General degrees spark concern for job seekers

By Matthew Richardson

When convocation is over, many graduates find that the degree clasped triumphantly in their fist isn’t the golden ticket they’d hoped it would be.

Graduates who major in highly competitive fields, or fields with no readily applicable purpose, often find that getting a job in their specialty isn’t a feasible option. But just because a graduate’s Italian degree doesn’t automatically make them a translator for the Vatican doesn’t mean that one should despair.

Louis Reeves graduated from the University in May 2005 with a degree in political science, something he didn’t believe would bring home the bacon.

“I didn’t go into the market looking for a job in politics,” Reeves said. “I didn’t really know what was going to happen after graduation.”

Reeves knew from what he’d been hearing about the job market that degrees like his weren’t in high demand.

“I remember it being a bad time for a lot of jobs because things were becoming so specialized,” Reeves said. “I obviously don’t have a very specialized degree.”

However, in spite of all of this, Reeves initial job market experience wasn’t one fraught with difficulty.

“I found a decent job soon after graduation,” Reeves said.

Currently a sales consultant at Judge and Dolph Ltd., a liquor distributor in Chicago, Reeves partially attributes success at finding a job so quickly to networking.

“(A) friend passed my resume along and I ended up getting a call and going through the interview,” he said.

Though liquor distribution isn’t necessarily politics, Reeves isn’t disappointed.

“I’m happy with what I do,” Reeves said. “(It’s a) great job for being out of a college a year and a half.”

Also, it turned out that Reeves’ major isn’t completely unrelated to his current position.

“It helps me in analyzing and explaining different situations,” Reeves said. “My major was argument intensive.”

However, just because he’s found a job he’s happy with doesn’t mean that this is the end of the road for Reeves: a graduate degree in political science is still an option.

“That’s an option … if I do (pursue another political science degree), I want to make sure that I’ve explored all my options first,” Reeves said.

Reeves offers this advice for any graduates who may not be able to find jobs in their preferred field.

“They just shouldn’t limit themselves,” he said. “If they don’t find the job they want immediately, experience is always a good thing, and you can always get that job you wanted the second time around.”