Published: Mar 22, 2017 4:57 p.m. ET
“I’m a liberal-arts major, and it feels like there’s no clear line of work for me to pursue. How can I use my degree to get a job when I graduate?”
The older I get, the more fiercely I defend unduly maligned liberal arts majors. I’m the proud recipient of an English degree. Some people thought that studying literature was an endearing quirk, not a career path, but it led me to a fulfilling career in journalism.
Now that I’m out in the real world, I’ve seen how desperate companies are for good writers, communicators and researchers. According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers spring 2016 survey, employers rated critical thinking, professionalism and teamwork as the most important career-readiness traits of college graduates — all achievable through liberal arts studies.
“In many cases in job interviews, it’s those other applied experiences that students have had that help them stand out,”Paul Timmins, director of career services for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis
It’s true that PayScale’s list of bachelor degrees with high income potential is dominated by science and engineering. But a humanities background can give you the foundation to solve problems, lead and collaborate with others, which can help you rise through the ranks in any industry. You never know where your liberal arts background may take you. Late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien majored in history and literature. Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of Starbucks, majored in communications.
Follow these steps to gain confidence in your formidable knowledge, relay it to employers and land a job you love.