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  • Sociology Majors: Classroom to Career

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    What do Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Ruth, Joe Theisman, Ronald Reagan and Regis Philbin have in common? They're all sociology majors who went on to successful careers.

    As these famous alums have shown, your sociology degree can lead to a great job in a variety of fields. But unlike the electrical engineering student who aspires to be–you guessed it–an electrical engineer, you must educate potential employers about why your background makes you the perfect fit for their job opening.

    Here's how you can describe some of the skills you've picked up over the last four years:

    You're a strong writer and speaker.

    You know how to state your opinion and convince your audience, but you've also been taught the technical style required of research papers. As an employee, this one–two punch means that you can collect the data for a report and provide well–written and well–argued analysis.

    Your course work should also have made you comfortable speaking in front of audiences large and small as you've presented a paper or argued for your point of view in a seminar. These verbal skills will be an asset when interacting with clients or selling your boss on new ideas and projects.

    You have good interpersonal skills.

    Every workplace is filled with a lot of competent, friendly people and a few oddballs, narcissists and power freaks. The most successful employees are those who can find a way to get along with everyone.

    In college, you studied how humans function in groups, the factors that influence group behavior and even the keys to maximizing group performance. Your training will help you create a positive, productive environment in the workplace.

    As a student of sociology, you've also learned to listen actively and observe closely. You've probably used these skills to lead and motivate others, whether steering a group research project to completion or serving as captain of the volleyball team. Unless you're looking for a career as a computer programmer or DMV clerk, your people skills will be highly valued.

    You're an expert researcher.

    Research is in your blood. When presented with a problem, you can track down any answer–how it has been done before, where to find the relevant resources and who to consult for an expert opinion. You can even throw the data into a spreadsheet and have it spit out some graphs to illustrate your findings.

    Whether you're collecting quotes for a news article, analyzing sales numbers to look for trends or compiling statistics on drug abuse for local government, you can put your research skills to work in the workplace.

    You have these skills and many more. Now you need to know how to talk about them. The more you practice discussing your strengths (and we suggest making a long list of them), the better chance you'll have of winning your dream job.

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