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Is it important that my major correlates with my preferred career?

I am a second year and still undeclared because my university doesn't offer marketing. Is communications a closely related topic? #marketing #communications #recruiting

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Hagen’s Answer

Hello Abby,


When you are just entering the field your major tends to function as your 'work experience'. However, later, once you have worked in the field for a while, it's less relevant. In my case, I was a Philosophy Sociology double major at Berkeley (I tell people "In spite of that I have prospered" ;-) but I got some technical certifications which was enough to get me my first tech job and the 2 years of initial experience which are key.


I have been a hiring manager for a presales technical role and while having a 4 year degree is generally necessary to work at most Fortune 1000 companies, it was more of a check box. I remember talking to someone who went to Harvard. I said "How was that?" but that was about it. The reality was the candidates needed to establish they understood the technology and more often than not, that's not what they teach in college anyway.


Marketing and Communications are popular career choices these days but you need to be careful to have some real credentials (e.g. having a Facebook and Twitter account does not a Marketing expert make ;-). I imagine it's a competitive role and it's a lot harder than it sounds to get your message out to the public. I know a couple of Marketing and PR people if you would like to talk with them, I'd be happy to arrange a call.


Best,


Hagen

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Vidya’s Answer

It helps quite a bit to have your majors correlate with your preferred career - specially in professions like Medicine/Law, etc where there would be pre-requisite courses one needs to complete.
However, in some of the other professions, it would be possible to chose career options that are slightly varying from the Majors.

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Simeon’s Answer

It's usually important to get a major in a career you're considering, but communications is pretty close to marketing and should do the trick for you. If you can manage it, try to land a marketing internship, even if it's at a small company, as this will help reinforce your qualifications for a marketing job.
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Alexis’s Answer

Hi, Abby -- yes, Communications can be closely associated with Marketing. If you're looking for a marketing role, you don't need to major in it to succeed in the industry. You'll likely learn many of the relevant job skills in your first role or two. What's critical is learning the important broader skills -- companies likely will seek creative thinkers who are good writers and are developing strong judgment. You can start to gain that experience through a Communications degree, an English degree, or any other major that challenges and inspires you. If you're passionate about the topic, you'll likely do your best work and stretch your thinking...and those are skills that are great for people who work in marketing. Good luck!

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Steve’s Answer

There are two approaches to university. One is to learn a specific profession, like law or medicine. The other is to use it a learning experience to help you find your path—where you 'learn to learn.' For many, this is the point of liberal arts. If you don't have a specific career in mind, use the first years of college to find an area that fascinates you.


As for employment, some employers are looking for specific degrees; others are simply looking for a degree with the intention of teaching job skills once they hire you.


The more you know about what you like to do, the more focus you can bring to your university experience. Otherwise, major in marketing or communications, take courses that interest you, and learn to learn.

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John’s Answer

Great question! There are two answers to this.

1. If you are pursuing further education (a masters or PHD), or a specialized skill set (Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, etc), then yes.
2. If neither of the above, then no.

I work in a "business" focused job. I intentionally studied Sociology (instead of business) because I knew I would end up working business, and wanted to spend college learning about something I was very interested in. It turns out, the insights I gained in my Sociology studies have been priceless in my business career.

Comms is a good general major for several career paths. For Marketing specifically, you might also want to look into Psychology, Sociology, Business, or any creative major.
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