• College majors may not be as important as you think.
• WayUp CEO and cofounder Liz Wessel, who left Google to start her own company, told Business Insider that your college major usually has little to do with your future career.
• She suggests majoring in a subject that you care about.
Choosing the right college major is often a stress point for college students. But it may not be worth all the grief.
Former Google employee Liz Wessel, who left to become cofounder and CEO of WayUp, said it’s most likely not going to matter much when it comes to your career.
“Aside from a few very limited number of professions, it’s actually funny, it’s more often than not that you’ll see that people go into jobs that are really outside of their major,” she told Business Insider.
Wessel herself studied political science, math, and Japanese at the University of Pennsylvania. She landed a job at Google straight out of college. After two years, she left to found WayUp, a job platform for college students and early-stage professionals.
There are, of course, a few caveats when it comes to the idea of your major not mattering.
Wessel listed careers like some STEM fields and even some business specialties that do call for certain majors and specific undergraduate courses. So you need to do your homework and put some thought into choosing your major. Just don’t overthink it too much, she said.
Wessel said it’s important to remember that you can also study different subjects without necessarily majoring in them. Believe it or not, a good number of physicians major in English. Their enthusiasm for Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy isn’t a huge boon in the operating room. But the degree may have given them the edge in terms of critical analysis, reading habits, and written and verbal communication skills.
It’s possible to accrue the skills you need to get to the next step of your career, while also pursuing your academic interests.
And, according to Wessel, experience tends to be more important to your future job search in many fields.
“Unless you literally spent all of your free time during the semester, during the summer, during winter break sitting on a couch, you probably have work experience,” Wessel said. “You can turn any opportunity into something you can talk about in an interview.”
Wessel gave the example of working as a barista in Starbucks as a side job.
“People who’ve been baristas at Starbucks have such unbelievable work ethic at the end,” she said. “They have great customer service skills. They learn how to upsell. They sometimes learn how to market the drinks – I know they market them well to me.”
So stop worrying, pick a major that you love, and start pursuing the experiences that are going to give you a boost in your future job search.