Great entry-level jobs for social science majors
This major offers an array of possibilities.
Social science degrees can open the door to a wide range of entry-level jobs in both the public and private sectors, and a variety o jobs in this field provide a decent salary. Here are some entry-level positions specifically suited for social science grads.
The U.S. government is always looking for economists, says John Paul Engel, president of executive recruiting and consulting firm Knowledge Capital Consulting. A year after he graduated, Engel was working at the Federal Reserve Board on the research staff of the Federal Open Market Committee, which makes decisions about interest rates. Engel describes the high-profile position as “one of the best” for a social science graduate.
“The government hires hundreds, if not thousands, of social science graduates every year to work for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of State, Census and a variety of other government agencies,” Engel says.
A government economist career requires a major in economics and considerable coursework in statistics, as well as a nearly perfect score on the civil service test, Engel says. “Most of the time you are gathering data, working on computer models, and writing reports or articles,” he says. “Once a month you may have to give a presentation to a senior executive.”
With the rise in the importance of data analysis, there are definitely jobs to be had, says Rachel Cirelli, director of the Center for Career Development at Manhattan College. These jobs may be at health care or financial firms, such as data analyst or economic analyst — or may analyze data in a field that the graduate has a secondary interest in, such as communications and marketing.
With a social science graduate’s interest in human relations or social justice, they make ideal candidates for AmeriCorps jobs, Cirelli says, especially if they have volunteer experience. The Peace Corps and other government positions can give these grads opportunities to combine social justice with service.
The skills that a social science degree can give you — communications, analysis, organization and research — can be a big help in a sales job, says Jamie Peretz, career coach and founder of 2MyCareer. “A psychology major is very qualified to work in an entry-level sales job as a gallery assistant at an art gallery,” she says, which is a highly desirable and competitive position that, over time, requires building long-term relationships with two extremely different types of individuals, artists (who choose which gallery represents them) and collectors (who buy the art).
“This career requires a particularly strong understanding of human behavior — why people think, feel and behave in certain ways,” she says. “Does a particular collector buy for sheer beauty, as an investment opportunity or for prestige in the community? And so a psychology major — hopefully with a love of art — is a perfect candidate.”
Entry-level management consulting positions can provide recent social science graduates with an excellent way to jump-start a lucrative career path in business, despite the lack of a business degree, says Colleen Paparella Ganjian of DC College Counseling. “Typical duties involve gathering and analyzing data, making recommendations, and presenting work, and students must have strong critical thinking, problem solving and communications skills.”