Last Updated: Oct 23, 2012
When selecting a college major, it’s tough to follow your heart these days—that is, unless your heart happens to be in one of the select fields seeing growth in this economy, like petroleum engineering. However, if your calling is in a major with average (or below-average) job opportunities, you’ve likely battled many adversaries—parents, counselors, etc.—to stand by your dream of studying history, English, women’s studies, or industries still struggling after the market collapsed in 2008. Alas, the state of the economy doesn’t change your talent for ceramics or passion for Eastern studies or desire to become a music instructor. What is a prospective student to do?
Enter the business minor. Most students entering these competitive fields—particularly those within the liberal arts—should get a minor simply to round out their résumé before graduation. I myself took a range of business classes to add to my degree. So what does a business minor tell future employees?
You know how a company works
If I only had my journalism major and English minor after college, potential employers would say, “Great, she can write.” Throw in some business classes? “Great, she can write and she understands the workings of a company.” Though I spend my time writing and assisting with various online communications, I understand how my time and ability—and other aspects in my day-to-day responsibilities—is factored into the company’s overhead. There is no field you can enter without requiring some knowledge of running a business. For example, are you going into art? You need to know how much of your time and supplies that painting took. No matter what degree you earn, a little knowledge on topics like accounting, management, or business ethics can’t hurt.
You have added abilities
Let’s bring the focus back to your major. If you’re hard-pressed to find a job in your major field, a business minor opens doors to a range of options at companies or organizations. Sure, if your degree is in creative writing, you likely don’t want to be stuck in a cubicle hammering out redundant corporate diction. But you have to start somewhere. If you’re stuck, emphasize your business minor when finding a job, and consider some of these organizations—but while doing so, try to tailor your search in favor of companies that appeal to your major capabilities. Sticking with the creative writing major as an example, look at some publishing companies for positions in their business department, or find companies that need an editorial assistant for things like a company blog, PR work, or promotional writing.
You can provide a new perspective
Companies will favor liberal arts majors with a business minor because you have the business expertise through your minor, but there’s an added bonus: your major likely provided you with communication skills, worldly knowledge, cultural awareness, or expertise in government/politics—all things beneficial for an organization. Furthermore, employers will know you’re driven because you ultimately followed your heart, and they’ll certainly appreciate the time management and organization of someone who can balance a major and minor in college. So when searching for a job, be sure to sell the right qualities—oftentimes, those are found beyond just what you learned in class.