As a recent college grad, you don’t need to be told that the job market is tough, but maybe you do need to be told that it is OK to consider a career outside of your major. Perhaps you are finding that jobs in your field of study are scarce or require additional schooling. Or, like many college graduates, maybe you are finding that after years of study, the jobs available to those with your degree don’t interest or excite you.
According to a 2013 CareerBuilder study, nearly half of college-educated workers report that their first job was unrelated to their degree. In fact, 31 percent of college-educated workers over the age of 35 have never worked in their original field of study.
The good news is, if you decide to seek an alternate career, there are many jobs you can teach yourself that don’t require additional college courses. Here are a few examples of fields and professions to consider when you are looking for something beyond your major.
A grant writer works on behalf of a non-profit organization or government agency to research, draft and submit proposals for funding. Many grant writing jobs require a bachelor’s degree, but generally do not require a specific field of study. If you enjoy research and technical writing, then grant writing may be a career to consider. To build your portfolio and gain experience, volunteer to work on a grant for several non-profits and talk to those experienced in the field. If you are successful, a career as a grant writer can prove not only rewarding, but profitable. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, grant writers can make between $50,000 and $300,000 a year.
If you have always dreamed of creating your own business and have an entrepreneurial streak, you don’t necessarily need a business background to achieve your goal. There is a lot of training you can get through online courses. For example, Moody’s Analytics offers hundreds of public seminars on topics ranging from finance to credit training, which can help you get your enterprise started on a strong foundation of business knowledge.
Real estate is a field for people who are self-starters, enjoy working with people and are interested in buying and selling property. Additional college is not required to become a real estate agent, but there are courses you must take to get licensed and those requirements vary from state to state.
Additionally, agents must work on behalf of a broker, so while you are working toward passing your real estate agent exam, begin looking for a brokerage to work under. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 the median salary of a real estate agent was $39,800.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a growing field. Many companies are increasing their SEO budgets this year, which has created an increase in SEO job opportunities. Much like grant writing, you can bolster your SEO skills and portfolio by volunteering to create a website for a friend or business that shows off your SEO proficiencies. While there is no official SEO certification, you can take free classes and complete the Google Analytics Exam or the Google Adwords Certification. The median pay for an entry-level SEO job is $40,704.