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How to get hired with a liberal arts degree

It's no secret that the job market can be challenging for recent liberal arts graduates. After all, they don't walk out of school with a job-specific skill set like their friends in accounting or engineering do. But they do have something else employers say they need: "soft skills," such as the ability to communicate clearly in writing.

Here are some ways you can leverage the skills you have and increase your chances of landing a job no matter what your major is.

Know the industry you're trying to break into

Getting hired is about a lot more than your degree. "You have to know and love the industry you're going into," career expert and Modern Manners Guy advice columnist Richie Frieman said.

Show employers you're looking for a career, not just a paycheck. "Track the news, track the trends, know the players, know the faults and successes, and be able to bring that to the interview," Frieman said. "Employers want to know that you are aware of their field. They want to see passion! They don't want to feel like they're just one more person you're interviewing with that week."

Use social media for more than check-ins and cat GIFs

College students and recent graduates tend to be savvy about social media, but many only use it to connect with friends, socialize and share fun stuff. If you're serious about starting a career, you need to start using social media for professional networking too, said Tom Armour, co-founder of HighReturnSelectionTI.

Social media websites are great vehicles for making professional connections, finding information about your industry and sharing professional information that makes you look smart.

Take advantage of your research and writing skills

Believe it or not, you are well-suited for several industries. "There are many ways a graduate with a liberal arts degree can leverage their skill set into jobs in technology, marketing or business operations," Legal Marketing Pages CEO Matthew Reischer said.

As a liberal arts major, you've learned to think critically, research thoroughly and write well. "A recent graduate would be well qualified to perform Google keyword research at a marketing firm, write content for a public relations company or coordinate a project among co-workers."

Emphasize your people skills and willingness to learn

Niagara University director of career sciences Robert Swanson recounted a conversation he had with a manufacturing executive friend who said "liberal arts majors are able to think critically, communicate complex ideas in understandable terms, imagine possibilities and adapt to changing priorities."

Sometimes, getting the job is a matter of showing how willing you are to learn. "He said that quite often he could teach a psychology major what they needed to know about business more easily than trying to teach a business major what they needed to know about people," Swanson said. "That, in my opinion, is the value of the liberal arts, and that is where the earning power of majors like psychology, art or health care administration rests."

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How to get hired with a liberal arts degree 07/11/14 [Last modified: Monday, July 14, 2014 12:39pm]
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