Five strategies for finding your dream job with an arts degree

Career Advice
05 September 2018 | Career Advice | Guest Author

Long live the stereotypes about arts degrees giving no real-world applications to their holders! Once you graduate from the university, you start hearing this question more often than you'd like:

"So, where are you going to work with your arts qualification?"

Been there, done that. The good news is, the traits and skills you've learned during the years in college can work in your favour while job searching. More and more companies recognise the value of arts degree holders who are creative thinkers and therefore able to bring non-standard approaches to work.
What you need to do is take an alternative approach to a job search. These five strategies will come in handy:

Identify your transferable skills.
The first and foremost challenge for arts graduates is the need to figure out how to sell your degree to prospective employers. For that, identify transferable skills and use them as actionable examples in your CV. It will help to understand what job options you have; use the list of your transferable skills to learn the types of roles you can look for.
Did research and wrote great essays in college? Consider analytics, marketing, and content creation. Were time management and public speaking your strengths while studying? Try applying to a non-profit organization. A great communicator and creative thinker? Administration or teaching could be a route for you.
Even when it comes to tech or science, you might learn they pay more attention to a candidate's soft skills than hard ones. So emphasising them in your CV can make all the difference in your job search.

Concentrate on what you did outside of the classroom.
Chances are that you joined a society or took additional modules while studying. Together with your core subject(s), your sphere of interests might include programming, ABC of finance, volunteering, language classes, or any other hobbies outside of the arts. These experiences can help you find a dream job, too. Take a look back at them and see what you can gain from them. Mention them in your CV to boost new job opportunities.

Create your online portfolio.
Rumor has it, arts degree grads are creative people. So, chances are you've already highlighted this aspect of your personality. No matter what your expertise is, — a writer, a graphic designer, an architect, or a painter — make sure to create an online portfolio with your work so prospective employers can see your talent and skills.
Don't forget to craft your social media profiles, too. Hiring managers won't miss Facebook or Instagram pages to learn more about candidates. Also, pay special attention to LinkedIn: this social network is becoming ever more popular, and it's the best platform to showcase your professionalism and openness to job opportunities.

Practice explaining why you chose an arts degree.
Your arts subject is another hook for hiring managers to ask why you've chosen it as a degree. Be ready for such questions during job interviews, and make sure to prepare yourself for them. Turn your arts degree to your credit, explaining why you chose it; what you have learned is an opportunity to showcase yourself and prove your uniqueness to prospective employers.
Decide on a clear answer to this question. Explain what you've gained from your arts degree, how this particular field influenced your worldview, what it contributed to your professionalism, and how it led you to the decision to work at their company. It will help an interviewer see who you are and understand that you are a person who knows exactly what they want.
To get comfortable and confident in telling others why the arts was your chosen area to study, practice speaking about it with a friend, a relative, or even a mirror. Although the reasons and benefits for such choice may seem obvious to you, it's not always that easy to find the right words for explaining it to others.

Make a job search plan.
No matter what they say, your degree in an arts subject gives tonnes of job opportunities in different industries. You can't apply for them all, so a smart decision would be to narrow down the options and concentrate on those that fit your skills and ambitions most.
Look back at your experiences and define a career path to follow. What would be the most enjoyable? What niches do you consider most significant to concentrate on? What problems or issues do you care about? Answer these questions honestly to focus on the fields that will help to fulfill your potential.
Make a list of patterns you would like to see in your future job as well as what you can offer to your chosen sphere. Review your CV, craft it accordingly. Also, make a list of jobs you would like to apply to — and stick to your plan when sending your applications out.
In case your chosen career path requires alternative knowledge and skills alongside your arts degree, consider postgraduate study options. While you might choose the arts to follow your passion, post-graduation this will help to focus your job search plan.
The most popular postgraduate courses among arts degree holders are journalism, education, marketing, psychology, and social work. They will give you the advanced knowledge for launching your chosen career as an expert in your chosen field.
It's a myth that arts degree holders won't get their dream job as fast as their technical peers. Concentrate on your strengths, consider your creative thinking when developing a job search strategy, craft your CV and cover letters with your transferable skills in mind — and the perfect job offer will be yours before you know it.

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