So much has been said and written lately about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) that liberal arts majors may feel at a disadvantage in the job market. But liberal arts majors bring several important qualities to the job market. Here are answers to the three most urgent questions that liberal arts graduates regularly ask me about their resumes and career plans.
What fields can I enter as a liberal arts major?
Many leaders of organizations, even in the STEM fields, have majored in the liberal arts. Just three years ago, Fortune magazine interviewed top industry leaders at companies like American Express, Hewlett-Packard, and Blackstone Group. The interviewees majored in history, interdisciplinary studies, medieval history, sociology, and other liberal arts—yet became CEOs and founders of organizations in every field, including STEM. The results that Fortune publicized have been shown to be true every year since then for liberal arts majors. Your liberal arts major does not limit you, but opens doors in nearly every field.
What should my resume focus on?
Liberal arts majors have several qualities that make them stand out from STEM majors. One is passion: you have to be passionate about your English or sociology major when everyone is telling you “be an engineer.” Another is communication: a liberal arts major demands clarity in writing and speaking. Beyond that, your major and related jobs or internships may have given you experience in international studies and travel, statistics, economics, business, marketing, education and training, leadership, mentoring, administration, or law, all invaluable skills in any organization.
What are the primary dos and don’ts of a liberal arts resume?
The most important “do” is to focus your resume. Investigate companies you are interested in and jobs that you believe you are qualified for. Then target your resume for that job in those companies. The better your focus your resume, the more likely you will gain an interview.
The most important “don’t” is to not oversell yourself. A part-time sales clerk probably did not add that much to a company’s million dollar revenue increase; a summer intern at a nonprofit probably did not single-handedly improve outreach to clients. Make your contribution clear but keep it reasonable. Telling the truth in a resume is always a top priority.
Robin’s Resumes® has a long history of helping liberal arts majors land their first job. Contact us today.