How to Study Shakespeare and Still Get a Job After College

K. I. Kellerhals By K. I. Kellerhals, 7th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Training

The humanities are not the employment kiss of death for a college student, or they don't have to be. Here are tips for literature, history, and even arts majors on what to do in college that will help land jobs after graduation.

Who Doesn't Love Shakespeare?

Every day a new article comes out online warning people about what degrees are hot and what degrees will leave you standing in the unemployment line. Don't study architecture, be an engineer instead. Study business administration instead of literature and pass over anthropology for human resources, public relations, or social work. And maybe they're right. Maybe the world needs an endless supply of engineers, business administrators, and human resources managers. There is nothing wrong with any of these majors, except that not everyone knows what they want to do after college or what they want to be. Many students chose to worry about the particulars of employment after college and focus on learning while they're still in school. This article is designed to help you do both, learn what you want to learn and still avoid living with your parents after graduation.

Add Some Classes

While taking your World Literature 231 class, you can still ensure you have vital skills to offer post-graduation. One of the best things a humanities or fine arts student can do for themselves is diversify. By this I mean take some computer and business classes. Every student has extra space in their schedule. Fill these spaces wisely. Creative writers should try out some classes in multimedia marketing, for example, which could help them translate their creative passions into real world jobs. Anthropology students should attend some classes in business management and business ethics to open up a path to enter the field of business consulting. History majors would do well to take classes in economics, politics, and law so that after college they can use their longer view of world history to positively affect current world economic and political issues. Fine arts students can make some time in their schedule to add computer classes like web and graphic design, putting their visual acuity to good use.

The point is not to change majors or abandon your passions but to make the most of your liberal arts education. Liberal arts students are smart and come with a diverse set of skills already. Adding employment specific classes to your schedule simply allows you to say on your resume that you know how to translate what you learned in the ivory tower into real world applications. Employers may not know what to do with someone who majored in sixteenth century French poetry in college, but if they can say they also studied international business, or better yet minored in international business then it will be easier to find a niche in the most difficult job markets.

Work or Intern

The biggest obstacle new graduates face when entering the job market is job experience. Being an English major isn't what's holding you back from landing a job; it's never holding a job before. Work several different jobs while enjoying your college life. I don't mean simply take a job at a fast food restaurant to fill up some of your summer time, either, though there is nothing wrong with that. Burger King can teach lessons like team building and working on a strict deadline, lessons which definitely have real world applications. However, what I'm talking about is taking advantage of campus employment. Work on the campus newspaper. Work in the campus library. Assist the department administrative assistants. Most of these positions will only allow you to work part-time but they provide two important things. They pay, well, most of them do. But more importantly they can be used as previous job experience that can be added to your post-graduation resume. If the job you want to apply for wants someone with two years of administrative assistant training, then you already have it simply by sitting next to someone who knows the job inside and out for a few hours a day. This practical experience added to your degree is sure to help you get past the application stage to at least get an interview where you can lay out all of your many talents in person.

Another good way to help land a job after college is to do some internships. The number of internships is many and variety, though you should be aware that most of them are unpaid. Still, if you can afford to work for a large company for nothing over the course of a summer or can divide your time between working for pay somewhere else (this is where that fast food job comes in handy) and interning for free at a small law firm, these experiences can make the difference between getting an interview and having your carefully crafted resume end up in the recycling bin. As an added bonus, internships can often lead to employment offers at graduation which can help avoid that post-graduation uncertainty altogether.

Getting Out There

The thing to keep in mind is that what you study in college is not going to make or break you in the job market later. Many college business institutes demand that their students do internships, hold jobs, or do job shadowing as a requirement for graduation. This means that students associated with these institutes are not just coming out of college with a business administration degree but also with the one to two years of experience that tells companies that the graduate understands the demands of the job they're applying for and can handle the work. There is no reason that as a humanities or fine arts major you can't have the same advantages, other than the fact that your major doesn't have these fail-safes built into it. But by taking full advantage of your educational experience, you can study what you love while coming out of college fully prepared to take on the business world, and have the credentials to get your foot in the door, too.


Career Planning, College Student, Education, Employment Issues, Landing A Job

Meet the author

author avatar K. I. Kellerhals
As a Creative Writing graduate, I love a good story and believe in education and enlightening our human selves in a wide variety of ways.

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author avatar Kingwell
7th May 2013 (#)

Good advice for students.

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