Thursday, July 9, 2009

Class of 2010

Know someone who's graduating next spring? Or any time within the next 6 years? Then you should have them read our newest book You Majored in What? mapping your path from chaos to career by Katharine Brooks. Her overall message is a good one: don't let your college degree confine you to a box for the rest of your life. Speaking as someone who did a 180° from my original degree (zoology) to my current profession (librarian), I can tell you that a diploma can be considered a stepping-stone.
Brooks has some really good advice for people beginning their career paths, and she debunks some common myths: most people have a job directly related to their college major; your earning power depends entirely on your degree, not your skills or location; employers will only accept degrees directly related to their field. She urges readers to brainstorm careers of interest, to reflect back on their past successes and weaknesses, and to be more creative in describing their skills and education (no, not lie about what you can do, but be able to explain to an employer how your science degree makes you a good problem-solver, or how your English degree makes you a good communicator).
She also has advice about applying yourself at college - actually attending class is her #2 suggestion, and a darn good one - and using your extracurricular interests to hone your skills and experiences, and to serve as a base for networking.
There is a lot of motivation-speak in this book (which is irritating if you're over 40), and a lot of workbook exercises (which are overwhelming if you're under 18), but overall the information is helpful and very timely in this shifting economic climate. 'Be prepared' and 'be creative' are pretty good mottos to live by.

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