By Chad Olivia
The talent shortage is real in every industry from software engineering to pharmacists. Managers sift through thousands of resumes every year, yet still struggle to find people who excel in their new roles.
Despite ample evidence that skills are more important than specific fields of study, managers continue to focus on candidates who meet rigid requirements: “Must have a four-year degree in accounting, economics, or related field.”
Why put the applications of talented, hardworking people in the trash, when many of the people who have technical qualifications lack the real-life skills and attitude to succeed in the role? Stop weeding out great candidates because of their majors. Hire grads from majors that develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills, leadership abilities, and self-starter attitudes.
People who major in entrepreneurship are like business majors with extra spice. Entrepreneurship majors focus on growing a business, not just working at one, which makes them ideal candidates for a variety of roles. These graduates learn the ground rules of accounting, finance, communication, and management, in addition to skills to push boundaries and seek new solutions to old problems.
Recent entrepreneurship graduates are perfect for roles in sales, customer service, project management, and any other area where human interaction is common. Not only will entrepreneurship majors get the job done, but they’ll do it twice as fast and hand you a sheet of ideas on how to do it better next time.
2. English and literature
Some of the best business ideas get ignored because the people who have them don’t know how to communicate. English majors specialize in the connections between words and ideas. Although everyone knows a teacher who insists that every novel is full of symbolism, English majors won’t confuse their associates with weird metaphors. They know how to communicate effectively, because they spent their college careers learning how to spot ineffective language.
No one writes better than an English major. Hire one for any role where written communication is key: marketing, technical writing, inside sales, or public relations.
While a philosophy major sounds like the least business-ready course of study, these graduates have research and argument skills that apply to several office positions. Perhaps that’s why philosophy majors are admitted to law school over most other majors.
Don’t ask philosophers to fine-tune spreadsheets. Instead, leverage their ability to glean valuable insights in areas like sales enablement, market research, and negotiations. Procuring marketing data is all the rage, but without a person who can extrapolate insights from incomplete information, that data will go to waste.
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4. Environmental science and zoology
Even if you don’t run a national park, environmental science and zoology majors learn practical skills that translate well to an office environment. These graduates tend to be passionate about their careers and hobbies, and will jump at the chance to work for a socially-conscious company, even if that company doesn’t work directly in an environmental field. Environmental efforts are usually less well-funded than traditional enterprises, so the people who study these fields quickly learn how to use limited resources to achieve big goals.