"So...what can I do with this degree?"
You know that a bachelor's degree will help to advance your career. Many employment ads expressly state that a bachelor’s degree is a job requirement. What you may not know is what exactly do you learn in college. You may attend courses that you find interesting in International Interactions, Family Violence, or maybe Gender, Ethnicity, Class and the Media, but you may also have a gnawing feeling that you are not learning anything that will help you get and keep a "real" job.
You may look at what you do — a lot of reading, memorizing, researching, writing papers and speaking — and think, "All I'm qualified for is to continue on with school, or maybe work as a librarian or a film critic or open a bookstore."
But something magical happens between that first class and the day you walk down the aisle at graduation. If you look at the list of what you do and put it in a different kind of language — the language that the business world uses. A lot of reading becomes synthesizing information, condensing information, turning it into useful bites.
Memorizing becomes proficiency with concepts and knowledge of details. Research skills boil down to knowing where to find the answers, a facility with search engines, detection skills. Writing papers is the most powerful one of all — ability to clearly communicate with peers, supervisors and the general public. You have done big writing projects and handed them in on time; that is project management. Speaking is an asset in a business meeting, where making a presentation is going to come more easily to you, having done it in college. You have worked with others on group presentations; that is teamwork.
- Brainstorm, plan, organize, execute and monitor team projects on a sophisticated level using the latest computer resources.
- Know where to look for up-to-date information and how to keep track of projects.
- Give interesting presentations that deliver appropriate amounts of information to your audience.
- Figure out solutions to problems using available resources and networking abilities.
These are the tools for you to use to build a successful career.
Improve your employability
The Do List
- Do your best work, not just enough to get by. See how good you really are. Do an extra edit, another version. Read the chapter again to see what you may have missed.
- Speak up in class and get used to explaining your ideas to others.
- Investigate, then do some independent study — including internships. This experience really can help when looking for work. It proves you have initiative and some practical experience.
- Work on skills you do not have yet (math, writing, speaking). Utilize the Teaching and Learning Center for the tutoring help.
- Talk to your adviser about career possibilities.
- Visit Career Development and Education and get acquainted with the resources and assessment tools they offer.
- Visit with UW Tacoma alum who have jobs you might be interested in. Career Development and Education can help you find them.
- Take a workshop on translating your academic skills into job skills.
The Do Not List
- Do not take a class because it is "easy." Memorable experiences usually do not happen in classes you are trying to skate by in.
- Do not fall into a trap of taking courses just because your major requires them. Make sure you are studying what you want. It is only then you are going to do your best work.
- Do not take too many classes at once — schedule for the number of credits you can handle. While you may want to be challenged, you can end up overwhelmed. No one can look back on that kind of quarter with any pride of accomplishment.
- Do not measure yourself by others. What you are trying to do is come up with a plan for your life — it will not be a successful plan if you are not realistic about your limitations as well as your strengths.
We are here to help you envision your future. Everyone will take a different path, but we are convinced that the UW Tacoma experience will not only give you the tools you need for a satisfying career, but will make your life an interesting one.
More detailed career options are listed in the overview of each major and concentration.