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Focus on graduating, then worry about being unemployed

Photo of a girl giving the thumbs-up after graduating

Source: ralph and jenny / Flickr

I’m here to debunk what I see as some bullshit:

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce released a study today that reveals the unemployment rates and salaries for nearly every type of college major — and includes these numbers for recent grads, those with experience, and those with a graduate degree (via Washington Post).

Aimee Groth for Business Insider

For starters — nothing against Aimee Groth — the headline (“Seriously, If You Pick The Wrong Major Then Prepare To Be Unemployed”) is very SEO friendly and it made me click, but it’s also so duh that it could be posted at any time, during any economic cycle. Additionally, there will be boom and bust times for almost every major and industry, and just because you major in something that’s lucrative now doesn’t mean it’s still going to be that way throughout your career — just ask all the journalists who were expecting to retire sometime during the past five years.

Most of all, though, understand this: Employers only care about what you’ve done because it’s one of the only indicators of what you’ll do for them. Unless you’re a doctor, lawyer or engineer, no one in the real world gives a shit what your major was. Grades don’t even matter that much.*

Basically, if you’re in college, facing graduation and you want to avoid the unemployment line, do stuff. It’s incredibly tough to get a job in some industries right now, and if your only pitch is “I love my major, and I got a 3.8 grade point average in my major, and I want to change the world with my major,” you’re going to have a hard time. But if you can tell an employer about specific things you’ve done and how those things relate to the job you’re seeking, your major will just be the ticket that gets your resume on a recruiter’s desk.

Do more internships than necessary. Join a lot of extracurricular clubs. Meet people. Add value to yourself.

If you can do all that, you’ll be OK.

UPDATE: Slate has a nice little graphic showing just how much owning a college degree matters in a weak job market.

*Don’t be a dipshit, though — get good grades.

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