Graduates with arts degrees tend to have a particularly tough time seeking out a job.
Whereas the likes of medicine and computer science graduates are set to follow a pretty fixed path following their graduation ceremonies, the world really is your oyster if you leave university with an arts degree.
This can be a good thing – with so many options you have an exciting and varied range of career choices laid out before you – but a globe-sized oyster can also be pretty terrifying.
How on earth are you going to make a decision about which career path to pursue? In fact, where do you even start?
Those who start thinking about their career plans early on tend to be much more prepared than those who leave it until their final year at university – or after graduation.
“Your career is not point A to point B. It’s more like a meandering stream,” says Clare Tattersall, manager of career development and community-based learning at Huron University College.
Without a fixed path, you need to take responsibility for your own career prospects. Undertaking an arts degree is akin to beginning a journey uncertain where you’ll end up, so you need to start thinking about graduate recruitment
as soon as possible.
“It’s important for arts students and all students to gain work experience while they’re still in school,” says Aleasha McCallion, manager of workplace learning at UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement and Careers.
“Students who start to think about their career plans early and start to get involved a little bit at a time are much more successful and prepared by the end of their degree,” she added.
Improve your skill set
Clare maintains that communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills are routinely listed by employers as being the most desirable attributes in their workplace.
Communication – whether you’re sitting around a table discussing the ins and outs of The Moonstone or furiously debating the state of the economy in Spanish, arts students are well acquainted with communicating on a daily basis. Give your CV the competitive edge by joining a society that is heavily based around communication, such as the student radio or newspaper, or debate society.
Teamwork – essays and presentations account for a substantial portion of an art student’s degree, and as some of these are completed in groups, your degree already has teamwork covered. However, you can build on this skill by joining a sports team or volunteering in the community.
Make the most of your arts degree: treat every experience as an opportunity to identify your interests, and ultimately, your career goals.