Going back to school? Here are six degrees that will make your resume shine.
Competition is fierce in today's job market.
If you want to stand out, keep this in mind: Earning the right degree could make your resume more attractive, get you more interviews, or give you a leg up with a potential employer.
So what makes one degree more special than another? To find out, we've checked in with a number of education experts to learn what makes certain degrees so attractive to employers.
Keep reading to learn about six degrees that could help your resume stand out from the slush pile.
Few degrees say "versatility" like a bachelor's in business administration, according to Lisa Marsalek, the assistant dean of students and director of career development at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. That's because students pursuing a business administration degree will learn about a variety of aspects of managing an organization.
Why Your Resume Looks Good: When employers see business administration on a resume, they know that the graduate has a well-rounded understanding of the business industry, Marsalek says. "Students will typically take courses such as management, finance, accounting, economics, marketing, human resources, and organizational behavior," says Marsalek.
Even more importantly: Many business graduates need to complete an internship as part of their degree, Marsalek explains. "Internship experience coupled with a business degree makes you very marketable," she says.
In a technologically driven world, computer-based degree programs appear to make a whole lot of sense. According to Mary Dobransky, dean of the college of science and technology at Bellevue University, "A computer science degree shows potential employers you have the skills needed to work in a variety of computer technology jobs."
Why Your Resume Looks Good: "Almost every organization requires people with computer science skills," says Dobransky. But even if you're not sure what type of computer-based career you want to follow, a bachelor's degree in computer science is your best choice. Why? It's often listed as a minimum qualification for many computer professions, Dobransky says. This includes everything from computer systems analysts to web developers to software designers.
Another report titled "STEM," published by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, concludes that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) occupations are now dominated by computer occupations. The report forecasts that by 2018, 51 percent of these careers will be computer occupations.
A degree in education makes a person marketable because it can be used in numerous professions, says Stephen Jones, associate dean of student and strategic programs of the college of engineering at Villanova University. "While some educators choose to be teachers, others look for different career paths in corporations and government agencies," Jones explains.
Why Your Resume Looks Good: What makes the degree so desirable to employers? It starts with leadership skills. According to Jones, an education degree says you are a critical thinker and leader who's able to share ideas clearly.
Education students must learn to research and think outside of the box - essential when dealing with kids, who don't follow the normal (adult) way of thinking. "Educators have the ability to offer instruction and direction to unlock a brand new way of understanding complex problems," he says, "and that's a skill that employers appreciate in many areas, not only the classroom."
Then there's interpersonal skills. Learning to communicate effectively is an essential part of the education curriculum, says Jones. Which is why those graduating with this degree usually make effective communicators, writers, teachers, and planners. And when educators step into the world searching for a job, they bring those skills with them, Jones adds.
Since the financial crisis, businesses and independent financial agencies have been placing increased focus on how finances are managed and business is conducted, according to Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, an organization that helps job seekers find work opportunities. This means graduates with finance degrees are hot commodities because they can help control internal processes and spot any potential problem areas, Sutton Fell says.
Why Your Resume Looks Good: When it comes to employment, financial degrees have always been attractive to employers. People who study for finance degrees get skilled and trained in being able to look into the future of a business, assess the potential risks and rewards of business decisions, and guide businesses towards good strategy and away from bad, Sutton Fell says.
And that ability to "project" the future of a business is a skill that employers eagerly seek. As Sutton Fell explains, when employers see a finance degree on a resume, they see a candidate who is most likely able to see the bigger picture and the details that make it up. "A finance degree in your resume says you are the kind of person who can step back and analyze a situation properly, and who will help the company stay on course," Sutton Fell adds.
- Personal financial advisor
- Financial manager
- Securities, commodities, or financial services sales agent
As we have evolved into a content-driven, wired world, communications degrees have become more attractive, more respected, and more valuable than ever, according to John DiMarco, director of the public relations program at St. John's University in New York City.
Why Your Resume Looks Good: "Communications degree programs typically teach you how to create and manage digital content and information, which is something that all organizations must do," DiMarco adds. Skills such as research, writing, and speaking (all part of a communications degree) are critical in all corporate occupations, DiMarco explains.
And then there's the "soft factor," according to Nat Smitobol, a college admissions counselor at IvyWise, an educational consulting company. According to Smitobol, soft skills are your interpersonal and communication skills, your ability to work well with others, and think critically. "When employers see a communications degree on a resume, they know the student has acquired interpersonal, team building, public speaking/presentation, writing, and research skills that are extremely valuable in any workplace," Smitobol says.
If you want your resume to look shiny and new, a health care administration degree could be for you. Why? The health care industry is experiencing tremendous growth as a result of health care reform and an aging population, according to Samuel C. Rindell, a professor at the New England College of Business and Finance.
Why Your Resume Looks Good: With the industry expanding, degree holders in health care administration should have a lot of options. "A health care administration undergraduate may choose to pursue a position within a managed care organization, in marketing or finance, or even a pharmaceutical/biotech sales position," Rindell says.
On top of that, employers know that graduates of an accredited health care administration program will also have a strong business background, says Rindell. And employers value sound-reasoning and critical thinking skills that can be applied in a real-world setting, Rindell explains. Why? "Because these skills show potential employers that you are dedicated to the field of health care and have a broad understanding of the opportunities and challenges within the health care sector," Rindell says.
* All potential careers listed from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Handbook. Potential careers cite associated degrees as common, required, preferred, or one of a number of degrees acceptable as preparation. In some instances, a career might require further schooling, professional certifications, or experience, before a candidate can qualify to pursue the career.
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