Best Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors

If liberal arts majors expect to be welcomed by potential employers at graduation time, they are clueless idiots. There's nothing wrong with spending four years studying the minor works of Yeats, but unless you expect to get a job with good old dad, you've wasted your time. I managed a large company's public relations division for 25 years, and had the responsibility of hiring some 20 new employees a year. They were all creative artists, but in much more practical ways.

I didn't consider myself prejudiced against liberal arts majors. After all, I was the proud owner of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, but it did me absolutely no good when I first went looking for a job. I starved until I got an assistantship in a grad school business communications program. I had nothing but understanding and sympathy for liberal arts grads who applied for work with my division. But I also had my own hard-nosed reasons for not choosing them as new employees.My requirements were simple. For my art section, I preferred applicants to have degrees in the practical arts, such as ad design, illustration and print graphics. This was before the computer graphics revolution, so the rules may be changed somewhat, but I don't think the situation is that different. I also demanded applicants bring along a portfolio of commercial art pieces to the interview, not traditional water colors, pastels and oils. They were my requirements because I needed people who could sit down the first day and design a sales promotion piece, a conference program or an ad.

For my editorial section, I demanded degrees in PR, advertising or business writing. Too many of the applicants for these jobs, especially those liberal arts majors, showed up with inspiring poems, autobiographic treatises and essays on … yes, Yeats, among others. I didn't need dreamers, and just as with the artists, I hired writers who could from day one on the job put together competent ads, sales promotion campaigns, write executive speeches and business conference continuities.

I considered these qualification simple enough for anyone to understand, and checked often with university ad and commercial art staffers to let them know that my demands were the industry norms. Unfortunately, when I spoke to liberal arts professors, most either scoffed at my crass attitude or didn't have a clue about what I was explaining.

The best paths for liberal arts majors, in my experienced and prejudiced opinion, is to change their majors as quickly as possible and go for a business degree. Of course, if they are independently wealthy and will never have to compete in the business world. I apologize for calling them idiots. They're really only misguided and foolish dreamers.

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