Item #9: LinkedIn “Field of Study Explorer” Page (

Wondering what non-traditional careers one might be able to pursue with a finance major?  Or where that philosophy or sociology degree might be able to take you?  Or what careers your child might want to start pursuing, if he or she is about to graduate from college — or already has graduated, but is struggling to figure out a suitable career path?

While far from a magic bullet, I was excited to note that LinkedIn added a handy new tool to their site earlier this year that helps answer these types of questions and that replicates, in many ways, a technique I’ve been advocating people conduct the “hard way” for many years.  It’s easy to miss, but this “Field of Study Explorer” page can be found by clicking on the Interests, Education menu on the main LinkedIn toolbar.  Once you spot the tool, and click on it, it brings up a page listing the main occupational areas that are most associated with the degree or schooling listed on your profile — followed by a list of real live people from your network who share similar educational backgrounds.

To get the best results from this tool, you’ll likely want to insert some additional parameters in the “Search This Set” box you’ll see listed on the page — as well as try out different options in the “Explore More” menu on the right.  Essentially, however, what this application does is allow you to explore a creative, diverse mix of jobs that relate to a given educational path.  It helps one see beyond the obvious choices and find some other hidden or emerging avenues for consideration.

Sure, some of the people you’ll turn up will have embarked on careers that have no real connection to their scholastic credentials.  For example, when I searched on Fire Systems Technology, one of the people who turned up was a Lending Assistant at a local bank.  Not sure if I see any correlation there.  But if you keep scrolling, you’ll note quite a few folks who have found an interesting, tangential way to leverage their educational credentials.  You’ll find communication majors like myself, for instance, who have carved out careers in customer engagement, instructional design, or social media training.  Or sociology graduates who have landed in the fields of User Experience, Arts Administration, or Behavioral Economics — whatever that might happen to be!

So again, while you’ll have to do some poking around and keep a fairly open mind when using this application, I do think it represents a useful new resource for researching potential career directions.  It not only goes beyond “theory” and provides exposure to all of the latest, greatest job niches out there — based on millions of real people updating their profiles on LinkedIn, each day — but also allows you to reach out to some of these people to ask for advice, or perhaps even an informational interview, if you’ve got the gumption!