Alum shares career advice, authored 'You Majored in What?'

It's a question that is probably on the mind of most graduates in the Class of 2010. And also their parents.

"Now that I've graduated with this major, what am I going to do now?"

For an answer to this question, graduates can turn to one of their own for some advice. Katharine Brooks, a 1976 graduate of Gettysburg College and author of the new book, "You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career," has been quoted in the New York Times regularly on how college graduates can make their way through this tumultuous job market. At Gettysburg, Brooks majored in sociology and anthropology.

"Whatever your strengths and weaknesses, you will need to ‘bring your A game' to this job market," said Brooks in the May 21 article, Graduates' First Job: Marketing Themselves. "That means you can't be casual about your job search - and your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills must be top notch."

Katharine BrooksBrooks is the director of liberal arts career services at the University of Texas at Austin, where she specializes in career issues related to liberal arts students and teaches credit-based career courses that relate a liberal arts education to management and the workplace.

When it comes to the liberal arts, Brooks says "you need to be able to articulate the value of your degree, especially if you are in the liberal arts, and there isn't a linear connection between what you majored in and the job you are seeking."

She used philosophy majors as an example. "While there isn't a high demand for philosophers, people use logic to formulate and weigh ideas and to reach conclusions, which can make training in philosophy very effective in the business world."

In the article, Brooks also advises recent graduates not to worry about taking the wrong job.

"It's a complex world, and you can't predict everything, so don't try to. When you are starting in the work force, look for opportunities to learn, take a risk, try things out, see what you like, and always be open to the next opportunity," Brooks said. "If you don't like your first job, at least you have learned what you don't like, and you can carry that knowledge to your next job."

"The truth is, students think too much about majors. But the major isn't nearly as important as the toolbox of skills you come out with and the experiences you have," said Brooks in the Dec. 29 New York Times article, Making College ‘Relevant.'

Brooks created the Wise Wanderings career coaching system and has been providing career guidance to thousands of college students for more than 20 years, specializing in the career needs of liberal arts, humanities, and science majors. She has also worked extensively with college students with attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. Brooks is a licensed professional counselor in Texas and Pennsylvania, a nationally certified counselor, and a distance certified counselor.

Brooks also created the Career Coaching Intensive training program for the National Association of Colleges and Employers for professionals in the career services field. She served on the Educator's Advisory Board for Walt Disney World's College Recruiting Program and received a grant to study international employment in Europe. Brooks has a doctorate in educational psychology and a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from West Virginia University.

Contact: Kendra Martin, director of media relations

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Tue, 22 Jun 2010

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