“What can you do with that degree?”
If you’ve ever been asked this question, chances are you are the proud holder of a liberal arts degree. The liberal arts and sciences have always gotten a bad rap for being unmarketable, and in the current job climate it’s particularly dismal. However those of us who graduated with a degree in the liberal arts know that we’ve gained skills that make us better people, better community members and better workers than we were before we started. Employers know this too, but you might have to work a little extra to make them see your value. Here are six ways to market your liberal arts degree to employers and nab that job you deserve.
Focus on your passions
One of the great things about a liberal arts degree is that you would be good in so many roles. However, you will do better in your search if you really focus on a specific area that you love. Tailor your resume to one type of job, and spend your time and energy participating in activities that will further your chances of landing a position in that field.
Show off your skills
Instead of telling your interviewer about the great essay you wrote on Proust, tell him/her about your research prowess, your communication skills and the way you crafted a great title page in InDesign. Make a list of skills you gained from your liberal arts degree and be ready to talk about them. Many of the things you learned— public speaking skills, interpersonal skills and project management skills— are invaluable to employers, so advertise them!
Give your skills a boost
Although you do have a lot of marketable skills, it never hurts to brush up on a few extra things. Plenty of computer skills— Excel, PowerPoint, etc.— can be learned in a few afternoons with some online tutorials. Considering business? While you might not have easy access to business classes anymore, be sure to keep up-to-date on business news and jargon. Check out magazines like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal to have something to chat about in your interviews.
Write a good cover letter
Use a cover letter to explain how your skills are especially applicable to the position you are applying for. It might not be immediately obvious how your work on a college literary magazine is helpful for a marketing position, so be sure to spell that out for your employer. If you need some cover letter advice, check out other Spark Hire articles.
Use a portfolio
A portfolio is a great way to give employers a tangible record of your successes. You can set up an online portfolio easily using a free domain name and fill it with links to your best writing samples, design projects and events you’ve organized. I can personally vouch for the hosting service Jimdo, but certainly do some research and choose the service that best fits your needs.
Most importantly, be proud of your degree. Let your employer know that your liberal arts degree has prepared you to be a great, versatile worker and a wonderful long-term investment for their team. Best of luck!
How do you combat pessimism about your liberal arts degree? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet! @ithinkther4iamb
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