You’ve heard it before, the dreaded question that everyone seems to ask after you explain what you decided to study. “So what do you want to do with that?” The question makes you squirm, but at some point you’ll need to address it, if only to figure out how to start repaying your student loans. The future can seem far away now, but when you have a solid plan, the rest will come easy.
We’ve put together a list of five ways to parlay your humanities degree into a real career that pays real money. Take a look and find a place where you might be able to belong.
This part should be no problem for you. You’re good at thinking deeply, after all you did major in humanities. Step one is to consider what living well means for you. Try to identify your top three priorities. For example, you might crave getting married, or owning a home. Others might prefer a life of adventure and travel. Humanities might be important to you now, but understand what you want from the future and what kind of job will keep you happy for the longest. Whatever it is, before you do anything else consider your priorities and what you want out of a career.
Once you understand what your most important goals are, develop a concrete vision of success. Maybe you want to get into a trial advocacy degree program before you’re 30, or be making enough to finance a home by your mid-forties. Write down a list of what quantified success looks like. Decide how much schooling you want done and by when. It’s important to create a timeline to know if you’re on track. Talk to a counselor at school if you can so they can help you make a manageable time table to follow, and you won’t be stretching yourself.
Map It Out
With definite goals in mind, start thinking about how to achieve them. This can seem like the most challenging part, but the key is to be creative. Identify transferable skills that will be valuable for a potential employer and explain them in your cover letter. A philosophy major might cite their ability for critical and analytical thought. Students of psychology could explain their natural understanding of others. If you’re having trouble identifying your skill set, ask professors, friends, and former supervisors to list your top five best traits. A trend will soon emerge that you can capitalize on in applications. Market yourself. Make it clear to an employer why they should hire you.
Guess what? You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing. Be creative and innovative in defining your own path to a rewarding career. Get your feet wet with internships or volunteer experiences in fields that seem interesting. Don’t be afraid to take a job for a year or two that you’re unsure about. Every experience will help you learn what you enjoy and don’t enjoy doing. Soon you’ll be putting your abstract knowledge to work in a concrete way.
Humanities are a great thing to study and can lead you to many different career paths. Make sure you have goals in mind and a schedule in which to complete them. When you have a good direction to go in, you’ll be less likely to be sidetracked and drawn away from a career path in humanities. Just make sure you know what to expect and how your degree can help you get where you want to go.
***For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Brooke Chaplan!!***
About: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan