What Can I Do With My Minor?

By: Logan

Being a psychology major and sociology minor I hear the same question quite often. What are you going to do with that degree? This question always makes me think and I don’t always have a specific answer to give people. I know psychology has many applicable uses within business and recruiting, but where does sociology come in? I believe sociology gives me a better idea of how societies operate and function and I find this very interesting and helpful.

So how can knowledge of sociology help a person in the working world? I think the experience I have gained can be applicable in many areas. Many sociology courses have a focus on how certain groups are disadvantaged or stratified and this is a very important issue in our day and age. I have used this knowledge to help me in certain activities and organizations I am involved in. Here at UMD, I am a student representative for the Student Life Change Team. SLCT focuses on creating an inviting and comfortable environment for students of all demographics and backgrounds. I am on a committee within SLCT which focuses on recruiting efforts and discrimination. Specifically, we look at how different departments within Student Life recruit student employees, create a comfortable and inviting environment, and how applications or interview questions could be discriminatory. My background in sociology helps me better understand how certain groups are disadvantaged in the job application process and we aim to make this process and environment comfortable and inviting to everyone.

This is one way sociology can help me in the future but there are definitely many other options. There are dozens of websites that give examples of careers for people who have a background in sociology. These websites can give you an idea of what types of jobs they are going into, the experience level needed, and more. One resource I find very helpful is What Can I do with This Major? A very direct title and it has a lot of great information for almost every major someone could have. This website lets you choose from a large list of majors, and from here you are given a detailed list of different careers people have gone into using this major. It also gives information on how much education or experience is needed for different positions. One thing to keep in mind is that even though this resource highlights “majors,” the information applies to minors as well.

Another great resource Career and Internship Services offers is the annual Graduate Follow-up Report. This is a perfect resource for anyone curious about what people have done with the different majors, after UMD. The report includes information such as percentages on how many graduates in each major are employed or continuing education, if they think their jobs are relevant to their majors, and average annual salaries. This resource is great because rather than just listing off a bunch of potential careers, you can actually see exactly where graduates from UMD are working and what they are doing. The report even has a list of the names of the companies the graduates are working for and position titles. This resource is helpful for all students who are curious about what people from UMD have done with certain majors. Again, even though this information is about different “majors,” it applies to minors too.

Overall, in a field such as sociology, there are a lot of options. I have provided a few resources in this post to help you get a good idea of what can do with a major or minor.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Logan’s other posts

#BulldogOnTheJob: Scott

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Scott
Major: Political Science
Minor: History
Grad Date: Class of 1975

Organization, title, and a brief synopsis of what you do
Hartel’s/DBJ Disposal Companies. My main function is commercial sales but this is a family business and that means doing whatever needs doing!

What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
I had a 35-year career in the Foodservice Distribution Business where I was a street sales person, district sales manager, director of marketing, sales trainer, and specialist. I had the great experience of being part of a team that took the company from under $20 million per year in sales to over $220 million!  Later in my career, I received an offer to get into the commercial trash and recycling field and I took it!  My experiences at UMD were instrumental in developing confidence, preparation skills, and  a vast array of people skills. From college, I began in real estate sales and then onto the Foodservice sales.

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What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
I had a rather unique experience being a Duluth native, I was a commuter for my first 3 years but got involved with athletics, work-study, and social groups which proved invaluable to my whole college life.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
I don’t know that it would have been accessible. What has been continuously reinforced has been the value of integrity and solving problems instead of selling stuff.

What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
I would say consider the careers in the “less glamorous” fields, they’re interesting and can be lucrative. If you like to deal with people, most sales positions will be worth it!

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
Keep challenging yourself, stick your neck out, and dream big!  Give back!  My time in Rotary has been a joy and the opportunity to serve is outstanding!  Usually, the best things happen when you’re not even looking (but you have to be out there so they can find you!).

Read other #BulldogOnTheJob stories!

Interested in Hartel’s/DBJ Disposal Companies? Check out their employment page.

