Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Moving On: How to Find Work Outside Your Major

This is the second post in a series about moving on from different stages of job searching. Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it’s your best option. Waiting to hear back from a company? Leaving a job after several years? We’ll tell you how to put the past in the past and move on to a new stage in your professional career.

Having a change of heart post-college is not the worst thing in the world. You may be surprised to find out there are many transferable skills from one field of study to another. So even if you majored in history you can still get a job as a grant writer. When applying to a job outside of your major, remember there are skills that apply across majors. These skills include:


Defined as the ability to visualize, articulate, and solve both complex and uncomplicated problems and concepts, and make decisions that are based on available information, this skillset requires logical thinking to gather and analyze information.

Think back to the oral presentations you gave in college. In order to be successful, you relied on your ability to articulate an answer to a question and present it in a palatable way to your fellow classmates.

Social Intelligence:

To grasp social intelligence means to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments. Think back to group projects you were a part of in college. How did you delegate responsibilities? How did you manage group members who weren’t carrying their weight? Every major has group projects and every project provides an invaluable skillset.

Active Listening:

Active listening was a desired trait in 9 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs in 2012. To be a pro at active listening you need to give your full attention to what others are saying and take time formulate a thoughtful response. Chances are you’ve had practice doing this if you’ve ever worked in a group or watched a student give a presentation and had a post-presentation discussion.

What you majored in is not as important as how you can apply the skills you learned to the job you want. Consider these three skillsets and how you embody them, the next time you apply for a job.

What do you think are the most important skills a job seeker should have? Let us know in the comments below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by CLF

Ali Kelley

Ali is a freelance writer who blogs about nonprofits, tech and social media for Chicago startups, Zealous Good, Dabble, and Eventbrite. Since graduating college in 2009, she has learned a ton about job searching in a recession, and is excited to share her experiences. In addition to writing, Ali enjoys the finer things in life like pajamas that double as jeans.

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