Looking for a Job with a BA in the Humanities?

smartmoves.jpgAs you know, it’s tough finding a job at the moment. But not impossible. If you’re still in school, give yourself a leg up on the competition by planning ahead and developing a strategy. 

The book Smart Moves for Liberal Arts Grad by Sheila Curran is probably the best book out there for helping you proceed. It provides a number of case scenarios of liberal arts majors who landed in great jobs. The key for all of them was patience and a series of increasingly interesting internship experiences.
Don’t put your head in the sand and wait till it’s too late. Start planning now.

Internships Available at Dissent Magazine in NY

Internships are available fall, spring and summer for students with these skills: 

Ideally, the intern should have excellent communications skills and be able to proofread. Computer skills are necessary and a working knowledge of Microsoft Office is highly desirable. Knowledge of HTML and Web site production is also helpful. We are looking for independent self-starters who are also able to work with a small team in a variety of tasks.

Koreans Hear Message on Importance of Humanities for Global Economy

The president of Smith College is quoted in the Korean Tribune:

“Shunning the humanities in favor of more specialized fields of study is very short sighted, according to the president of a leading women’s liberal arts college in the United States.

A global perspective is needed to succeed in the 21st century and the humanities is essential to attaining a global perspective,” said Carol Christ, president of Smith College, in an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday. “The world today requires globally educated executives who understand another culture,” she said.

Employers Want Humanities Skills and Internships

Based on a recent poll by Hart Research Associates, employers say that colleges and universities should develop learning outcomes that emphasize these skills and experiences:

89%  The ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing
81%  Critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills
79%  The ability to apply knowledge and skill to real-world settings through internships and other experience
75%  The ability to analyze and solve complex problems
75%  The ability to connect choices and actions to ethical decisions
71%  Teamwork skills
70%  The ability to be creative
68%  The ability to locate, organize and evaluate information from multiple sources
67%  The ability to understand the global context of situations and decisions
45%  Proficiency in a foreign language

IT exec touts Humanities

Robin Beck, an IT Executive at the University of Pennsylvania has had a successful career at Penn and formerly at General Electric. When asked what she would study if she were to go back to college today, she states:

“Exactly what I did before: English and Humanities. The ability to take complex ideas and make them understandable to a wide audience is a skill I learned as an undergraduate, as well as to express ideas in writing and to think creatively.”
See the magazine Computerworld, Oct. 25, 2010, p. 10.
(thanks to Ray Clifford for sharing this)

New Program at UCL: Humanities and Business

University College London is doing what several business schools have chosen to do in the wake of the economic downturn: infuse their business program with humanities study. They find that the humanities can help with communication, writing, critical thinking, leadership and innovation. But the benefits work both ways: humanities students stand to gain from learning business culture and skills.

Those organizations which can adapt quickly and productively will survive short-term economic fluctuations and extend success into the long-term, but such organizational flexibility can require breaking away from conventional outlooks. The need for fundamental change in business has undoubtedly received added impetus from the recent global economic crisis,which has alerted those within the commercial community to the need for innovative approaches to leadership and strategy and for an understanding of how human qualities play a key role in commercial environments. In turn, humanities experts and the universities at which they teach only stand to gain from engaging with their social and entrepreneurial environments, and exploring the relations between their research practice with the world of business. 

“It’s not about you…” On the value of the liberal arts.

We live in an extremely materialistic, entitled and increasingly self-centered world. Americans often seem too willing to short-circuit their education and the proper development of their minds, sensibilities and morals because they see life simply as a race to the money and to personal glory. 

The author of this article reminds us that the liberal arts should play a central role in the academic experience in order to gain a broad perspective on humanity, a sense of humility, and perhaps the wisdom to live a rich and meaningful life in the pursuit of good.


Yet the secret to the good life, the core value that is at the core of our university’s mission, I tell them, “is to help you realize, deep in your hearts, that it is not all about you. This experience is all about you realizing that it’s not all about you.

The Quality education is the nurturing and development of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, wisdom, ethical sensibility, and judgment. Quality education mediates between what’s in the books and what’s on the streets, between cosmic theory and common sense. Quality education instills the humility and grace to know that you don’t know it all.

More than ever, the world needs students educated in the liberal tradition. A liberal education helps the student to transcend generations. As T.S. Eliot wrote: “It is in fact part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.”

A liberal education helps the student navigate a world of religious, political, and cultural diversity, a world that seems to spin ever faster and faster on its axis, accelerated by changes in science and technology that seem to move at the speed of light.

The “liberal” in liberal education is not about politics, but rather mind and soul, a broad-based exposure to a multiplicity of academic disciplines, an emphasis on open-minded critical inquiry and creative problem-solving, an understanding that there is nobility in approaching education not as the filling of a résumé but the fulfilling of life.

More here: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/oct/10/ed-smol10-ar-551645/

Recycled: 10 Ways to Market Your Liberal Arts Degree

Many Liberal Arts majors know their degree is valuable. They just don’t know how to “understand, articulate, and apply” it in the career prep process. From writing resumes and cover letters, to interviewing and developing additional skills, the following article has some good pointers on applying your liberal arts background to the job-prep process. Read more…

The Utilitarian Value of the Non-Utilitarian Degree

Check out my article in the BYU Humanities Magazine. It synthesizes many of the points made in the articles collected here. Feel free to circulate it. Utilitarian Value.pdf