College Electives That Boost Your Job Prospects
Unlike classes required for your major or minor, electives are opportunities to explore other areas of interest, develop new skills or just have fun!
Although it’s often tempting to take an easy elective to avoid stress and ensure an A, some courses can give you an edge over your competition when you start looking for a job in your field. Here are six classes to consider.
A huge part of public speaking is confidence, and it’s certainly a trait that will be vital in your job interview. Knowing how to prepare and deliver a presentation will take you far in any field, as will strong body language, eye contact and being able to answer questions on the fly.
Writing skills are essential for almost any job. From your cover letter and résumé to business emails and marketing proposals, strong written and verbal communication skills are expected from a college graduate.
Speaking a foreign language can give you an advantage in many fields, especially international business, foreign service and global economics. Although it might be tempting to simply pick up where you left off with high school French or Spanish, consider the future of strong existing or emerging markets, such as China, Japan or Germany, when choosing a language.
Few electives will prepare you more for the globally interconnected workforce as international studies. You’ll learn transferable skills—such as research, analysis and problem-solving—through the lens of other cultures. Just one or two classes in international studies can help expand your prospects for joining consulting, trade or finance firms; leading international programs; spearheading cross-cultural projects; selling globally; or researching foreign exchanges.
Much like public speaking, a leadership class will help build your confidence by pushing you out of your comfort zone, teaching you how to be an effective leader and giving you the opportunity to learn from your peers. The best businesses aren’t looking for a yes-man or woman; they’re seeking to hire the best, brightest and most accomplished. Taking a leadership course (or two) will increase your marketability in a saturated pool of applicants.
If you’re not majoring in business, consider taking a few electives in the business school. Knowing business basics such as marketing, sales, communication and management can provide a baseline of understanding should you decide to work for yourself.
It’s worth mentioning that many institutions will give you college credit for doing an internship in college. Internships provide great work experience for your résumé and can oftentimes even lead to a job with the company at which you interned.
Once you choose classes based on your major or minor, put some thought into choosing electives that will benefit you in the long run, not just boost your GPA.