Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Ways to put your degree to use

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | May 26, 2017 2:02 AM

After you graduate college, it can be hard to find work that relates to your degree in this economy. Many people can feel discouraged after finishing school only to find that there are no jobs available in their field, or they are going to people with more experience and education. Your university career was stellar and you'd like to be able to use your degree to find work, but so far you haven't had much luck. There are other ways to ensure you are able to use your degree in the workplace. 

1. Think Outside the Box 

There often seems to be a clear path from university study to career, but this isn't always the case. These days, being creative about your job search is important. For example, many companies are interested in people with a variety of skills. You can show your proficiency in these by detailing how you learned them at university. For example, if you were a history student, you can highlight your ability to do research. This skill is very useful to companies in need of someone who has been trained to study, compare and contrast different outcomes. If you consider all the abilities you now have because of your degree, there's a good chance you can fit them to the job specifications at the companies you are applying to. Even if they do not ask for your particular specialty directly, many of the skills you were taught at university will come in handy for these job applications. 

2. Writing 

Writing is another method for earning money related to your degree. This will also be self-employment, much like tutoring or consultancy. It may seem hard to find clients but there are tons of freelance writing sites to help with this that provide a consistent stream of article writing opportunities. It's more difficult to earn a living writing, but over time you can build up a decent client list and you'll find satisfaction in writing about your specialty subjects. 

3. English Teaching 

If you've always wanted to see the world and make decent money while doing so, English teaching is a fantastic option. Any degree is welcome, along with a short training course in TEFL or CELTA, and you're well on your way to experiencing the world. The money can be extremely lucrative in some places, where you're offered housing and transportation. Some places don't pay as much but the region is less expensive and the experience of teaching abroad is always an exciting one. Many people end up making and saving thousands of dollars by pursuing this path after graduation. If you have a traveler's heart, this is an amazing opportunity. 

4. Tutoring 

Tutoring in your field is one of the best ways to work directly in your area of interest. You can make your own rates and your own schedule, so it is ideal for people who are looking to do other things with their time. There are many types of tutoring jobs available. If you also go into consultancy, this can be an incredibly lucrative option. Tutoring and consultancy are both career tracks where you are taking responsibility for the outcome because you will be self-employed. 

5. Volunteer 

One of the problems for students just coming out of school is that they may have the education but they don't have the experience. Volunteering for a company where you can get some hands-on experience will go a long way to making you more employable in the long run. Businesses want to know they are hiring someone with expertise as well as knowledge. 

Regardless of where you are on your career path, don't despair of ever putting your degree to use. Despite the difficult economy, there are many creative ways around the issue of being unable to find work in your field. Sometimes it's up to us to make those opportunities happen for ourselves, and this is no more true than when it comes to your career. If you are dedicated to working in your field, you'll find a way to make it work.

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