skill vs major

“When I first start working with a college student, new or recent grad I ask his or her most dreaded question, ‘tell me about yourself’. Biology, engineering, accounting or sociology the answers are always the same,” says Jane. I’m a (fill-in the blank) major at such and such university. For employers, this response says nothing about what you bring to the position and the company. That’s because you are telling the employer about your college major not your skills. What’s the difference?

A college major is a group of courses required by a college in order to receive a degree –– an area you specialize in. Choosing your major is an important decision but for most, it does not determine your career or future. Biology majors become lawyers. Anthropology majors become talent acquisition specialists. That’s because they identified and then focused on their talents and skills.

A skill is something you are able to do and do well. Some skills are innate abilities or talents for example, having a beautiful singing voice. However, many skills are learned through your experience and yes, your major. The engineering major who gets a job offer at one of the most highly regarded business strategy consulting firm is hired because of the skills learned and developed through his major not because of his major.

More Than A Resumé works with college students when they are beginning to figure out what they want to do and what the value of their major is in the job market. Working with Jane your focus is on your innate abilities and talents, the knowledge-based skills acquired through your major and how these apply to careers and employers.

After working with Jane, you will know:

  • What makes you unique?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • How your behavior or actions are perceived by others?
  • Which career fields need what you offer? Narrowed down to those you want to pursue. (Match your abilities with careers, don’t simply match your major with careers.)
  • How to locate your broadest circle of prospective employers, then narrow it down to those you want to pursue. (Target for success, don’t comb job boards.)
  • Your value: What you offer better than other job candidates.
  • Tactical skills: Planning a job search, preparing for interviews, negotiating salary, and networking.