Major and Career: Do They Really Have to Be Related?

By Paul Van Peursem, Career Services Ambassador 

It’s that time of year again – classes are being posted and most of us try to find that optimal schedule. Why? So you can complete your major. Why? To open doors for jobs A, B or C.  Sometimes it seems like we are stuck to a major based on the excuse: “I want to get a job in…” Or, maybe you chose the oddball major and now are doomed to never be employed. Don’t be so quick to assume your education must pigeonhole you into one career trajectory. Because of our liberal arts setting the strong analytical skills are a given, but we have to be creative and use our smarts to build our professional “toolkits.” Even though each major provides its own specific skills that may boost a resume, it’s not impossible for you to get that unconventional job.

  1. Show interest – Employers are looking to see that you are passionate about the work they do at their firm. So even if you can’t take relevant courses, look for clubs or organizations, on campus and in the area, that are related to your field of interest. If you’re interested in social work – join the International Justice Mission or go volunteer at Ada Jenkins.
  2. Get technical – Some jobs prefer certain technical skills (think Excel or statistical software).  Try to find internships – no matter in what industry – where you can gain such skills. Or try to use them in your papers or research. Although you can say that you’re smart enough to learn these skills on the job, having prior experience can make you a much more attractive candidate.

“Although you can say that you’re smart enough to learn these skills on the job, having prior experience can make you a much more attractive candidate.”

  1. Network – Get advice and suggestions from Alumni or parents. Chances are there is a Davidson alum in your field of interest who graduated with an out-of-the-ordinary major. Come into Career Services to find out about Alenda Links!
  2. Utilize Minors & Concentrations – If your major and career interests are very different, consider choosing a minor or concentration in your field of career interest. This way you can major in something like Anthropology, but use an economics minor to get your foot ‘in the door’ at consulting firms.

Never consider your major a roadblock to any career. As long as you put forth the effort, employers will notice you – and that’s the first step to getting hired!


What is a Right Davidson Major for Admission to Law School?

Short Answer: Any major at Davidson.  The American Bar Association Guide on Preparing for Law School
 encourages students to, “pursue an area of study that interests and challenges you, while taking advantage of opportunities to develop your research and writing skills. Taking a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for legal education.”  So, for our first and second year students considering law school, choose a major that matches your academic interests and challenges you!