Liberal Arts – What's It Good For?
What can I DO with my degree? What can't you do? Your degree has prepared you to approach problems analytically, think critically about ideas, research, organize your thoughts, and write about your findings. Also, a liberal arts education prepares students to communicate and interact well with others. Think about the presentations you have given and the group projects you have completed. The flexibility and adaptability you have demonstrated in the range of coursework and modes of thinking you have done are also key assets to employers. These qualities make liberal arts graduates stand out from the sea of applicants. The challenging part is to be prepared to prove to employers how you have used the skills they want and that you really want what they have to offer. Refer to the information in "Ace the Interview" for more details.
I've got the skills, but where are the jobs? With all these "hot" skills, there are jobs in virtually any industry. Almost any field you can think of utilizes the exact traits that make a liberal arts graduate so marketable. The question really is "Where do I want to be?" Now is the time for you to figure out what industries are of interest to you and which of your skills you most want to use regularly on the job. Start by reading job ads. Read lots of ads until some of them begin to stand out as being more appealing than others. Go to company homepages as well; you will begin to be able to evaluate differences in cultures, missions, operations, etc.
You need to learn to translate your experiences into terms that prove you have the skills to do the job. To succeed, you must demonstrate that you have had an interest in this field in the past. This could include coursework, internships, research, summer jobs, etc. Using the job advertisement in the box to the right, fill in specific examples from your background to show your qualifications. Even if you wouldn't apply for THIS job, do the activity. It will teach you how you can change the focus of your background to match the positions you are seeking. Then, use this exercise to determine your qualifications for the positions that appeal to you. Need more experience? In the world of lifelong education, it is never too late to develop a new skill!