Like icing on a cake, having a minor can be an impressive addition to your resume, but is it necessary? The short answer: No—but before you write them off, there are some distinct advantages to pursuing these perplexing educational add-ons. What’s more, most college majors require students to take electives which, when chosen strategically, can land you a minor without too much additional cost, time or work. What are some of the benefits of having a minor? We’re glad you asked.
You will be a well-rounded candidate.
We’re sure you’ve heard of at least a few people who boast minors seemingly unrelated to their main field of study. Think: A major in chemistry with a minor in theater arts or a major in engineering with a minor in music. For some students, minors are an opportunity to pursue an area of interest without making it their primary professional goal. The benefit? They show potential employers that you’re a well-rounded candidate with a variety of interests and skills.
You will stand out.
Hiring managers are always on the lookout for traits, skills and education that make candidates stand out from the competition, and in a group of similar candidates, that element can be as simple as having a minor where others don’t. Additionally, certain minors can demonstrate an additional skill or area of expertise that could prove useful to potential employers, like a minor in accounting, business or a language.
It helps you narrow your options down.
If you already know what career, or even role, you want to pursue after college, a minor can help you hone in on a specific professional niche. How? By pursuing a minor that complements your major. For example, a major in communications with a minor in psychology will be a particularly attractive combination for those pursuing marketing careers. Similarly, if you’re interested in working for a global non-profit, a major in business paired with a minor in international relations might just win employers over.
You will have a backup plan.
It’s not uncommon for individuals to start out on one career path before shifting gears and pursuing something completely different down the road. Minors allow you to diversify your specializations, meaning that if you ever decide to switch careers, you’ll have other skills to fall back on. For example, a minor in any language can be the basis for teaching that language, while a minor in art history might be the catalyst for a second career as a curator, art journalist or art therapist.
It demonstrates a desire to go above and beyond.
Above all else, employers keep a sharp eye out for candidates who are energetic, self-motivated and organized. Pursuing a minor indicates that you’re eager to learn and have the drive to pursue multiple projects at once. If your minor complements your major, it also hints at a strategic mindset and a willingness to go the extra mile.
The decision of whether to pursue a minor or not depends on your priorities and aspirations. While employers won’t penalize you for not having one, having a minor is a decision you probably won’t regret.
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