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Careers are Defined by Skills and Experiences, Not College Majors.

Career paths are not linear. One sign pointing in many different directions
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by Jobtrees Team

You can pave your own career path. Employers look for candidates who have a range of employable skills and there are many ways you can develop your skills sets for a new career without having to go back to college and obtain a different degree. Developing a range of skills and experiences can help you stand out in the job market and be successful in any career you choose. 


Careers are Defined by Skills and Experiences, Not College Majors. 


Your career is not defined by your college major.  

Many people pursue careers that are not directly related to their major. For example, someone with a degree in psychology may go on to work in business or marketing, while someone with a degree in English may go on to work in technology or law. While your major can certainly provide you with valuable skills and knowledge related to your field of study, it does not limit your career options. 

In fact, many employers are more interested in the skills and experiences you bring to the table than in the specific college major you studied.. Soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork are highly valued by employers, and can be developed with any major in college through a variety of experiences, such as internships, volunteer work, or leadership positions.

That being said, some careers do require specific majors or educational backgrounds. For example, if you want to become a doctor or a lawyer, you will need to have a specific educational background and training. However, even within these fields, there may be room for flexibility in terms of your undergraduate major or the path you take to get there.

While your major can certainly provide you with valuable skills and knowledge, it does not define your career options. 


Career paths are not linear tracks data on real career paths and we can tell you that career paths are not linear and it's been this way for a while. Although changing careers is not a new trend, there is an increasing rate of professionals making large career changes. According to CNBC, 49% of people said they have made a dramatic career shift. The number of millennials who have made a career change at least once is much larger than older generations. Look up career paths here.

So if we are not locked into a set career path based on our current job title or major in college, what does shape our career? Ultimately, your career will be shaped by a combination of your skills, experiences, interests, and opportunities. 

Consider the skills you are strong in and look up careers that have similar skills sets.  (You may want to consider a skills based resume if you are changing careers or do not have a lot of related work experience.) There are several resume help sites  that can help you quickly build a skills based resume with the help of AI. 


The top 8 employable skills that employers look for in job candidates:

  • Communication skills: The ability to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders is essential in most industries. This includes written and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to listen actively and provide constructive feedback.

  • Problem-solving skills: Employers want employees who can identify problems, analyze data, and develop effective solutions. This requires critical thinking skills, creativity, and the ability to work well under pressure.

  • Teamwork and collaboration: Most jobs require some level of collaboration and teamwork, so employers look for candidates who can work effectively with others. This includes the ability to build relationships, manage conflict, and contribute to a positive team dynamic.

  • Adaptability and flexibility: In today's fast-paced and ever-changing work environment, employers value employees who can adapt to new situations and take on new challenges. This requires a willingness to learn, a growth mindset, and the ability to be flexible and adaptable.

  • Leadership and management skills: Even if you are not applying for a management position, many employers value leadership skills in their employees. This includes the ability to motivate others, manage projects, and take initiative.

  • Technical skills: Many jobs require specific technical skills, such as proficiency with software programs, coding languages, or equipment. Employers often look for candidates who have the technical skills needed to do the job.

  • Customer service skills: For jobs that involve interacting with clients or customers, employers look for candidates who have strong customer service skills. This includes the ability to listen to and understand customer needs, as well as the ability to handle difficult situations.

  • Time management and organization: Employers value employees who can manage their time effectively and stay organized. This includes the ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and work efficiently.


7 ways to gain experience in a new career field:

  • Internships: Internships are a great way to gain hands-on experience in a new field while working alongside professionals. Internships can be paid or unpaid and are typically short-term positions that offer training and mentoring.

  • Volunteer work: Volunteering can provide you with valuable experience and networking opportunities. Look for volunteer opportunities related to your new career field, such as volunteering at a nonprofit organization, hospital or community center.

  • Freelancing: Freelancing is a great way to gain experience in a new field while also building your portfolio. Consider offering your services at a discounted rate or for free to gain experience and build your reputation. Find freelancing jobs.

  • Networking: Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with people who work in the field you're interested in. Networking can provide you with valuable information about the field, job openings, and potential mentors. List ot top networking sites

  • Online courses: Online courses and training programs can help you learn the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your new career field. List of sites offering online training courses 

  • Side projects: Consider taking on side projects related to your new career field. For example, if you're interested in becoming a web developer, you could create a website for a friend's small business or develop an app on your own. Find part time jobs.

  • Shadowing: Shadowing professional in your new career field can provide you with valuable insights into the day to day tasks and responsibilites of the job. Reach out to professionals in your network and ask if they would be wiling to let you shadow them for a day or two.  Here are some questions to ask them while there: