My Unrelated College Degree Made Me Better at My Job
September 3, 2019 • by Elizabeth Campbell
When May of 2018 started to peek around the corner, I knew the “What is next?” and “Have you found a job yet?” questions were about to start.
While distant aunts and twice removed cousins don’t find this questions offensive, it was. It brought attention to something that increased the sweat under my arms and made my stomach flip. I was embarrassed to respond, “I am not sure” or “I am waiting to hear back on my applications.”
No one wants to be the college graduate without a job.
When you think of completing your college education, you expect to be the put-together friend that has her life all in order including that perfect “Big Girl” job. When I was approaching that stage to shake the president’s hand, I never imagined that that “Big Girl” job would be recruiting, but I am so glad it was!
My bachelor’s degree is in Recreation Therapy. It is a holistic therapy approach that focuses on helping individuals with disabilities improve their quality of life.
While I love helping others improve their quality of life, after my internship I knew it wasn’t the career I desired. I imagined myself using my empathy to improve others lives, but in a professional office setting. These two things do not go hand in hand in recreational therapy. So, when I was approached about a recruiting role with an amazing company in Greenville, I was thrilled! I started researching information so that I could better understand the role. At the time, I didn’t realize the skill set I already had would make me a better recruiter.
I was taught many skills through my courses in recreational therapy that would allow me to be a great recreational therapist, and without realizing it, a great professional recruiter as well.
Recreational Therapy taught me how to write goals and objectives, how to connect easily with the individuals I am working with, and how to focus on the positive rather than the negative. I learned to create activity calendars, and to focus on improving the quality of life of those I’m working with. In my first 6 months of recruiting, I was able to implement each of these skills into my work process. They have proven to be vital to my ability to successfully recruit and market candidates.
As I became comfortable in my new role, I took notice how similar this position was to recreational therapy.
In recreational therapy, you first establish goals and objectives with the client to better understand how you can serve them. Then you create an outline to improve that individual’s quality of life. Similarly, in recruiting, you conduct an initial interview with the candidate to understand what they’re looking for in a career opportunity. Then you create goals with salary, benefits, commute, company perks, etc. In recreational therapy, you meet and check in with your client weekly or biweekly. Likewise, in recruiting, you reach out to candidates weekly or biweekly to check in with their job search and interview activity. In recreational therapy, you do research on therapy practices and exercises you believe could help your client reach their goals. In recruiting, you market candidates’ resumes by conducting research on companies hiring and making sure they meet the qualities your candidates want to see in a new opportunity.
After working in the recruiting industry, I can really reflect and say that my unrelated college degree makes me a better recruiter and allows me to adapt to this role easier. Who knew that my “Big Girl” job would turn into an opportunity I can see myself continuously pursuing!!