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How Liberal Arts Graduates Can Improve Their Employment Prospects
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The following digest reviews the article “The Art of Employment: How Liberal Arts Graduates Can Improve Their Labor Market Prospects” by Burning Glass Technologies. The full article can be viewed at: http://burning-glass.com/wp-content/uploads/BGTReportLiberalArts.pdf


Article Summary:

According to a recent report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, Liberal Arts and Humanities (9.0%), Social Science (10.3%) and Arts (9.8%) graduates have among the highest unemployment rates of all college graduates. With this information in mind, an analysis was conducted by Burning Glass on the availability of entry-level jobs and skills required to obtain them in order to provide insights on how Liberal Arts graduates can improve their employment prospects.

The analysis revealed that by combining a field-specific skill set with the soft skills that form the foundation of a liberal education, Liberal Arts graduates can nearly double the number of jobs available to them. It is important to note that the soft skills required in many positions (oral communication, adaptability, and problem solving) are cornerstones of many Liberal Arts degrees. However, it was also found that employers desire candidates with both field-specific and broad-based knowledge and skills. Hence, by adding an additional element of field-specific skills to a Liberal Arts education, students can significantly broaden their job prospects.


Implications for Career Services Professionals:

In addition to helping students understand the skills needed by employers and the importance of pursuing internships to build workplace-specific skills, career services professionals may also consider finding novel ways to engage Liberal Arts academic departments to partner with technical skills training organizations or certificate-granting offices on campus. It is important for career services professionals to make highly visible the fact that Liberal Arts students may benefit from developing field-specific skill sets as an addition to their soft skills. One idea might be a marketing campaign for a career programming week aimed at bringing awareness to training programs and other venues by which students can gain such field-specific skills. Competitions that involve interdisciplinary projects could be another avenue to attract employers’ attention on Liberal Arts students.  


Implications for Recruiting Professionals and Employers:

Employers should consider including liberal arts students in their targeted recruitment, even if they are recruiting technical roles. Additionally, employers can also drive facilitation between technical and liberal arts colleges through offering to sponsor such competitions. Additionally, employers can consider offering a professional training certification for potential new hires from Liberal Arts colleges and utilizing existing relationships with career services offices on campus to market the opportunity. 
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