Is Your Major Marketable?

Some of us choose a major based on our passions, and plan ahead for the pursuit. This is the recommended route. When this is the case, we tend to stick with it, whether it’s inherently marketable or not; typically because we posses the drive to make it work..

Then there are the rest of us, who suddenly realize it’s time to apply for college, and since we have no idea what we want to study, we just pick something to get  enrolled in school. That way, we won’t be a bum all our lives.

But will your major make you a marketable job candidate, after all the shelling out of big bucks, and years of sleepless nights? How can you be sure?

We can assess whether we made the right choice by considering some key economic aspects. Here are four to get you started.

Flexibility

How many career paths can you pursue with your major? Not all majors offer flexibility, and some are more flexible than others. You’ll want to make sure that the career path you wish to follow is possible with the major you selected.

Many career paths can be pursued via a variety of degrees. However, there are some degrees that offer a wealth of opportunities, whereas some are best for very specific jobs.

If you find yourself with a choice, the versatile degree is always the better option. Thus, the greater the flexibility of the degree, the more marketable the holder.

Pay Grade

Let’s be honest: one of the main reasons for obtaining a degree is to make a comfortable living, so the salary matters. Research the median salary in the area you live or plan to live in. This is how you determine if the big bucks you’re spending each year, will be worth the cost.

Keep in mind that the cost of living and salary expectations differ across various regions. Be sure to budget for yearly inflation rates, as well.

Current Industry

What does the industry look like at the start of your degree? What will it look like in four years? In ten?

While markets do change, the market is unlikely to take a drastic turn before you graduate.  Even so, market studies in a field are usually accompanied by a short term market demand forecast.

This gives you an idea as to whether demand for your major has increased in the last few years, and gives a projection for demand at the time of your graduation. 

Find out if the market is already oversaturated with more candidates than jobs, and what opportunities are available for growth and personal development.

Making It Work

So you’ve chosen a major and it’s too late to change it. Now what? The good news is, you can make any degree marketable if you know how. Even a degree in painting or dance is a money-maker if matched with the right person, and pursued at the right angle.

Do some research. Find ways to make yourself an attractive candidate, regardless of the degree. Get an internship. Nurture complementary skills. Add an in-demand certification.

The possibilities are endless with the right work ethic, a little creativity, and a healthy dose of charisma.


Your degree is an investment in yourself. Making it work for you in every way possible both protects and maximizes on that investment.

The right degree also acts as a key to the best job opportunities in the market. Choosing a marketable degree, expands that pool of opportunities.

Even so, in the right hands, any degree is marketable. It all depends on how you use it.

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About the Author

Shandean Williams-Reid is a freelance Business Analyst from Kingston, Jamaica. She is passionate about reading, family life and her adventures as a new mom. She’s recently started blogging. Catch her on Instagram and Twitter.

This post is the second April submission for the Monthly College Mate Writing Contest.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. caterinavino says:

    I think a really important lesson that we should teach students is how to sell the skills and experiences you have acquired through your major rather than just the practical application in that specific field. For example, humanities majors get a bad rep for not having many jobs available to them. However, being a history, Classics, English, etc. major will teach you skills that you can apply to any job. A historian does not just memorize dates but learns data interpretation and analysis, speaking skills, writing skills, how to construct an argument to support a point, how to conduct research, how to give a presentation, and also teaching skills as well. All of those skills can be applied to almost any business. Professors should be teaching their students not only their subject and what they can do in their specific field, but also how to sell themselves as a valuable addition to any company whether it is specifically in their field or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.

      I will venture to say though that Shandean did cover that under “making it work”.

      I did a humanities degree before doing business, and believe it is dispensable to my career.

      However, to dig any deeper in that line of thought for this piece would have taken away from the topic she was trying to cover.

      Thanks for commenting. I do hope you drop by again.

      – Alex
      Founder & Managing Director

      Like

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