Liberal arts grads are not all doomed

(Courtesy Philosophy Talk)

(Courtesy Philosophy Talk)

By Rahaf Khalil

With three weeks left before exams, summer is quickly approaching.

For most, this time is a source of happiness as we collectively scramble to meet deadlines for assignments and review (or cram) our course material before finals.

For others — myself included — it is also a time of anxiety and a great deal of self-doubt.

In case you haven’t guessed already, I’m graduating this year. While most people would view this as a cause for celebration, for many of us graduating with a liberal arts degree it can feel akin to marching towards your own funeral.

Although studying humanities is fulfilling in many ways, it can feel somewhat debilitating.

It is a sad fact that most liberal arts graduates feel that their education has left them ill-prepared for the professional world.

To add to the mix, the youth unemployment rate has reached a whopping 13 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

While the reality may be discouraging, I am going to share with you three important tips that I have picked up that will make your outlook a little less gloomy:

1) Speak to a career counsellor
The Ryerson Career Centre offers an online appointment booking service for a sit-down counselling session on almost all job-related inquiries, including career and job searching. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is a great place to start.

2) Do your homework
No one else can determine what kind of job will suit you better than yourself.
Begin by figuring out what job or career qualities you care about and list them in order of importance.
Next, make note of your skills. Even if you don’t have much experience, your humanities degree has supplied you with an arsenal of transferable skills — excellent oral and written communication skills, advanced research and analytical skills, organization, time-management and many more. Own them.

3) Network
Once you’ve narrowed down potential career paths, this step is crucial. Create a LinkedIn account. Sometimes career opportunities flourish in the most unexpected places. You never know who your second cousin on your mother’s side has in their network, so don’t be shy.
Then look for networking events for the career and industry of your choice, both online and through the university.
For instance, Ryerson is hosting a Faculty of Arts networking event on Thursday, April 7. These events are the best way to meet industry professionals, find out more about the career you’re interested in and establish a memorable first impression.
Add these connections to your LinkedIn network and these contacts may lead to a future employment offer.

Following these steps is a great way to take a proactive approach to your future. Liberal arts graduates have much to offer in almost any workplace, so stay positive — the opportunities are diverse.

Keep in mind that career planning is a never-ending process and it changes as you develop new skills and interests.

Good luck in your job hunt. The best is yet to come.

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