
Start your networking at home. Tell everyone you know about your plans. Talk to your professors, colleagues and friends. Ask them if they have any suggestions for you, if they know anyone you can contact in the US and if you can use their names for an introduction. You never know who might hold the key to that important person to contact overseas—unless you ask. You should also sort out your references now. Give this decision careful consideration and ask the right people. You should feel confident that those you ask for recommendations will serve as good references.
Join a professional society. If you are unable to drum up contacts in the States through your existing personal connections, membership in a professional society can be a great way to get informed and get connected. Membership can help put you in contact with people in your field who do have those connections, many of whom would be happy to share information that can help you start making informed decisions about relocating for business. Membership fees are generally pretty reasonable and the benefits are usually well worth the cost. They usually include a yearly subscription to a professional newsletter, offer information on the economic and employment climate in your industry, tell you where the jobs are, provide announcement of positions, keep you up-to-date on what’s hot and what’s not in the industry, and provide you with opportunities to participate in industry conferences. You may hear about unlisted opportunities, get useful advice on what city is best suited to your needs, or even gain access to that crucial person who is looking to hire someone like you.
A couple of possible organizations for you to consider are The Institute for Electrical Engineers (IEE) in London and The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which is an international society.
What To Bring with You. Once you feel a little more focused and prepared to make the trip, gather all your pertinent papers. It can be a real hassle to get official documents from overseas. Obviously, you will need to bring your passport, travel visas and your green card, but you will also need to bring the following:
At least one official copy of your university transcript. Many companies will want verification of your academic record. Most companies review your academic and professional credentials on their own, but in case it becomes an issue, it is helpful to have your transcript and to know that there is an agency in Washington, DC that evaluates foreign diplomas.
Letters of reference, if possible. Chances are, your prospective employer will want to speak with your references personally, but it is important to be prepared and have letters on file in case they are requested.
Some Other Useful Tips. Lastly, here are a few useful things to know about working as an electrical engineer in the United States.
According to one IEEE official, the current hot topics in electrical engineering are in telecommunications and software. Not-so-hot topics include defense and utilities work.
One hot location appears to be the Bay area in California, and business is steadily picking up in Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Just keep in mind that in DC the job market consists largely of defense positions, many of which require citizenship and/or clearance.
Making Those “Major” Work Decisions I
I am a graduating senior at the University of Southern Indiana. My major is in Political Science with a minor is Sociology. I have a good GPA (3.7) and numerous activities, awards, etc. However, I find that there are no job fields for Political Science majors. I understand that a Political Science major is usually just a stepping stone for law school, but I am not interested in that at this time. Do you have any suggestions on what types of companies would be interested in a college graduate like myself?
Last time I checked, there was no contract obliging Political Science majors to go on to law school. Believe it or not, there are many organizations in both the private and public sector eager to hire someone with your background. And with your solid academic record and proven accomplishments, you are certain to get the chance to put your skills, dedication and enthusiasm to work.
As for finding the suitable venue, you need to spend some time identifying your skills and interests. What drew you to studying political science in the first place? What do you like best about it and in what areas do you excel? Have your summer jobs and internships been in a related field? How do your activities and the awards you received relate to your academic experience? Is there a specific issue or set of issues that compels you? Does it revolve around a certain community, societal issue, market, and is it in the local, domestic or international arena? Are you interested in education, advocacy, policy making, political analysis, direct service, marketing, economic development, public service, conflict resolution? Your answers to these questions may help you determine what industry to enter and whether you prefer or are better suited to a job in the public or private sector.
If you would like to apply your skills and knowledge more broadly in a business setting, don’t underestimate the strength of your experiences and the number of transferable skills you have accumulated (as a writer, critical thinker, analyzer of statistics, deadline maker, political campaign volunteer, or what have you.) Also, think about the broader applications of the skills you developed through your studies. For instance, as a political science major, you have spent considerable time studying various social systems and analyzing their power structures. I assume you have developed tools to identify the driving components that make up these systems and to critically examine the factors that cause them to thrive or fail. In addition, I assume that your ability to analyze these developments based on social, political, and economic criteria, has been enhanced by your minor in sociology, which has enabled you to examine the human behavioral criteria that effect these systems, as well. These analytical and critical skills are essential in business planning and management and are highly applicable in most venues. Put that way, what organization or company could not benefit from your skills?
Depending on your specific interests, you will be able to tailor your résumé, cover letters and interview responses to each potential employment situation.
Here is a list of some industries that staff people with your background:
- policy making
- public service
- economic development
- international affairs
- public affairs
- public relations
Here is a list of some job positions for people with your kind of background:
- news reporter, writer, producer (both print and broadcast media)
- political correspondent
- political lobbyist
- advocate (political, environmental, social, ethnic, rights protection, all other special interests…)
- social worker
- policy maker
- legislative assistant
- public servant
- political campaign manager
- urban planner
- market researcher
- conflict resolution specialist
- business management analyst
For more brainstorming, visit Granted.com’s career advice section to explore career options based on your major and other interests.
Making Those “Major” Work Decisions II
I am a recent graduate in elementary education and reside in Oregon. The job market for teachers in this state is extremely competitive. I graduated a couple of years ago and am becoming very frustrated in finding a teaching job. I am currently substitute teaching, but am getting burnt out. Should I continue in my career choice or try to find something else?
Trying To Teach
The following is a response from guest columnist and educational expert, Noah Salzman:
First off, becoming bilingual or proficient in math/science or additional coursework in special education should help. Moving to California or a big city with urban schools might also be a way to get in the door. The bottom line is this: are you teaching to live or do you live to teach? If you live to teach then hang in there, your commitment will be noticed. If you are just doing it to pay the rent, you’re in the wrong profession to begin with.Finding Your True Calling, Careers in Genetics, and More Career Choice Questions Answered by Harrison Barnes