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You Majored in What?: Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career


Read Katharine Brooks's posts on the Penguin Blog.

As revolutionary as What Color Is Your Parachute?, this career guide for a new generation of job- seekers, from one of America's top college career counselors

With the job market in flux, young people face The Question: what are you going to do with that major?

In this indispensable guide, Dr. Katharine Brooks provides a road map for twenty-somethings, ...

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Read Katharine Brooks's posts on the Penguin Blog.

As revolutionary as What Color Is Your Parachute?, this career guide for a new generation of job- seekers, from one of America's top college career counselors

With the job market in flux, young people face The Question: what are you going to do with that major?

In this indispensable guide, Dr. Katharine Brooks provides a road map for twenty-somethings, replacing obsolete thinking that "major = career," and instead using positive psychology, mapping techniques, and experimental wanderings to help job seekers reframe their skills. Brooks provides effective strategies to help readers mine their academic and life experiences for new insights into landing jobs with the best employers, and finding alternatives when the situation calls for a Plan B.

You Majored in What? offers a practical and proven approach to reframing experiences, discovering overlooked opportunities, and finding a true calling, regardless of your undergraduate major or the state of the job market.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

"Brooks, who is director of liberal-arts career services at the University of Texas at Austin, provides those tools in the form of a series of quizzes and exercises designed to crystallize students' talents and inclinations. She then explains how to use the results to choose a direction, stand out from the crowd and wow job interviews."

"The book combines...What Color Is Your Parachute? with genuinely practical advice."
-New York Times

"Will help anyone be a smarter student and prepare for the future."
-Austin American Statesman

"An appealing blend of poetry and pragmatism. [Brooks] talks about finding the narrative of your life and harnessing the value of happenstance, but she also coaches readers on the nuts-and-bolts of resume writing and interviewing. You Majored in What would make a wonderful gift to both high school and college grads."
-Austin American Statesman

"Supportive, ingenious, and fun, Brooks's innovative career coaching can turn beloved interests into satisfying vocations."
-Boston Globe

"Dr. Brooks, a longtime college career advisor, provides students with an optimistic, encouraging outlook, and shows them that their strengths and skills are more important than choice of major...a positive reinforcement to the students who pursue their interest in liberal arts, and parlay the same interests into successful careers."

"In times like these it's crucial to look at entering the workplace from a whole new perspective and You Majored in What? accomplishes this! Who cares what your college major is? What is more important are your dreams, values, and strengths and this book helps any young person figure these things out and find a career that fits. But it now! It's great!"
-Julie Jansen, author of I Don't Know What I Want, but I Know it's Not This!

"Kate Brooks addresses the key challenges faced by many college students as they attempt to bridge the chasm between sixteen years of education and the largely unknown world of work. You Majored in What? is truly a great guide for the soon-to-be-launched student. At a time when all job-hunters are going to need to raise their level of job-getting skills, Kate Brooks has provided the liberal arts grad with exactly what they need to compete and succeed."
-Jaye R. Roseborough, Executive Director, Career Services, Middlebury College

"A fresh and encouraging voice in the liberal arts job search wilderness. Extremely helpful exercises and examples. Will be very useful to both students and career couselors. I plan to use it a lot."
-Carolyn Couch, Associate Director of Career Services, Wake Forest University.

"You Majored in What? is a lifeline for parents and students who value a liberal arts education. Katharine Brooks offers smart and accessible insights that turn the apparent chaos of a liberal arts major into a "wandering map" to illuminate many routes toward a fulfilling career and life."
-James H. Madison, Professor of History and Director, Liberal Arts and Management Program, Indiana University

"Students of all ages will gain valuable insight into their own interests, goals, and career aspirations from this book, even if all they do is skim the first 2 chapters. You Majored in What? helps young people find the connections between their interests and the inexhaustible career options available to them. This book should be sent to every student with their letter of admission or given to every first-year student at the start of orientation. I hope to share it with my graduate students."
-Paul Binkley, Director Career Development Services, The George Washington University

