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Myth Busted: employers like humanities majors

by Jaymi Kent
Tue, Sep 19th 2017 07:00 pm
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There are a lot of misconceptions perpetuated by individuals and popular culture about degrees in the humanities fields being useless. It's important to know the truth before declaring a major.
Photo from Flickr There are a lot of misconceptions perpetuated by individuals and popular culture about degrees in the humanities fields being useless. It's important to know the truth before declaring a major.

Looking for a degree program that best suits them is one of the top priorities of college students. A degree program that will bring big bucks later on in life, and will hopefully cause the least amount of stress while trying to obtain it is what most students look for. Many articles, studies and the current job market reflect that STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) are the primary areas that will experience job growth; however, not everyone is passionate about these subjects, or good at them, and they must look elsewhere for a degree that better suits their needs and skills. 

“The jobs with highest demand for liberal arts majors are surprisingly diverse: intelligence analyst, client service specialist, signals intelligence analyst, business development manager and project manager—compelling, high-demand careers,” Forbes Magazine’s Rob Sentz said. This disputes the myth that everyone is looking for applicants with a degree in the STEM fields. It is, in fact, possible to get a job with a degree in the humanities. 

A lot of the stigma that surrounds the humanities is that subjects like English, foreign languages and gender studies are unnecessary and a waste of time. We, as college students, try to juggle our passion with what will sustain us financially. As simple as that sounds, it is not. 

“Employees hailing from a liberal arts background have honed valuable skills that might be left underdeveloped in other majors,” Sentz said. 

While one might not be aware of the immense amount of skills you could possibly learn with a humanities degree, they are there, and they are useful. 

“A lot of my students also face the fear of not being employed after college and I tell them ‘you have the skills, you just need to know how to market those skills’,” Meg Norcia, associate professor in the English department at The College at Brockport, said. 

Norcia expressed the importance of the skills that humanities majors gain that other college students may not develop, as well as the need for humanities students to realize they are not at a disadvantage in the job market. 

“A humanities degree teaches you how to take in information and summarize, how to edit and understand information, increases proficiency of communication skills, how to compare and contrast information, do in depth research on a subject with speed and precise information, and many more skills,” Norcia said. 

She even did a little bit of research of her own and applies it to a class she teaches called “Career Preparation for English Majors.” In this class, she teaches students how to market those skills and plan a career path, as well as how to get involved in services on and off campus that can increase their hiring potential. 

“I have an assignment where I tell my students to pick a company they may want to work for in the future, and then I tell them to work backwards in terms of what steps they may need to take to get to that position,” Norcia said. 

By completing this assignment, students are able to see what goes into looking for employment and gain valuable research methodology and information on their future career goals. 

When getting ready to declare a major, or considering switching majors, don’t be afraid to consider a degree in the humanities. Despite the myths, people with Arts and Humanities degrees have the same potential of getting a job as people with technical degrees. 

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