So you've graduated from college with your degree in Business. And after all of that hard work, logging in hours and hours of studying, test-taking, essay writing, and let's face it, wondering why you ever decided to go to college in the first place, and was it really worth it? You're left with one big question:
Well, that's where we come in. We have literally created a map, just for Business Majors such as yourself, to navigate your way through the choppy waters of recent graduation.
Feel free to focus on the map alone - it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer step by step navigation on your path, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:
- What skills you'll need
- How to begin, and
- What jobs you can expect to find as a Business Major
- Continuing education
- Quick tips for getting your first job
- External resources
First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.
1. Skills for Business Majors
You'll need to be a communication all-star if you're planning on majoring Business.
Specifically, that's written communication: inter-office memos, emails, faxes, you name it.
Spoken communication: even in the age of technology, you'll need to be able to articulate your points well over the phone and in person. Social Networking: a specific type of written communication, which is generally more informal; and Sales and Negotiations.
Sales and Negotiation go hand in hand—and if you feel a little less strong in sales, perhaps you'll be able to negotiate.
If you've gotten your communication skills down pat, next you need to be on your A Game with…
This includes how well you manage your time, manage your meetings, your use of effective systems to get work done faster and more consistently, your leadership skills, and of course, your personal productivity. That is, listening to when you're at your best—are you a morning person? An evening worker? Allow your strengths to be your strengths and go with it!
Business Majors need to be major planners. Your need to plan both strategically and financially. Finances are the number one reason most businesses tank. So have a strategy, and be a whiz with finances. You'll also need excellent project management skills, and a knack for planning for risks in the future.
Finally, if you're thinking about majoring in Business, or if you are and you're not sure which skills you'll need to carry with you into the workforce, note this big one: creativity.
Business majors will need a creative imagination, you'll need to be inventive, you'll need to be able to solve problems in new and unique ways. Brush up on your individual and group brainstorming skills, and maybe even play some brain games regularly to help get you in the habit of making innovative connections!
2. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting a Business Degree
Perhaps the most important thing you can do right now is putting yourself out there for some internships (though, hopefully you have one or two under your belt from your time in school. If not, don't fret! It's not too late.) Internships are an excellent way to get your foot in the door at a company you might want to continue a career with, or just in the field that you're interested in entering.
Here are some common types of internships for Business Majors:
Formal Corporate Internships
Here you'll likely learn things like accounting, finance, marketing, product research, etc. and work for a larger corporation.
Start-up or Small Company Internships
The good thing about working for a start-up or small business as an intern is that you will learn everything by the time you're finished. With so few employees and so much to do, it's likely that you'll be wearing a lot of hats—plus you'll get to make a big difference to their team!
Asset Management or Formal Banking Internships
Having a big name firm on your resume after you graduate is a guaranteed boost in your likelihood to get hired somewhere, and in fact if you snag an internship with a large firm or bank, you might just be able to continue with them after graduating and into your career.
Basic office jobs
These are perhaps the most common sorts of internships for business majors, and others as well.
Most any job or internship will help you develop your business skills for your future career! You just need to keep your eyes open for the lessons.
Before you settle on an Internship, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are your interests, values, and career goals?
- Where (in the state/the country/the world) do you want to work?
- What size and type of organization do you want to work for?
- Do you need compensation in an internship, or might you be able to consider alternative compensation (experience, work samples, references, networking, etc.)
- Is relocation an option?
3. Available Jobs
And now, the step you've probably been waiting for (but we assure you, mastering your skills and getting an internship first are invaluable)--getting a job.
With our map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information about each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.) But here, we wanted to call out some of the most common jobs for recent business major grads. Like you.
So here are some common, entry-level jobs for recent grads such as yourself:
Why Are Administrative Assistant and Customer Service Representative So Common?
The most common job for business majors is actually an administrative assistant. Why is that? We'll take a closer look.
It turns out that there are A LOT of business majors -- the most common major in the country a lot. About 20% of all graduates get a business degree.
Combine that with the fact that administrative assistants and customer service reps are one of the most common jobs for all recent college graduates and it's no surprise it tops the list here -- business majors follow the macro trend for college graduates.
But don't let that get you down. There are perks to these jobs, namely:
4. Continuing Education
Certificates and Credentials
As we mentioned in our analysis of administrative assistants, business majors are really common. To stand out from the crowd, look to subspecialize with either a certificate or credential.
For example, someone looking to become a business analyst could consider signing up for a business analyst certificate.
On the credential front, think about studying for something like a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA. Having the additional accounting skill will open up a large set of entry level jobs.
Think About Business School
Getting a Masters of Business Administration, more commonly known as a MBA, can be one of the single best returns on investments available to recent college graduates. However, you're going to need to get a top Business School to see really high long term increases in earnings , but even middle level programs will offer you some advantages.
Just try to avoid the bottom tier business schools as they can be a waste of time better spent with experience in a job. Remember, there's always an opportunity cost to not working.
5. Some Quick Tips For Getting Your First Job
Get Really Good At Answering The Basic Questions
There are interview questions that are very common in many of the positions you'll be interested in -- operations, sales, and finance.
It makes the whole interview process easier when you have detailed answers to these questions prepared.
Don't be afraid to practice these questions out loud with someone you trust.
Get Someone With Experience To Read Your Resume
Even if you don't have any direct work experience, you need to be able to communicate your ability to get tasks done through your resume.
Because many entry level job applicants only have internships, retail jobs, or summer gigs, they haven't had any "big achievements" to mention. You will stand out tremendously if you take initiative at these jobs in small ways and add it to your resume. Were you able to reduce time to fulfill orders? Did you take what you learned at your internship and start a side project?
Someone with experience will help think of ways to make it look like you got a lot out of the experiences. At the very least, they can make sure you format your resume appropriately.
6. External Resources
If you're still not sure what to do with your degree here are some external sites, to help you with your decision:
Enter "economics" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to economics majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.
Bureau Of Labor Statistics
The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.
In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.
And if this all seems like a lot – don't worry – the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.