Every spring, alongside the finance folks and engineers, an entire crop of graduates flood the workforce armed with nothing but a degree that appears to be worth less than a place mat at the fast food restaurant where they are unqualified to work. So what do you do when your degree doesn’t automatically qualify you for a career track? Brand yourself better.
Dorie Clark at HBR Blog Network knows what she’s talking about when she discusses rebranding “useless” degrees. After graduating with a master’s in theological studies, but finding academia closed to her, Clark was forced to think of creative ways to pitch herself to future employers.
This is how she did it, and how you can do it, too:
1. Emphasize your skills, not the name on your degree.
“In college (studying philosophy) and in divinity school, I learned to read abstruse texts with careful comprehension, and fashion tight, logical arguments,” Clark writes. “That’s an applicable business skill, even if witty badinage about the writings of Thomas Aquinas is not.”
2. Talk about your unique perspective.
Don’t try to compete based on qualifications. Another candidate who’s trained for that specific position will always have you beat. Clark recommends presenting yourself as a “potential font of innovation,” instead. Your cross-disciplinary experience makes you different and valuable.
3. Include your work experience — all of it.
Do you have internships, fellowships, teaching assistant positions? Bring them up. Connect your seemingly disparate experience with the job you hope to acquire, and you’ll show your future employer that you can not only excel at this particular job, but that you can make larger connections and think creatively. That’s something much rarer than a more marketable degree.
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