Will your degree help you get a job?

what next

The quick answer is ‘yes’ of course it will – you’re a graduate! 

The longer answer is, ‘yes, it will, as long as you make  it clear to an employer what the connections are between what you studied in your degree and the skills you developed via your degree and outwith, and their job.’

As one recent PPLS grad put it so well:

For graduates, like myself, who decide to pursue a career away from their degree subject, the question then becomes how to market yourself to employers. How does a psychology student compete alongside a business student for a job in marketing, or a philosophy student make themselves appealing to an employer in journalism? 

The most important thing I learned to do when trying to market myself to employers was to effectively evaluate and pitch the general, transferable skills studying Psychology had given me. (psychology grad working in marketing)

Sometimes this is obvious – in the psychology professions your psychology degree is an essential requirement; for speech and language therapy etc – your psychology or linguistics degree has direct relevance to the job.

Other times it’s not quite so obvious – you’ve studied psychology, you’ve proved yourself in stats, you know you can cope with the stats involved in market research. You can’t assume an employer does – you’ll need to make it clear in your applications.

The same principle applies to a range of jobs – your degree covers many areas  and develops multiple skills that have direct links to a wide range of different jobs. However, you’ll need to make sure, via your applications and interviews, that  employers can see the connections to their job-area too.

This point was clearly illustrated in the recent PPLS event ‘Life Beyond your PPLS degree’.

When asked how they’d used the skills and knowledge developed during their degree, answers from recent grads were varied and insightful.

  • ‘philosophy teaches you the importance of understanding a range of viewpoints…..to develop your own opinions and construct and communicate arguments to support them…and the value of and ability to learn….all crucial to business‘ (philosophy grad working in management consulting)
  • ‘syntax and semantics helps when reviewing subtitles….essay-writing refined my grammar (a must in proof-reading). (English language grad working as an Account Coordinator at a digital media studio)
  • ‘I implement my project management and deadline management skills developed through my degree……and my presentation skills and essay writing to compile reports and give feedback to senior management‘ (Linguistics grad working as a Team leader for VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas).

(Read more on how recent grads have used their degree skills and/or knowledge via the PPLS graduate case study blog.)

So make sure you recognise what skills you’re developing both within your degree and outwith via work experience, interests etc,  and market them effectively to employers. For help reflecting on just what skills you’ve been developing via your studies and beyond:

  • read the ‘Options’ information for your subject for a summary of the skills you’re developing
  • take a look at our Career.Ed programme, particularly sections 1.9 and 1.10 ‘Graduate Skills and Attributes Assessment’ , ‘Thinking more deeply about skills’ to help you structure your thoughts plus practice marketing these skills to employers.




This entry was posted in Career planning, English language and linguistics, General interest, Philosophy, Psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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