Career Expert’s Tips of the Month- Sep 09

Your Classes Can Pay Off (Literally!) in the Job Hunt

Not sure what courses you want to take this semester? Here are just a few courses you might want to add to your schedule. Some topics will seem completely irrelevant to your future. But sometimes the most obscure courses and disciplines impart knowledge that will come to your aid when you least expect it. And, these courses can really pay off in the job hunt and literally put money in your pocket.

Philosophy Courses
Many students avoid philosophy and ethics courses like the plague. After all, Calvin and Hobbes won’t help you climb to the top of the banking industry unless your boss really likes the Sunday comics. However, in the study of philosophy, it’s as much about the process as it is about the content.

While you learn about esoteric philosophies of men that lived hundreds—even thousands—of years ago, you’ll also learn how to think critically, solve problems, and successfully debate a point. You’ll learn to accept criticism and opposing views without offense and voice your opinions without stepping on toes, all of which are invaluable skills in any industry.

Writing Courses
Regardless of whether you seek a career in journalism, publishing, or another writing intensive profession, writing courses are critical to your job hunt. Yet many college students neglect their writing skills. Everything you write—from reports to emails—are a reflection of you.

If an email or thank you note to a contact or a potential employer is filled with grammatical errors, misspellings, and poor sentence structure, it could leave a bad first impression that lasts forever in black and white. Writing courses teach you how to communicate on paper in a way that is effective, professional, and representative of your many skills.

Public Speaking Courses
Just as writing courses teach you to communicate in print, public speaking courses teach how to think and communicate on your feet. Not only will you learn to deal with stage fright and improve your speaking abilities, you’ll also learn to research and identify important information in order to organize it into a thoughtful presentation. These skills will come in handy whether you’re in the middle of a board room presentation, at lunch with the boss, or sitting in an important interview.

Organizational Communication
The working world can be miserable if you don’t know how to work well with other people. It’s essential that you’re able to work well with others in a team environment. Best of all, you’ll be a valuable commodity if you have the skills to promote a healthy, functional work environment through leadership. In organizational communication courses, you’ll learn how to communicate with your employer and co-workers in a way that fosters a pleasant team atmosphere and promotes the success of the company.

Study China
No matter how you slice it, China is a key player in the world economy. Westerners with an understanding of Chinese culture, customs, and language have tremendous value in the job market. Because China’s role as a heavy hitter in the business world is likely to grow even more, any courses about China will present valuable knowledge that will benefit your job search as well as help build corporate environment in which different cultures can work harmoniously together.

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