These days, liberals arts colleges have a bit of a bad reputation. Following your passions into a liberal arts degree can seem like a risky decision. With the fluctuating nature of the economy and the most recent recession only just starting to become a bad memory, you might hear a lot of negative talk about the prospects of getting a job as an English or Fine Arts major. While these naysayers have some grounds, in reality, there’s a lot you can do with a liberal arts degree that gets overlooked.
Here are 7 ways to take advantage of your liberal arts college education:
1.Have Confidence In Your Degree
The first step toward getting the job and life you want is confidence. So, you got a degree in poetry or theatre. You followed your passion! Be proud of that fact and know that your ability to navigate through the mires of your research and writing-dependent degree has actually given you more applicable skills than you realize. While a lot of liberal arts colleges offer degrees in subject matters that don’t directly translate to a job, these kinds of degrees leave you with strong writing skills, a superb ability to find and take in new information, and excellent communication tactics. All of these are highly sought after skills by employers. Focus on the best parts of your liberal arts education and promote your dedication to following your passion because, in the end, being a unique and passionate individual is going to make you stand out from a sea of applicants with the same credentials.
2. Focus On How To Use Your Skills
While liberal arts colleges may not lead you with an easy path to a job right away, a liberal arts degree is a bit like having lots of little skills that can be applied to many paths. Part of your job is to hone in on where you want to direct and use them. The clearer you are about where you want to go, the better you’ll be able to leverage your degree and the easier your path into gainful employment will be. Employers want to know what you are trying to accomplish, where you are trying to go with your career, and how they fit into that path. Start by looking at what you love most about your liberal arts education. Was it the ability to work as a team? Maybe it was the excitement of finding a question or subject matter that you were curious about and spending hours digging into it, learning all you can? Maybe you loved being the center of the action, and talking in front of people? Whatever it was that drew you to your liberal arts degree can help to reveal the career for you.
3. Fill In The Gaps
You followed your passion and that’s not something to be ashamed of, but once you find the direction you want to head in for your career you may also find that you need a few more skills to complement your wide range of liberal arts talents. Technical skills and certifications are especially good complements for your resume, and can really fill in the gaps for employers in the industry you are seeking work. Take some time to really research the programs and technical skills that job posters in the career path you seek are looking for. Now, use that same curiosity for learning that brought you to pursue a degree at a liberal arts college and learn something new!
4. Get Work Experience As A Volunteer Or In Non-Profits
A lot of the issues that people have with liberal arts colleges is the perceived lack of real-world application that a degree from one of these institutions leaves you with. A lot of liberal arts colleges offer internships that can go a long way toward helping you get the work experience necessary for your career path. But, if you didn’t participate in an internship while earning your liberal arts degree, there are still plenty of chances to get relevant work experience. Talk to your college about any connections they might have, look into volunteer work, or get your experience at a nonprofit. All of these avenues can provide you with the work experience that you need to really get yourself moving.
5. Use Your Cover Letter Wisely
Your cover letter is your chance to explain exactly how your liberal arts education is applicable to the job you are applying to. This is your platform to bring any soft skills you may have learned to light. Use some of the things that made you passionate about your degree in the first place. Be clear about how any extracurricular or internship work applies to the job. Talk about working to direct a team, spending significant amounts of time digging into research, and talking in front of people. All of these are great skills that liberal arts colleges provide you with. Remember, your cover letter is also a chance to show off those writing skills that you’ve been honing!
6. Boost Your Resume With A Portfolio
A resume filled with work experience isn’t the only way to show off your relevant experience. Many liberal arts degrees are centered around projects that require real-life skills like writing and designing. Take advantage of all the projects that you worked on in college to add a portfolio of work that you’ve completed to your resume. Bring your portfolio with you during interviews to show prospective employers what you’ve been working on during your time in college.
7. Embrace What Makes You Different
Liberal arts colleges can provide you with an open format to explore what excites you and what you find passion in doing. It’s a unique experience. And creates a unique and diverse graduate. Take advantage of these differences! People hire people. Showcase your passions, reveal that you’re a real and rounded person and people will be more likely to remember you and to like you! After-all, people hire people that they genuinely like and enjoy.