How education impacts your job

A reader writes…

Hello Anita,

I have a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Latin America Studies… how am I going to find a job with this background? Please help! 

Dear “Margaret Mead,” (only the Cultural Anthropologists out there will get this random reference!)

Interestingly enough, I too, have a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Spanish Literature.  Who knew I’d be working in the employment services industry for so long?!?  Sometimes it’s not WHAT your degree is in but the fact that you HAVE a degree that matters.   Unless you plan to get a Master’s or Ph.D. so you can become a professor, continue research, or work in a museum…. your specific area of study may not pertain to your future job.

It’s your education and the skills you’ve obtained in school (learning, writing, communicating, analyzing, etc.) that will play an important role in any career path.  If you’re just starting to build your résumé and lack actual work experience, you should definitely include internships or community services.  Focus on your contributions, the skills you had to apply, your level of involvement, tasks you had to manage, or people / projects you supervised.  These are attributes that will transfer to several types of positions and industries. 

Remember, you need to be realistic as you’re starting out in the working world.  Be open to entry-level (and often lower-paying) positions to get your foot in the door.  In time, as you learn new skills and become proficient in your particular trade, the possibilities for growth and advancement may be endless!

Good Luck!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. m.capriola
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 11:09:56

    I happened to read something by Margaret Mead a couple of weeks ago. It was the Preface to Ruth Benedict’s “Patterns of Culture.”

    Now that we’ve all thumped Anita for assuming we didn’t know about Ms. Mead (LOL), let’s get back on track. Her analysis is quite correct. Not only for the skills you pick up, but having that Bachelor’s Degree means you are willing to work hard for want you want. Employers like that. An 18-year-old needing a day job to pay his way thru night school will land a position long before the 18-year-old who dropped out of school at age 16. The Employer is going to go with the man or woman who is demonstrably serious about life; the person most likely to show up at the job each day, follow orders, and work hard.

    However, since you have a degree in Anthropology, I assume you have strong interests in that field. If so, go and get your Master’s Degree.



  2. Me
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 14:41:12

    Amen!! Lots of people in other degree fields know about Margaret Mead and the Samoans. Most were introduced to it in their General Courses.



  3. Jody Seavy
    Jun 29, 2011 @ 09:01:38

    I am not a cultural anthropologist, and I got the reference to Margaret Mead. Just because someone did not major in that field does not mean they know nothing about it.



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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