Recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts can find it difficult to land their first professional job since most employers look more favorably towards people with business or technology backgrounds.
That’s not to say that career paths in art, literature, music, or anything else are no longer viable, but for many recent college grads, they feel that their degree is getting lost in the shuffle.
In fact, according as The New School conducted an informal poll of its own alumni, only one out of every ten students who graduated within the past five years received a clear understanding of what their major was being applied to outside of school.
As such, most professionals have to go through significant re-training processes after graduation before landing their dream position. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be expensive and time consuming which many young adults may not have on hand.
Luckily, there are ways to get around this problem by creating your MFA (master of fine arts), MA (master of arts) or BA (bachelor of arts) in something other than art! Here, we will discuss some alternatives.
Connect your degree with a job
Recent graduates with an art or humanities major often times lack a clear career goal. They are not sure what they want to do next, nor are they certain how to get there.
In fact, many students feel overwhelmed as soon as school is over because they have so many options. Some people even say that being able to connect education with employment is no longer possible since most jobs don’t require formal training anymore.
This perception creates a very stressful situation for students who are looking to find gainful employment after college. It also contributes to a rising amount of students dropping out of educational institutions, which only adds more pressure on colleges to help them find work.
It is important to know what types of careers can be linked to a liberal arts degree before you make any decisions about future studies. By doing this, you will have clearer expectations and goals, and won’t need to devote much time to finding them.
Highlight your creativity
Being creative is an important quality in life, especially when it comes to career opportunities. Whether you are creating art or writing essays, being able to convey how you express yourself is a valuable skill.
A liberal arts degree does not teach you how to be creative directly, but it helps you develop other qualities that make up creativity.
For example, socialization skills help you connect with others and create relationships which can lead to more creativity. A sense of curiosity cultivates creativity because we are always asking questions and exploring new ideas.
Having empathy makes it easier to relate to people so you may learn something from everyone around you. All of these things contribute to your ability to put your own thoughts into words and communicate them clearly.
Your job will likely ask about your communication skills and whether you have worked with others so it’s better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.
Make it clear you are a lifelong learner
It is very important to emphasize this as an under-point, making sure your audience knows that you do not consider yourself fully educated until you graduate. This clearly states that you believe in education as a tool for continuous growth and development.
You can be quite smart at one thing but if you never learn or apply what you know onto new situations, you will remain relatively uneducated. You will also have to reevaluate how much education you need to feel like you’re enough of an expert in something.
The more knowledge you have in various areas, the less “expertly” you perceive yourself to be in others. This does not make you a beginner anymore, however!
By emphasizing education as a way to continue developing yourself and exploring new things, you set up a nice balance between staying in your comfort zone and trying new experiences.
Use it as a selling point
Even if you’re not planning to use your degree as proof that you have rich parents, there is still value in having an art or literature major. It can help you connect with other people and promote yourself as someone who enjoys creating engaging content.
Art and humanities majors are often called “artists” because they are familiar with how to apply creativity to various tasks. This includes creative writing, painting, music composition, and more.
Many employers look at candidates with these types of degrees as being artistic and able to relate to others. This looks good for your career and personal brand!
In fact, according of CareerCast, one third of all jobs require some sort of formal education beyond the basic bachelor’s degree. So even if you don’t plan to go into teaching or business, many job opportunities exist where a liberal arts degree is a advantage.
Look at the field your degree is in
Even if you do not have any professional experience related to your degree, you can include that information in your cover letter or résumé statement.
For example, if you are applying for a position as an accountant, then including the word “accounting” in your résumé or cover letter will show employers how qualified you are. If you have a business administration degree, highlighting that area would be similar.
By adding this detail, the employer will perceive you as knowledgeable in those areas, which is a good thing. They may even ask about those subjects during the interview process!
Generalist people are very valuable in our society. We need professionals who can take their job skills and apply them to different fields or industries.
Studies prove that being able to relate your profession to other areas than just yours is a great way to success.
Connect your degree with the job
The next step in putting your arts degree to use is connecting it with the job you are seeking employment in. Your art degree should be relevant to the position you want!
For example, if you want to work as an accountant then your college accounting courses will not only help you become an accountant, but also make you more marketable as a candidate for an accountant position.
You can take general business classes too since most accountants have some basic business knowledge. Accounting is just a specialized field within business so they give you that credit.
Artists often teaching themselves about painting or drawing styles of other artists is another way to connect your degree to the job.
Focus on your skills
Recent graduates with liberal arts degrees have something very special that sets them apart from other professionals – they are good at communicating, being creative, and understanding others.
These are all important career qualities for any position you want to advance in. If you’re looking for employment, make sure to highlight these strengths and emphasize how they can be applied to your workplace.
Your personal skill set should include written expression, verbal communication, creativity, and leadership. All of these apply directly to jobs that ask about teamwork or giving presentations!
It is totally acceptable to add “artistic” to the list as well. Many employers look favorably on candidates who describe themselves as having strong interpersonal skills.
Connect your degree with your passion
Pursuing an art or music major or any other liberal arts field requires more than just saying you are passionate about it. It takes doing, not talking!
If you want to be successful in this career path, you have to put in some effort beyond simply showing up at class once a week. You need to develop your craft and invest time in it consistently every day.
This includes practicing skills such as reading music, drawing shapes and patterns, understanding concepts like proportion and composition, and writing creative essays and paragraphs.
These are all tools that can be picked up easily if you are willing to learn from others who are much better at them than you would ever become. By investing in yourself and learning new things, you will never stop growing as a person.
Liberal arts degrees focus heavily on teaching students how to think critically about ideas and content so they can draw their own conclusions and determine what is truth and what is fable. This applies even to studying popular media like movies and books.
Your job as a student would be to read a book, movie, or article thoroughly and apply those lessons to your life.