Congratulations on your degree in the bold and determined study of how children, youth, adults, and families develop, change, and face challenges throughout the lifespan -- also known as Human Development.
Your studies have taught you how people's behavior changes over time, how they move about the world, why and how people from dissimilar cultures are different and the same, and how individuals understand and operate successfully over their lifetimes.
That's, you know, pretty good/useful -- the better news is that hiring managers know that too: thirty percent of employers in a Millennial Branding survey said they were seeking liberal arts majors, just short of the 34 percent who said they wanted oft-touted engineering and computer information systems majors.
So now you've weathered the tempest that is pursuing a degree in Human Development, dealing with the deluge of dense readings and inundation of Indiana Jones jokes.
Your cap is tossed, your diploma is in hand. And you realize that this was all the easy part, the calm before the storm that is the post-graduate job market.
Well, that's where we come in. We literally created a career map just for Human Development Majors such as yourself -- to aid your navigation of the choppy waters of recent graduation.
Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who can't put a good book down, keep reading.
We'll give you the rundown on:
- What skills you'll need
- How to begin
- What jobs you can expect to find as Human Development Major
- Some quick interview tips
- Consider graduate school
- External resources
And now to begin where many of the greatest stories do -- at the beginning.
1. Skills for Human Development Majors
a Human Development degree develops new perspectives for approaching the world, and equally important is the ability to articulate values and alternatives -- Human Development is the integrative study of human beings at all times and in all places, and this of course has value in the job market.
In this interconnected world, being able to understand humanity in its entirety and communicate ideas clearly and powerfully is vital to success.
Applying these skills to real world learning opportunities yields a more robust and balanced career. Here are some of the common skills that you should have when trying to get a job with a Human Development degree.
Understanding how people interact gives Human Development Majors a leg up when it comes to directing large groups of individuals. This requires an innate understanding of power dynamics and the way that individual behavior is affected by group mentalities, but that's something you'll pick up quickly even just in your studies.
One of the first things a Human Development Major is sure to pick up on is the way that different cultures form and interact with one another. This stems from a basic understanding of the idea of a discourse -- that communication within a particular group follows a set of rules that, while often unique to each group, can be studied and (eventually) allow a Human Development Major to engage with another person on their own terms.
Effective communication skills.
That brings us to the last (and most important) skill for any Human Development Major. Understanding how cultures and leadership works won't get you far if you're not able to communicate those ideas or act on any of your knowledge at a social level. Knowing how to communicate effectively is essential for any position related to dealing with people, and any Human Development-related job you're likely to get will require dealing with multiple people at once.
2. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting Human Development Degree
The Human Development Major's adaptability makes it suitable for almost every field, but it's up to you to narrow your focus.
And if you aren't fortunate enough to network your way into a position, it might be worth taking a look at what sort of internships you might be qualified for, even if you've already graduated.
A good internship can potentially lead directly to a position, and even if it doesn't it gives you an undeniable edge -- a Millennial Branding survey shows that 91% of employers think that students should have between one and two internships before graduating.
Here are some common types of internships for Human Development Majors:
Before you settle on an internship, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where (in the state/the country/the world) do you want to work?
- What size and type of organization do you want to work for?
- Do you need compensation in an internship, or might you be able to consider alternative compensation (experience, work samples, references, networking, etc.)
- Is relocation an option?
An internship will provide you with an understanding of the skills that a career in your field requires -- and with all of the options you have available, the opportunity to learn what it is that you don't want to do in your is invaluable.
3. Available Jobs For Human Development Majors
Many Human Development majors go into social work or counseling, or even just remain in the field as full time researchers and educators. Others go on to work in aspects of business that require an innate understanding of relationships. Human resources departments are often staffed by former Human Development Majors, and jobs that involve things like conducting test groups or otherwise managing large groups of individuals.
Remember that college isn't job training. You've learned to read, write, and analyze information more deeply than other students. Your abilities are applicable to most positions, and you need to narrow the focus.
Employ those skills to analyze their needs and present an argument why you are the best person for the job -- as a Human Development major, it is your responsibility to sell yourself to a potential employer.
With our career map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information for each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.).
But here, we wanted to call out some of the common jobs for recent Human Development major grads. Here are some of the most interesting entry-level jobs for recent Human Development grads:
Marketing coordinators can have many different responsibilities, from maintaining marketing calendars or customer databases to developing ideas and engaging in research themselves.
In general, though, marketing coordinators tend to in some way be responsible for interpreting information or data for the benefit of other employees, so a firm grasp of the principles of communication are a must for this position.
Like the other items on this list, reporters are nominally responsible for interpreting information for the benefit of others -- however, they tend to do so for the public at large rather than their employers.
Reporters identify stories, track down information, and put it into an easily digestible format. The always-online trend of modern journalism means that many would-be reporters are now learning programming and multimedia web design in order to remain competitive in the job market.
Human Resources Coordinator
Human Resources Coordinators are in charge of organizing and directing a particular company or group's Human Resources department, providing support to employees in a variety of ways and coordinating new hire processes.
Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants typically work with patients on a day to day basis, helping fulfill basic tasks for patients in order to help them maintain a high quality-of-life. This role requires empathy and the ability to work in a demanding, fast-paced role.
4. Some Quick Job Search Tips for Human Development Majors
These are the most important words you're going to hear: never stop hustling.
Chase opportunities that excite you; follow what piques your curiosity. Give every writing gig a chance.The path from point A to point B will never be cut clearly for you -- but unlike the narrower majors, you can fit into anything if you just keep working.
Search according to your skillset.
When searching for a position in the Sociology field, it can be tough to find something based purely on the name of the position -- especially if, being new to the field, you still aren't totally sure what you want to do. So instead of looking for a particular job, look for a position that emphasizes a particular skillset.
For example, the skills that would help you in conducting focus groups -- like maintaining the attention of a small group, asking piercing questions, strong public speaking skills -- wouldn't necessarily be the same skills that someone searching for an HR Coordinator would be looking for, as that would be more in line with organization skills, understanding how bureaucracy functions, and knowing how to help individuals with their needs while still keeping an eye on the larger picture.
By searching for jobs according to the skills they require rather than by their title, you might find yourself with a much higher leg up on those around you. Even if you're still not sure what you want to do, at least you're doing something you're good at.
Be creative with how you approach job listings
There are many more positions available that demand your writing abilities, but the ones that read "Human Development Major Wanted" are limited -- so you have to be creative when applying your degree to them in interviews.
Think of it as a prescreening test. If you can convince potential employers to hire you even if you weren't initially what they had in mind, then you've already done an excellent job: show them that they want people who can communicate -- they just may not know it.
This is where your research and composition talents are not just a marketable job skill, but ones that will actually help you land your cover letter and resume on the desk of the right person. Research the company and tailor your job seeking collateral materials for the application as if it was an assignment.
Network, network, and network
The best thing you can do to get a job in Human Development is, plain and simple, to know somebody who knows somebody -- this can be from internships, courses, or a professional organization on campus.
Reach out to the people you know from college, students or not. If enough time has passed, that classmate you friended on Facebook for one group project three years ago might be your in for a job that just opened.
On a similar note, professors are not only good first references for your resume, but they've also been around students and the professional Human Development world long enough that they might have some good recommendations for you as far as where to look.
Join a good professional organization like some of those listed at the end of this page and take advantage of every resource at their disposal. And wherever possible, just talk to people, and be friendly. You'd be surprised at how far a little communication goes -- or, given the field, maybe it's not such a shock.
Start a writing, like, now.
Yeah, we get it -- you're planning to start a blog. You'll totally do it eventually. Or maybe you've already started one, spent 40 minutes customizing the font and colors, and then wrote exactly one post, which you deleted after no one liked it.
We get it. Writing itself is already tough. Writing consistently every single day? Herculean. But it's a necessary step when it comes to writing jobs.
If you're on the job hunt and not getting a lot of bites just yet, the fact of the matter is that there's no hiring manager out there in this field that would be offended if you had a professional blog. And there's dozens of hiring managers that would be ecstatic. It's all a big part of showing that you understand media (social or not) and that you're capable of communicating effectively.
5. Continuing Education and Certifications in Human Development
Pursuing an advanced degree
Having a Bachelor's degree in Human Development is obviously a great first step regardless of what sort of career you might be considering, but once you've finished that, another question remains: should you go onto further studies?
We did a little research, and while the Master's might be useful to you, you'll want to think long and hard about whether a Ph.D is for you and your chosen career.
Here are common advanced degrees that people with Human Development degree normally consider:
Master's in Human Development
If you're looking to increase your knowledge in a particular aspect of Human Development or improve your research skills (always a useful thing to have), then a Master's might be supremely useful to you.
If you're looking more to increase your earning potential, a Master's can help do that for you too, but you want to be aware of the hefty price tag that might be associated with it. Figure out how long you'll be willing to pay off the debt and compared to how much earnings you can anticipate from it first.
If you can get the Master's without breaking the bank, then go for it, but otherwise it might be worth it to focus on getting more job experience and building your portfolio.
PhD in Human Development
This option is really only a good idea if you're interested in an academic career. Expect a lot of reading, a lot of writing, and not much recognition for how long and difficult your eventual book is to read.
6. External Resources
If you're still not sure what to do with your degree here are some external sites, to help you with your decision:
Kind of an "in defense of" page, it is quick to publish interesting developments in the world of Human Development and research about career choices.
American Anthropological Association
Even though 75 percent of its members are in education in some capacity, this is the single greatest source of all things anthropological. Organizations, job fairs, and professional publications for anthropology come here to live.
American Sociological Association (ASA)
One of the largest professional organizations for sociologists. This website has links to other resources, a newsletter, and membership benefits for those interested in the study of sociology itself.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
A professional organization for social workers, which is a field that many former Sociology Majors enter into. Offers professional development courses, membership benefits, associated publications, and various other resources.
Enter "Human Development" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to Human Development majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.
In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.
And if this all seems like a lot - don't worry - the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.