Navigating Human Resources: Part 1

By: Tori

I came to college undecided. Not just on what I wanted to study, but on if this was the best school for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Duluth. It was by far my favorite school, but I felt so much pressure to get everything right the first time; to meet all of my expectations. Soon I learned that when it comes to expectations, they sometimes are set too high. And when something doesn’t go how you expected it to, you get thrown for a loop.

I didn’t expect to be a Human Resource Management major. Honestly, it was not appealing to me at all. I was drawn to business, interpersonal relationships, and helping others, but I couldn’t figure out where all of this fit together. And then BAM! one day someone (actually it was my Strong Interest Inventory assessment) said, “What about Human Resources?” and I said, “What about it?”. So I learned more.

Human Resources is the “umbrella” of all businesses. It is where the development and managing of an organization and its people happens. Some would say that without Human Resources there would be no business. There are 5 overarching sectors to this “umbrella” that stretch across all aspects of an organization.

navigating-hr

Recruiting and Staffing
People are a necessity to an organization’s success; without them, organizations wouldn’t exist. But how do you figure out who you want to work in your organization? This is where Recruiting and Staffing come into play. Recruiters look for and “recruit” qualified employees to work for their company and staffing makes sure we have employees whose skills match with open positions. Interviews, phone calls, brochures, questions, job descriptions, and first impressions all happen in this sector of HR.

Compensation and Benefits
No one works for free; aka there is no such thing as a free lunch. If we want people to perform services and do their job, we need to reward them. Compensation and Benefits is the sector of HR that motivates employees. Compensation looks at pay structures, which determine how much money you want to pay your employees for their employment and tasks accomplished. Benefits are the alternative, non-financial parts of a business offered to employees, this includes stock, insurance, paid vacation, etc.

Employee and Labor Relations
Recognizing state and federal laws and abiding by them is the purpose of Employee and Labor Relations. Understanding the government, how it works, and how to maintain positive relationships with your employees are all important tasks for this position. Remaining discreet and ethical is vital in this area of HR.

Safety and Health
Safety and Health HR employees strive to minimize any legal action that might be taken against the company by implementing safety procedures and health guidelines. Their main goals are to provide for physical and mental well-being and prevent work-related accidents.

Training and Development
Training and Development is the first step to helping employees feel at home. So much so, training and development is usually part of the on-boarding process. This includes making connections, navigating new positions, and learning the company culture. Diversity inclusion, performance management, and team building all happen in this sector of HR. Keeping employees up-to-date will allow them to continue to be an innovative part of the company.

If after reading this post you are interested in learning more, check out the Human Resource Major at UMD and talk to your advisor or the department head. Or come into our office and meet with a career counselor. They are more than happy to help you navigate Human Resources and all the nitty gritty details.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash|Jose Martin

What Can You do with an Electrical Engineering Major?

By: Kirsi (who double majors in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)

ee_careers I regret waiting to take Introduction to Electrical Engineering (EE), a freshman seminar class, until my fourth year of college. After participation in a high school robotics team and EE related internships, I figured that I knew all the trajectories an EE major could take post college… WRONG. During this semester I have heard from local power systems engineers, microchip-memory gurus, and professors at our own University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) conducting cutting edge research. This year US News and World Report listed Electrical Engineering as the 8th most needed degree in industry in their “Top College Majors for Finding Full-Time Work” article and 6th highest mid-career salaries in their “Top 10 College Majors That Earn the Highest Salaries.” Of course, success in an EE major requires more than the desire to get hired and paid well, it requires a passion for designing and problem-solving. I will share what University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) alumni are doing with their EE degrees, what EE majors across the US are doing with their degrees and future applications of electrical engineering.

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Careers of UMD EE Alumni
Electrical & Computer Engineering was offered as a joint major at UMD until 2012 when the degree became solely Electrical Engineering. UMD’s Career and Internship Services conducts a comprehensive Graduate Follow-up Report collecting data on the career choices of UMD Alumni. Most recently they have published a 2014-2015 EE report on the employment and continuing education of EE alumni, six months to one year after graduation. 96% of EE graduates from 2014-15 are employed (this is with a 95% response rate for our graduate follow-up survey). Of the 96% employed, 95% have indicated they are in a position related or somewhat related to their major. Some occupations held by these graduates include Project Engineer, mobile Applications Developer, Firmware Engineer, Design Automation Engineer, and Electronic Design Engineer.

