There’s a common misconception that a liberal arts degree is ‘useless’ or that if you have one, you’ll never find a job. However, CEOs like HBO’s Richard Plepler (Government) and YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki (History and Literature) would probably disagree. Even Michael Eisner, who graduated with a Literature and Theater degree, was able to find a job (and stayed there for over 20 years) at a little place called The Walt Disney Company. So, take a deep breath and read about how there is life after college for liberal arts majors.
3 Ways to Land a Job
1 – Start Early
Dispel the myth that liberal arts students are lazy by working an internship or volunteering. Too often students ignore these opportunities because they’re focused solely on doing well in school. Guess what? Companies are putting less emphasis on GPAs and more focus on culture fit. So, by actively engaging in different jobs, not only will you be able to figure out what you like and don’t like, but you’ll also sharpening skills that employers are looking for. And don’t forget to look for internships during the school year since they might be easier to obtain than some of the summer internships. And of course, they’ll give you even more of an edge down the road.
2 – Use Your Student Status
Most everyone can relate to what it was like being a struggling student trying to find his or her way in the world. Use that to your advantage to make potentially valuable contacts! As one graduate told Fast Company, “There’s no harm in asking… But you have to take the initiative.” Consider taking people out to lunch, or if that’s too much time or money, try meeting for coffee. While working for the Weekly Standard, this same graduate asked a Washington Post reporter out for coffee to learn about Maryland politics, and wound up covering the Maryland state house for the paper later on. “People have always reacted very favorably,” she says. “They will do things for students and interns that they won’t for more grown-up types.” And don’t forget to leverage any shared connections you might have with a person (e.g., an alma mater).
3 – Build Your ePortfolio
Employers aren’t necessarily impressed by your ability to recite facts and figures learned in your classes. Instead, they want to see tangible evidence of what you learned and there’s no better way to do that then with an ePortfolio—especially for those in creative fields. An ePortfolio enables you to upload assignments and simultaneously reflect on skills. You can also easily share your work and its searchable by potential employers. If you worked on the student newspaper, upload your articles. Document your time studying abroad or share a video showing an art exhibition you helped bring to life. Check out examples of liberal arts ePortfolios here.
Show Me the Jobs!
Think the only job available to you is teaching? Think again! Here are just some examples of viable career opportunities for a liberal arts degree:
Interested companies: American Express and Tribune Media Company
In-demand jobs: Client service associates and Communication Specialists
Sought after skills: Management, communications, research, and operations
Top locations: New York City, McClean (Virginia), and Chicago
See what else you can do with your degree here.
So, the next time someone snidely asks, ‘What can you do with a liberal arts degree?’ you’ll have some great answers.
Share in the comments how you’ve used your liberal arts background to land a job.