college-student-sm-150x99Electives should not be seen as ‘optional’. The future is a petrifying place for most college students. Due to the fact that more and more people are attending college, students need more than just the degree to stand out. For those seeking jobs in the marketing world, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity offered while in college. One of those often forgotten opportunities is course electives. While these pesky hours may seem like a simple way for colleges to keep students for longer and milk more money out of their already empty pockets, they truly are an asset when chosen wisely with the future in mind.

According to Rasmussen, the top 5 electives that will sharpen the insights of marketing majors include design, law, psychology, statistics, and journalism. While it may seem like an odd combination, these classes will boost your skills and make you more marketable to the marvelous marketing market.

For example, design classes aren’t just for design majors. By taking classes in this area, you will learn the jargon of designers and earn their respect by being able to discuss design fundamentals. Knowing the language also helps you to effectively communicate your ideas with the designers. Similarly, taking a class in law may seem challenging and unnecessary, but it will save you from costly legal missteps in the future. From copyright to privacy laws, you will learn about the laws and regulations that will impact different organizations and how to steer clear of breaking them.

Marketing relies on psychology. Although you’re may not be a marketing-psychology double major, taking classes in the field of psychology is beneficial to any profession, especially for marketing majors. By understanding who your customers are and how they think, you will be able to decide how to best market your product or services to them. Effective messaging stems from knowing how and why your customers make decisions. Through psychology courses, you will learn how the mental decision-making process works and how external influences can impact customer behavior and motivation.

Don’t forget the math. As a marketing major, you probably thought you had rid your life of the horror that is mathematics. However, taking statistics enables you to collect data such as demographic information or consumer ratings to learn more about your customers. Being comfortable working with numbers can help you stand out to future employers by being able to find key insights into opportunities and trends that will influence future business decisions. In statistics courses, you will learn about correlation and probability while using tools such as Microsoft Excel to collect insights from a dataset. This will help you in the business aspect of the marketing world and will allow you to understand who, why, and what the data is saying so you can determine what decisions to make.

The importance of writing in any profession is invaluable. Journalism specifically helps you to understand the fundamentals of writing for a targeted audience. Courses in journalism will teach you fundamental journalistic principles such as using the inverted pyramid (a method of organization in which facts are presented in descending order of importance), developing attention-grabbing headlines and writing for a specific audience. Making every effort to educate, engage, and attract new customers will propel you to success in any field.

Once you have a strong foundation, it’s time to put those hard earned skills to work. According to Forbes, the top eight marketing and advertising jobs with a bright future include:

1. Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Manager
Median Salary: $108,260
Job Outlook: +14%

2. Advertising Sales Representative
Median Salary: $45,350
Job Outlook: +13%

3. Film and Video Editor
Median Salary: $45,490
Job Outlook: +4%

4. Graphic Designer
Median Salary: $43,500
Job Outlook: +13%

5. Market Research Analyst
Median Salary: $60,570
Job Outlook: +41%

6. Meeting, Convention and Event Planners
Median salary: $45,260
Job Outlook: +44%

7. Photographer
Median Salary: $29,130
Job Outlook: +13%

8. Writer
Median Salary: $55,420
Job Outlook: +6%

Make the most of your college experience and create a unique resume by utilizing those dreaded electives!