Looking closer into UMD Alumni statistics, LinkedIn offers of a view of where EE graduates work in industry since the beginning of the EE program (even when it was offered as a joint major). If you log into your LinkedIn account you can see the analysis for yourself. Top five employers for UMD EE Alumni in order include Minnesota Power, Open Systems International, Intel Corporation, LHB, and Seagate Technology. These professionals perform engineering, operations, information technology, sales, and education related work.

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On the shores of Lake Superior, UMD is involved in a number of cutting edge EE research opportunities and projects. Colonoscopies are becoming more effective thanks to the work of Professor Jing Bai and her nanotechnology development. Bai is working on the design and fabrication of a new type of tabular-shaped sensor array for contact pressure measurement for colonoscopies. This sensor looks like a nimble rubber snake intricately covered in pressure sensors. This technology has the potential to effectively detect ulcers and other abrasions in the colon a camera might miss. Rural America is harnessing nature to provide electric power in remote locations thanks to Professor Taek Kwon and Research Associate Ryan Weidemann. They have researched the use of hybrid solar and wind renewable power generators for rural Minnesota transportation applications. Results show that combining solar and wind resources are a reliable way provide power in a variety of weather and seasons.While driving down a country highway in Southern Minnesota you may find a dynamic traffic message board powered by a wind turbine cross solar panel power generator (see photo above). Professors who conduct this research hire UROP undergrad and graduate students to assist and if you are lucky they may teach one or two of your courses!

EE Careers of EE Majors Across the US
Looking back at LinkedIn’s search tools you can search for all positions open with the keyword “Electrical Engineer.” There are currently over 17,000 electrical engineering positions posted on LinkedIn open in the US. The highest number of positions open are at Amazon (410) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (385). The most popular locations for these positions include San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Detroit, Washington DC and New York. Top positions being offered include Software Systems Engineer, Embedded Systems Engineer, Hardware Engineer, and Quality Assurance Engineer. Innovations in electrical engineering that are making the most noise highlighted in MIT Technology Review include renewable energy, electric cars, virtual reality, and driver-less vehicles.

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Power distribution at NASA Glenn Research Center Internship

Future of EE Careers
When I think of electrical engineering I think of big power and little power. Electrical Engineers have the power (haha get it) to distribute 410,885,000 megawatt-hours to the US (based US Energy Information Administration) in a month or to design a nano-scale device that squeezes mere electrons through at a time. In both extremes of the electrical engineering spectrum, innovation is happening. Summer before my first year of college I had the awesome opportunity to work with NASA Glenn Research Center engineers on a power system for a deep space habitat. The electrical design ensured solar panels and batteries took turns providing power to the habitat depending on exposure to the sun. Swap-able modules distribute the power and provide an easy way for astronauts to monitor and, if needed, troubleshoot the system. It turns out this technology being developed at NASA has the potential for renewable energy and commercial applications. In electrical engineering, discoveries are often applied in surprising ways. Give electrical engineering a try, you may effect the future with what you design as an electrical engineer!

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources
1: Anna Jimenez Calaf via Unsplash
2: Taek Kwon and Ryan Weidemann
3: Kirsi

Ways in Preparing for Your Success

By: David

Several weekends ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Midwest Asian American Students Union Fall Leadership Summit over at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. While at the conference, I attended a workshop related to career success led by Shane Carlin, Founder and President/CEO of Asian Student Achievement. From the workshop, I wanted to highlight two key aspects that I took away from the workshop and list out a few tips and advice that Shane wanted students to grasp while still in school.

Network During Your Time in College
For the icebreaker portion of the workshop, the sixteen of whom signed up were to partake in a networking activity. Essentially, it was a speed meet-and-greet, but the twist in the activity was that the time interval between every encounter was set at different times. For instance, the first encounter was only for 30 seconds, the second for 45 seconds, the third for 15 seconds, and so forth. At the end of the activity, Shane brought up two key points – the first one is, “What about you will people remember about you for the rest of their entire lives?” which we will explore in the next section of the post. The second point, “Network and give out your contact information. Just because ya’ll are college students doesn’t mean you can’t connect with one another.” This was one key takeaway I was able to grasp from the workshop.

