By Danny Rubin
Job interview begins.
Employer: “Hmm, I see here you majored in…philosophy?”
You: “Yes, sure did.”
Employer: “Let me show you out.”
Attention liberal arts people: in the job market, employers think your degree is dead weight.
A survey from Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research firm, and Beyond.com, a career resource, found only two percent of companies actively recruit students with liberal arts majors. Contrast that measly figure with engineering/computer systems (27%) and business (18%).
Liberal arts folks, I stand among you as a proud history major. Yet as jobs become more technical, our degrees seem to have less relevance. Well, we already chose our major, finished college and have the debt to show for it.
What the hell do we do now?
We could resign ourselves to think we have “useless” degrees. Or we can look back on our college days — no, not these — the ones when we gained critical skills that actually give us an edge in the job market.
Did you major in Anthropology, Art History, Classics, Communications, Creative Writing, Economics, English, History, Government, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and any other liberal arts program?
All the skills you collected in college may help you find a job. Here’s how:
- For the application and job interview, research the company inside and out like you’re cracking the books on a history thesis.
- Understand how current events impact the company’s bottom line as though you’re back in Government 101 and have to read the news every day.
- Channel your Philosophy 253 professor and, during an interview, ask thoughtful questions about the company’s challenges and opportunities.
- Like a sociology major, explain how you enjoy team projects and working with people; computer systems experience is valuable, sure, but so are “soft” skills — and you have them.
- Pen a unique and memorable resume/cover letter combo. You spent four years in a creative writing program: isn’t that your specialty?
- The mark of a communications major: respond to employer emails right away, arrive for the interview 20 minutes early and send a thank-you note (handwritten preferred) within 24 hours.
- Remember the economics final that decided your entire grade? The do-or-die situation? Prepare for your next job interview the same way and see how you do.
- Art history, psychology, anthropology…whatever the degree, you know how to step back, see the big picture and put a situation in context. The job market always needs people like you.
So…you don’t have the perfect major all employers crave? I beg to differ.
It’s all about selling yourself the right way.
Put your liberal arts degree to work, and it might land you a job.
What did your liberal arts degree teach you?
Featured: David Goehring (Flickr)
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