How to Reframe Your Degree for a Startup or Scaleup Job

With the fierce competition out there, there’s a lot of talk about “career-ready degrees”—ones with a clear path that will position you to enter the job market with relative ease. Still, we shouldn't disregard the value in a liberal arts education. The skills obtained in some of the most common majors are relevant to many opportunities in the 21st century job market. Acing an interview and being high-impact at a new job from day one is a matter of understanding what your strengths are and how to leverage your transferable skills for that right fit.

Not sure how? Use this cheat sheet to learn about startup and scaleup jobs for college graduates and how your degree might transfer into some of the most in-demand roles.[bctt tweet="How to leverage your degree to get a #startup job, by @dacunhac"]

Social Sciences & Economics


  • Critical thinking and analytical skills; the ability to notice patterns and extract principles
  • Interpreting data summaries and performing statistical analysis
  • Research skills; including the ability to design, conduct, and interpret research

How to get a job at a startup:

The ability to understand and interpret human behavior is critical for any marketer, as they identify messages that will resonate with potential customers, driving action. UX/UI and web designers work alongside the marketing team to create digital experiences that are optimized to turn leads into customers. Both design and marketing roles are data-driven, so your abilities to conduct research, interpret data, and perform statistical analysis are invaluable.

English & Journalism


  • Excellent writing skills and ability to appeal to diverse audiences
  • Critical thinking and analytical abilities
  • Delivering results with strong attention to detail under tight deadlines

How to get a job at a startup:

These degrees render you an expert communicator. With strong grasps on language, creatives are able to wordsmith messaging so that it is powerful and authentic. In an age where “content is king,” you are a perfect fit for a content marketing position. You’d also make an excellent salesperson-- able to connect effectively and attentively with diverse customers as you work under strict deadlines to exceed your sales goals.

Mathematics & Computer Science


  • Ability to follow complex reasoning and construct logical arguments
  • Mathematics skills (algebra, analysis, geometry, statistics, and applied mathematics)
  • The ability to learn from failure and move on quickly

How to get a job at a startup:

You are poised to become a rockstar developer. The skills learned in these majors are highly sought after by many innovative companies and are very well paid! If you’re a math or computer science major, you’d be wise to roll-up your sleeves, put on your noise-canceling headphones and get to work learning front-end or back-end programming languages. With strong backgrounds in strategy and numbers, you also might excel in designing revenue models and would be a strong candidate for a business development role.

Life Sciences


  • Experimenting via trial & error and bouncing back after failed hypotheses
  • Inquisitive with an innate curiosity and figure-it-out mentality
  • Managing data and using it to draw significant conclusions

How to get a job at a startup:

Your inquisitive nature and trust in the scientific method would make you a strong digital marketer. Explore roles in Big Data or performance marketing—perhaps at a biotech company—to put your talents for analytics and experimentation to work. This ability to manage complex information, identify problems, and patience to hack until you’ve found a solution will also make you well-equipped for a role in web development.

The thing about landing your first professional gig is that sometimes it's tricky to get your foot in the door beyond the typical entry-level, corporate "gopher" role. Getting a startup job is a great alternative, allowing you to dive head-first into the real juicy, exciting stuff. But, to be successful here you need to know how to leverage your experiences from college and then approach those opportunities with confidence and the drive to make a tangible impact.[bctt tweet="To be successful in #startups, recent grads must have confidence to drive impact, says @dacunhac"]


For more tips and resources on entering the high-growth workforce after college, check out our free guide: How to Get Your First Job After College (and love it!).

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