Career success

10 Things To Do With A Liberal Arts Degree

Plus points of a liberal arts degree: People who are really serious about their liberal arts degree get educated in history, art, literature, writing skills, public speaking, psychology, sociology, stats, calculus, macro and micro economics. The smart students among these round this up with studying for the trades as electives- for example, some choose business management.


Max Weber made a distinction between 'soul-saving (the 'whys') and “skill-acquiring (the 'how-tos') education- the liberal arts is for your soul.


As a liberal arts BA degree holder, you may get a handle on why the world is as it is- you may understand the psychology, culture, religion, history, language, geography and all the different things that constitute your society.


People with a 'trades' education (business, technical, etc.) may know 'how to do this or that' but often they lack an understanding of 'why they are doing what they are doing', the big picture importance of their job. Or, they might have difficulty communicating the problem to others or making others understand, say, the gravity of a particular situation. In other words, you can't talk to normal people in binary code.


This is where a good liberal education helps you.


The minuses of a liberal arts degree: Most liberal arts degree programs are very expensive and getting more expensive all the time. If you can't land a job right after college, you face the possibility of loan recovery agents knocking your doors.


Smart liberal arts students get a good 'trades' elective/course to top off their education.


1. To supplement your liberal arts education, you should do any trades course- business management, business marketing, sales (if you like meeting people), law (this one takes time and currently, the U.S. is 'overrun' with law degree holders), accountancy (this is good), management consultancy (paired with a good business management degree and a wide liberal education, you can go places), investment banking(do a finance, financial advisory course, for example), PR (talkers will love this field), journalism (if you can write good news articles, and have a nose for news, you can also work on your own), politics (learn more about community organizing- Obama started with that), teaching (a perennial favorite; teaching English to foreigners is a great option as well), law enforcement, and more.


2. Many smart liberal arts degree holders took part in extracurricular activities (e.g. community work, physical sports, competitions and contests, etc.) and took up internships to boost their resumes.


3. You should also brush up your computer/information processing skills while still in college. Computing is a basic technical skill that most job openings require.


4. Another great area you should look into are language skills and multicultural sensitivity- knowing a second language is today's fluid, global economy.


5. Many people also go into entry-level positions (which is an irony because most entry level jobs only require a high school education), and then learn the basics of the business, and then work their way upwards. Even here, the smart ones do a 'trades' course while working to help their case.


6. You can also go for an entry-level government position that only requires a liberal arts degree. However, look out for any internal examination/certification that will get you the promotion.


7. To get a balance of your passion and employment opportunity is to study the want ads and Internet job postings for the types of jobs you're interested in and see what skills are required. Head over to Craigslist or and do some research.


8. Have a portfolio- of any jobworthy thing you did in college- writings, photographs, drawings (useful in the creative industries), etc.


9. Sure, you read your histories and your cultures. But always plan what to do job worthy on the side that will pay the bills. Try not to fall into the obvious trap of taking the first crappy job that comes your way. This often happens to the unprepared.


10. Examples of smart keywords for (online) resume summary for liberal arts students:



Creative problem-solver

Conflict resolver

Exceptional interpersonal communicator who collaborates effectively with individuals at all levels

Computer-proficient performer

Participated in dozens of group projects

Liased among groups and lead many teams


Disciplined and highly organized self-starter who coordinates, manages, and juggles multiple committees, numerous daily meetings, judicial-board and campus ambassador functions, as well as a demanding school load.


Thank you for reading.
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