"The wisdom contained in this book could not have become available at a better time for the millions of Gen Y college students and recent graduates who are simultaneously struggling with crushing levels of student debt and the desire to find a career where they can do meaningful work that is a benefit to society."
-Steven Rothberg, President and Founder,

"An amazing, refreshing new perspective on an ancient question that does not leave sage advice behind! This book takes tried-and-true concepts and adds meaning and organization. One can't help but think, engage and be encouraged by Kate's valuable wisdom! Useful as a course text, a journal, a job search manual, or what it reads like: a personal career companion, mentor or friend. Born of chaos theory, this book is ready to deliver into the hands of the yearning who are eager to absorb it.
Loaded with images, constructive strategies, and meaningful advice, You Majored in What? is intellectual, but practical, and readers will deepen their appreciation of their majors. With its many examples, exercises, reflections and real life stories, this book has something for every reader to grab a hold of to achieve not only career success, but life and work success."
--Denise Dwight Smith, Director, University Career Center for Work, Service, and Internships, UNC in Charlotte

"Through the use of positive language, metaphors, and practical application, You Majored in What? is a wonderful guide and workbook not only for the undergraduate student but also for the career practitioner! Whether a student, mentor, or coach, unquestionably you will be inspired and empowered by the possibilities that will result from the Wise Wandering and mapping activities."
-Meg Flournoy, Associate Director, The Duke MBA Career Management Center

"You Majored in What? is filled with interactive exercises and is written in an engaging and practical way. This book will be a helpful resource for students as they consider their post-college plans."
-Deanne H. Maxwell, Assistant Director, Student and Career Development, Cornell University

"You Majored in What? will speak to the person in career transition or the college student simply overwhelmed by the options. The tone is light and the exercises are manageable, designed to release your hidden dreams and strengths. This is a fresh and much needed addition to the field of career development."
-Beverly T. Lorig, Director, Career Services, Washington & Lee University

"Kate Brooks poses a multitude of questions in You Majored in What?. Fortunately, she also offers plenty of answers to take willing readers on a journey of self-discovery from chaos to satisfying career choices."
-Skip Sturman, Director, Career Services, Dartmouth

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452296008
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 235,732
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Katharine Brooks, Ed.D. is director of Liberal Arts Career Services at The University of Texas at Austin. A nationally recognized career coach, trainer, professor, and counselor for more than twenty years, she is also the creator of the National Association of Colleges and Employers Career Coaching Intensives, highly successful, sold-out training sessions for career counselors. She has a doctorate in educational psychology.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 A Butterfly Flaps its Wings and you Find a Job: Chaos and Your Career Plans 1

Chapter 2 Connecting the Dots: Uncovering the Power of Your Wanderings 19

Chapter 3 Mental Wanderings: Your Mind Can Take You Anywhere or Nowhere 49

Chapter 4 Wandering Beyond Majors and Minors: Make Your Education Relevant to Any Employer 83

Chapter 5 Why Settle For One Career When You Can Have Ten?: The Wise Wanderer Explores the Future 109

Chapter 6 Even Wanderers Make Plans: Where Are You Now and Where Do You Want to Go? 133

Chapter 7 Paging Dr. Frankenstein: Experimental Wanderings with Big Payoffs 163

Chapter 8 My Job as a Krackel Bar: Creating Irresistible Résumés That Will Get You the Interview 195

Chapter 9 Channeling Jane Austen: Writing That Will Get You Hired 223

Chapter 10 Wandering Into the Workplace: Interviewing and Impressing 251

Chapter 11 Wandering After Graduation: You Mean the Chaos Continues? 275

Appendix: Dreams Deferred, Delayed, or Denied: The Reluctant Wanderer 291

Acknowledgments 305

References and Resources 307

Web Sites and Blogs for Job Seekers 311

Index 315

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