To further explain, this really hit me because it made me realize that networking with other students is an important aspect of networking we usually don’t think of because we are so caught up in trying to network with professionals. Additionally, the activity made me realize that students are always networking, but we aren’t using it to our advantage. Yes, we may have these wonderful connections with other undergraduate students, but how will we use those connections to leverage in terms of career success, and at the same time, how can we help others in getting them to where they want to be.

Tell Me a Little Bit About Yourself?
Every single interview that I have been through all had the golden question, “Tell me/us about yourself.” (Just to clarify, this section of the post will not be directed at how to tackle the question step by step, rather on some ideas to consider when asked the question or when networking in general). Back to the takeaway mentioned earlier, “What about you will people remember about you for the rest of their entire lives?” This is truly a deep question and Shane suggested that we all begin by asking those close to us in what makes us unique.

To further expand on this, there are some key aspects to making people remember you for the rest of their entire lives (okay, maybe not entire lives). First off, it’s important to make sure that whatever it is you are talking about that it’s positive and unique. The example given in the workshop was that you wouldn’t want people to know that you had 60 romantic partners in the course of a month. Instead, you could talk about how you were able to overcome some form of adversity and leverage it to your advantage. This key point then typically co-exists hand in hand with the second point, don’t talk about an achievement that everyone else already has! The example that Shane mentioned was a time when he worked with a student and this student happened to be a founder of a non-profit organization targeted towards helping cancer patients. The reasoning behind the student’s motive was that they, themselves were a survivor of cancer. This story, as Shane mentions, is what gets people moving (emotionally) and therefore will make people remember you for a lifetime. The last piece to all of this then is delivering the message. Talking about one’s passion, ability to overcome adversity, or personal achievements are great things, but what’s more important is the way in which you deliver the content. For instance, consider the student who started their own non-profit, if asked in an interview think of how much of a difference it would make if they either (a) talked about the experience as if it were another achievement, or (b) enthusiastically talk about the energy and effort dedicated to starting this organization because of personal experiences. I’ll let you be the judge of that. All in all, coming up with a story or aspect about yourself that people can remember for a lifetime will be a very difficult and time-consuming process, but hopefully, these three points will help guide you in “peering into your career” on a deeper level.

Final Pieces of Advice and Tips
In closing, these are some bits and pieces of advice that I jotted down during the workshop presentation to consider and think about. Though many of these seem common sense already, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves every once in awhile in what needs to be done in terms of career success.

What can you do while still in school?

  • Develop your brand!
  • Clean up your online image
  • Build relationships offline
  • Build relationships online
  • Tailor your LinkedIn profile

Professional Tips

  • Listen first!
  • If you don’t know, ask!
  • Follow the ethical path
  • Incorporate feedback into work
  • Keep track of your accomplishments
  • Have respect and courtesy for ALL staff despite their positions

Stay tuned for my next blog post as I will be following up on these tips to further expand and explain them and why they’re important!

Read David’s other posts

The Right Time to be a Quitter, Part 1

By: Willow

At Career & Internship Services we strive to help students embrace their futures with confidence. We usually do this by making sure students have the tools they need to get jobs and internships. One important part of a person’s professional life, however, is leaving jobs. We usually don’t talk too much about this, but it is incredibly important and not easy. I recently quit one of my jobs and thought it could be helpful for others hear about my experience. Welcome to the first of three installments in The Right Time to Be a Quitter.

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There are so many reasons to quit a job. Here are just a few:

Moving
Obviously, if you are changing locations you probably won’t be able to keep your job, but it’s better to talk to your boss about it sooner rather than later. There may be options you are unaware of that will help you in your transition.

Health
This one can be hard. Maybe you have a physical job and you get injured. Maybe you have some mental health issues you need to take care of. Your health is so important, once again talk to your boss, they may have health resources you can use. Either way, your health is more import than your job. I know it’s hard to say that because it is not fun to think about not having a job, but if your job is affecting your health you can’t be successful in any part of your life.

