What Kind of Job Can I Get If My College Major Is…

This question is sometimes difficult to answer because colleges and the workforce do not always speak the same language. That is the bad news.

The good news is that you can translate between the CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) codes used by colleges and SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) codes used in the labor market.

Sometimes the translation is obvious—for example, B.S. in Electrical Engineering to Electrical Engineer. Other times it is more complicated. Consider a degree in Communications, which will not get you a job as a Communicator. So what will it get you?

Here is a web site with a useful crosswalk from college major to job title: http://www.onetonline.org/help/online/crosswalk. Simply plug in the name of your degree program, and you will get a list of occupational matches.

Unfortunately, you may find more matches than you expected. For example, the crosswalk lists more than 20 different types of communication degrees. So you will have to choose the one that makes the most sense to you.

Of course, in the world of the job seeker, we just crossed the street without looking where we are going. You would do better to look before you cross. What I mean is that you would really benefit from choosing your desired job (or at least the job family or industry cluster) first and then finding a degree program that will get you safely to your destination.

Image Source: Dogmadic, http://www.freeimages.com/photo/436457

2 thoughts on “What Kind of Job Can I Get If My College Major Is…

  1. SN

    I disagree with the statement that you would be better off choosing your desired job and then pursuing the degree relating to that field. That would be the most impractical thing to do as the nature of jobs change significantly in 4 years (assuming that is what it takes you to graduate from a college or university). For example if I were passionate about corporate communications and took a degree in that area, the technology has changed so drastically that there is no need for corporate communications anymore as they are all online these days. If I pursued a passion of helping customers solve their problems and wanted to specialize in that area, those jobs are all outsourced and not anymore here in my geography. Likewise there are so many jobs that are either being outsourced or replaced by technology.

    So then what do I pursue to make sure I am employed upon graduation? This is the million dollar question that we need to address for the youth out there in colleges. First, I need t shed any paradigm I have about how the economy works in terms of what fields are hot and what aren’t? Second, I should also understand that no particular job is going to be the best fit for me nor am I going to be the best fit for a particular job opening, It is not about me anymore, but about the customer I serve at the end of the day. Is he going to be happy and enthusiastic that I am there to assist and make a difference? I then ask myself how do I perform the following to maximize value to the customers I bring value for?

    a – Solve problems resulting in value to business and customer (Reduce Waste, Idling Time, Increase Sales)!
    b – Garner Interpersonal Skills to positively influence and bring about a sustainable change!
    c – Execute team work as leveraging with other Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will bring solutions faster!

    No particular degree is designed for this and any decent education at a college filled with internships that link to these three skills are more than sufficient for me to move forward and be employable in any economy as customers seek this at the end of the day. Of course I cannot expect to be an engineer if I specialized in accounting, however, in a company where engineers are there could be problems relating to contracts where my accounting skills can help solve some major problems and create some cool opportunities for the enterprise. I am hired now!

  2. Lee Koslow Post author

    Thanks for your comment, SN. I appreciate your concern about the labor market changing very quickly. You offer some good suggestions. For anyone who is concerned about the possibility that the job that they are preparing for may not be around (at least in the form that it is now) in four years, I recommend that they consult with a career counselor before deciding on a college major. The professionals who advise job seekers on career choice usually have a feel for the level of risk associated with various career alternatives.


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