According to personal finance site Wallethub, the best jobs for Millennials are all in technical fields: engineer, systems engineer, and safety representative took 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Five of the top 10 have the word “engineer” in the title. Architect (#10) is the only job in the top 10 that is not in engineering, tech or operations, but it’s still technical. The first job on the list that is even remotely liberal arts-oriented is web writer, and you have to go down the list to #19. Jobs were ranked based on immediate opportunity, growth potential, and job hazards.
But if you’re a recent graduate who didn’t major in engineering, don’t get too disheartened by these statistics. Best (and worst) lists are always somewhat subjective (i.e., what criteria is used and how they are weighted). Furthermore, the rankings reflect an aggregate across the whole career, not individual roles specifically—even if there are fewer liberal arts-related roles in aggregate, you only need one of them.
So how can you use this best-job information productively and not get discouraged?
Use it as a wake-up call
These lists may be subjective but they’re largely based on economic data, so they show the general direction of the market. You can’t singlehandedly change the market, but you can adjust to its realities. If opportunities in your chosen field are fewer, your job search hustle and technique need to be stronger to compensate. You will have to send out more applications, network with more people, and develop a thicker skin to the inevitable rejections that will come before you land.
Expand your industry focus
Piggyback off the parts of the job market are growing. If the technology sector is doing well, of course it helps to be technical. But these companies also still need marketing, research, HR, office support, and other non-engineering jobs. You may ideally want to write content for a media company but consider writing process manuals or marketing content for a tech company. You might have expected to do research for a consumer products company or non-profit, but you could also do research on markets or regulatory changes for a manufacturing firm.
Calculator: How long until my loan is paid off?
Look for complementary roles
In addition to broadening the industries you’d consider, broaden the roles you’d consider to include functions that complement the booming technical fields. Examples include tech recruiting of the in-demand engineers, project coordinators to bridge the gap between the technical and the business people, and user experience support to look out for the lay customer amidst the technical changes. Your day-to-day will not be engineering but you are still working within and among that growing field, thus taking advantage of its opportunities.
On the flip side, if you’re lucky enough to have majored in engineering or are naturally technical, don’t assume that the above-average prospects for these careers mean you can coast into your first job. You still need to conduct a thorough job search. This will require research into companies and industries of interest, preparation of your resume and other marketing materials, practice of your interviewing and networking skills, and diligent follow-up of your opportunities. After all, you don’t just want any job—you want your ideal job.