Finances
Sometimes you can get more money at a different job. That is awesome, good for you. Remember to weigh all of the pros and cons of a new job including but not limited to money, if it is a good choice, there is nothing wrong with leaving a job to get more money, and there’s nothing wrong with (professionally) telling your boss that’s why you’re leaving.

Unhappy
The final reason I am going to cover is a little more difficult. Leaving because you’re unhappy. This is not easy. I know, because I just did it. It’s hard to know the right reason and right time to leave a job. When I started to think about leaving I went to my resources. The first was my mom, and she gave me some awesome advice: She asked me, “What could change that would make you want to stay?” And when I realized I could see no situation where I wanted to stay, I knew it was time to leave. I know that sounds easy, I was obviously unhappy and nothing was going to make me want to stay. But it wasn’t all bad because there were parts of my job I liked and co-workers and clients I was close with. So I found some other people to talk to.

I went into Career and Internship Services and talked with a couple of counselors there. It wasn’t the first time I had talked to them about my job and how discouraged I was. After talking through options, I once again realized that quitting was the right thing to do. I still had one more person on my list of resources, though, my closest co-worker.

Talking to a co-worker is tricky, it can be setting yourself up for failure. The last thing you want in a job setting is that your venting to your co-worker to get back to your boss, or even worse your boss hearing you want to quit from you co-worker before hearing it from you. I went to this co-worker because we were close, and I knew she would be a trustworthy confidant in this situation. If you have even an eyelash of a doubt that your co-worker might not keep your conversation between the two of you, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. I found it extremely helpful to get an opinion from someone in my situation, but be very cautious with what and how you say things to co-workers.

These were my resources, but yours may be different. No matter what, don’t quit on a whim. It is a big decision that takes planning. Fun fact, you can use Career and Internship Services for your entire life as a UMD alumni. So if you are ever thinking of quitting, you can call our office and talk to a counselor about it. It is important to remember everyone has bad days, once in a while you will come home from work crying, it’s just a fact of life. No job should make you miserable all the time, that’s the difference.

This ends the first installment of The Right Time to be a Quitter, tune in next time to learn about how to quit without, for lack of a better term, being a huge jerk and ruining your life.

Read Willow’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Geran de Klerk

Why Health Care Management was Right for Me

By: Cassie

I recently wrote a post explaining the careers that fall into health care management. There are so many different sectors and areas you can go into. I realized after I wrote the blog post that I didn’t explain why health care management was the right fit for me. Maybe it will inspire you to consider it as a path for yourself.

I originally was dead set on being a nursing major. I wanted to work in a clinical setting and I wanted to be able to help people. Then I took high school physics and realized if that was that hard, there was no way I was going to make it through the nursing classes. At this point I hadn’t picked a school and I was searching through programs when I found health care management. I did some research into what it was and decided, “well I can always change my mind!” Truthfully, I didn’t have any knowledge of what the major entailed until I got into my sophomore year and made an upperclassmen friend who was also a health care management major. She told me about all the classes and what they were learning and I thought hey maybe this really will work out! I am now a junior and I absolutely love all my health care management classes and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. There are a large number of reasons this major is right for me.

There’s Variety
Depending on what job you get, you may not do the same thing every day which is a huge bonus for me. The fact that there are also so many different directions within health care management is a huge contributing factor for me. I’m someone who likes options and who doesn’t like doing the same thing all the time. Health care management is great for that type of work environment.

You’re Constantly with People
This is a very people oriented field. Not only will you have coworkers, but you also have to work across different departments, with other managers, patients, and more. I am someone who is extremely extraverted, so this part of the job is very appealing to me.

It is a Part of Health Care
These jobs are very essential to the health care field. You get to help patients without having to deal with the “blood and guts” aspect of health care. You are always working towards people’s lives better, even if it is behind the scenes.

These are just a few of the reasons I chose health care management. I hope if you have even let the thought of a career in health care management cross your mind you consider these reasons for pursuing the major and career path.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Cassie’s other posts