Shimer students prepare to receive their degrees
In today’s rapidly evolving economy, a liberal arts education doesn’t always pave the way to one specific occupation. After all, a university degree is about building a diverse range of knowledge and abilities, which can open doors to a variety of occupations. Many undergraduates aren’t entirely sure what they will “do” with their degree after graduating, but instead focus on learning as much as they can about their subject area.
That being said, there is virtue in planning ahead, and discovering how to leverage your academic skills in the professional sphere. Savvy students will think about what potential future employers will want in a candidate and learn how to direct and market their abilities accordingly. Flexible and creative thinkers know how to adapt, and can look critically at their skill set. You might not know precisely which career you want, but taking inventory of your abilities will help sharpen your assessment of where they’d be of most use.
Here are a few tips for getting started.
Look at Where your Liberal Arts Skills Can be Applied, Not at Job Titles
Students who graduate from progressive, small liberal arts colleges are autonomous problem solvers, excellent communicators, and possess sophisticated analytical abilities. Consider which occupations draw most heavily on your particular skill set instead of focusing on job titles. You excel at English and History? Sure, you could go on to become a teacher - but you could also do quite well as a business manager, marketing director, online content strategist or politician. Wherever analysis, attention to detail, strong argumentation and excellent writing skills are in demand, you could consider yourself a worthy candidate!
Strategically Enhance Your Current Skill Set
Although earning a liberal arts degree equips you with numerous valuable skills that employers look for, it’s smart to identify and fill gaps in your abilities. As a liberal arts major, you have learned to master written and oral communication, but are your computer skills up to par? By supplementing their academic strengths with some technical know-how, liberal arts students can better position themselves in a competitive job market.
Once you’ve identified some key weaknesses or areas where you lack confidence, consider taking an online course, volunteering, or signing up for an elective that’s slightly outside your comfort zone. If you’re attending liberal arts college in Chicago, you’ll find several options for diversifying your skill-set on campus and across the city.
Showcase Your Passion for Learning & Commitment to Self-Improvement
One common element shared by students of a great books college is their passion for exploration and learning. In making your choice to major in liberal arts, you probably weren't concerned about how much money you could make after graduating. Like many of your peers, you were no doubt motivated by the sheer joy of intellectual expansion - of discovering as much about your subject area as possible, and sharing those discoveries with others.
Almost every employer appreciates enthusiasm for learning and commitment to self-improvement. During interviews, the articulate communications-master (that’s you, the liberal arts grad) is very well positioned to talk about their love of a challenge, and their determination to seek the highest level of personal performance. You know all about following your passion and crafting compelling arguments. Liberal arts students can use these skills to market their strengths and demonstrate perseverance to overcome any weaknesses - and that goes a very long way out there in the workforce!
What professional paths are you considering after university?