Who says liberal arts degrees don’t lead to rewarding, successful, lucrative careers? (Certainly not us—we’ve written before about six well-paying jobs for liberal arts graduates.)
The truth is that a degree in the liberal arts or humanities can open a lot of doors for your career, and may even make you stand out among other applicants when applying for jobs with some companies. In fact, there are tons of cases where liberal arts graduates have gone on to not only do well in their careers, but also change the world.
Whether your focus is on history, economics, literature, social work, or something else altogether, an education in liberal arts will prepare you for your career by teaching you essential skills that employers are looking for.
One of the most important skills you’ll learn in a liberal arts program is how to communicate. This doesn’t just mean how to express yourself and your ideas (though that’s important, too); it also means how to receive and interpret information, how to facilitate the exchange of ideas in one-to-one situations and large group settings, and how communication impacts your goals and the goals of your organization.
Gifted communicators are educated across many different disciplines, including writing, telecommunications, journalism, women’s studies, education, and social work. While in school, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to practice and develop your ability to speak and listen.
Being able to think critically is fundamental for so many positions across so many industries. Companies are looking for individuals who can examine a problem, conceive of many possible outcomes, and think through creative solutions.
Liberal arts courses across many disciplines will hone your ability to perceive and explore as you work to solve problems, think creatively, and understand complex challenges, no matter where your career takes you.
One of the most essential—but also overlooked—traits in a prospective employee is the ability to empathize with others: with clients, with customers, and with co-workers. A well-developed sense of empathy is absolutely essential in fields like human resources, social work, teaching, communications, and management.
Studying the liberal arts—history, sociology, psychology, literature, and other disciplines that explore the human condition—will help you understand the needs of others, how to help them, and how to collaborate in a professional environment. In turn, this will help you build better relationships and improve your career.
Knowing what you know—and what you don’t—will help you succeed in situations where you’re asked to integrate ideas and learn about something new. You may be asked to research a new product during development, understand market trends, or explain what others in your field have already discovered.
The liberal arts are built on a foundation of research, and while working on your degree you’ll encounter plenty of opportunities to hone your research skills, how to take advantage of research tools and services, and how to synthesize complex ideas.
Most of the liberal arts classes you take will involve lots of writing, and that’s a good thing. Being able to write well is a universal skill that will help you in virtually any career—whether it be business, academia, science, non-profits, marketing, and everything else you can think of.
Still unsure about your major? Check out IPFW’s Pathways program.