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ECONOMICS

How to get a good job

In addition to private businesses, economics majors get hired by:

  • Financial institutions and the agencies that regulate businesses
  • Economic development agencies
  • Government tax departments and agencies that regulate businesses

Virtually every organization — for profit, nonprofit, or government — hires people to:

  • Handle the organization's finances
  • Market their product or service and, if large enough, do marketing research
  • Analyze the creditworthiness of customers and handle outstanding credit accounts
  • Work in human resources departments, helping to hire and transfer personnel, solving problems, and being the expert on fringe benefits
  • Interface computer hardware and software with their business operation

Some firms also hire people with an economics background to:

  • Sell a product or service or manage a small retail outlet
  • Help do research on economic aspects of their operation
  • Manage production workers

Now you understand why economics majors get so many job offers and why salary offers are so high. It's simply a matter of supply and demand.

 

In order to secure your first job after graduation, you should consider the following:

Become computer savvy.
You need to be at ease in using computers and working in a networked environment. You should have solid experience with popular spreadsheet, word processing, and database management software.

Take some accounting.
Basic college-level accounting, preferably two or more semesters, is a basic requirement for employment by businesses (take BUS 125 and maybe even BUS 226).

Get work experience and do at least one internship.
Employers want to know that you have been a reliable employee, which is why they prefer to hire people with work experience. Internships can help, too, especially if the work was similar to the job you're applying for and if you were able to earn a good recommendation. Sometimes, summer or part-time jobs and internships can lead directly to good career job offers. Look for jobs and internships that require considerable independence, maturity, and organizational skills.

Take rigorous courses and earn good grades.
If the job you're applying for is career track with a good salary, interviewers will ask to see your transcript. Many top employers interview only those with a grade point average (GPA) above 3.0, or even 3.5. But a good GPA with courses that are easy or mainly in one area is much less impressive than a solid GPA in rigorous and diverse courses. Employers may be persuaded to make exceptions if you have improved your grades considerably, had to work 20 or 30 hours a week as a full-time student, or were involved in impressive cocurricular activities.

Become good in math.
A U.S. Department of Education study revealed that career women tend to earn less than men with the same major. In business-related fields, however, women with more than eight credits of college-level math earned equal pay to men.

Take appropriate courses for the job.
If you are interested in a finance-oriented job, you should take some business courses in banking and finance (ECON 272 or BUS 349). If your goal is a job in marketing, then take Marketing (BUS 228) and do an internship with a marketing-oriented firm. Talk with professors who teach courses related to your career interest area about special courses you might need to fit your career goal.

Take part in cocurricular activities.
Employers especially like to see that you have been in positions of leadership or situations in which you had responsibility and made decisions. The best way to accomplish this is to become involved in student government, clubs, athletics, or volunteer work. For those who have to work 20 or 30 hours a week, employers will respect your motivation and waive this requirement.

Go abroad.
Employers are impressed with applicants who show a genuine interest in the world around them and can intelligently discuss issues related to events of global importance. Students who have been part of a Hollins Abroad program report not only that they had an invaluable experience abroad but also that employers value the fact that they showed the initiative and willingness to adapt to a new cultural environment.