5 Ways An Arts Degree Can Help You In The Workplace
So you’ve been studying a degree in the arts (English, Drama, Film, etc.) and now that graduation has come around, it’s quite possible that you’re not entirely sure what to do with the degree that you’ve been working to get for the last three years.
It is not a secret that it’s already difficult for graduates to get that first job to kickstart their careers, but when you’re studying a subject that doesn’t have a direct link to a career path, it can seem daunting to try and figure out where to go after graduation.
However, arts students tend to pick up and develop a number of useful transferable (soft) skills which can actually open up a lot of doors for them after graduation, according to Mark Harman to making them “work-ready“.
Instead of getting students ready for ONE job, an arts degree can prepare them for a whole variety of jobs! Here are some of the ways an arts degree can make you look more desirable to employers:
1. Research and Writing Skills
Research essays and dissertations were often the banes of an arts student’s existence. Alongside practical projects in which you were required to create and put hours of rehearsal time into a piece of theatre, or create a short film or an art piece, you were also asked to write extended essays (normally around 3,000 words long).
These essays teach students a lot about the best ways to research their topics, and how to structure and write an essay that would interest and captivate the reader. The topics were also pretty varied. For example, you could have been writing a comparison essay between two films one week, and the next you would be writing about the history of melodrama films in the 1940s and their reflections of American housewife culture during World War II. JSTOR was a student’s lifesaver.
These skills would be useful in both creative and analytical or research-based roles. Most roles would require at least some research or writing skills from you, and an arts degree is perfect for picking up those skills.
2. Presentation Skills and Confidence
Arts students (particularly drama students) are known for being very confident and outspoken people. Well, they have to be when their degree involves them performing in front of an audience of people.
Presentations are also a key part of the majority of degrees, and the arts are no exception. They are terrifying to many at first but the more you do, the better and more confident you become. Frequently presenting in front of others and receiving feedback will also help you to develop the correct body language and tone of voice when presenting.
Not only will they prepare you for presentations that you may be required to do in your future job, they will also improve your interview and verbal communication skills.
3. Collaborative Skills and Communication
Many arts subjects (particularly film and theatre) require A LOT of group work. Depending on the size of the group and the types of people you’re working with, group work can be extremely challenging. But it helps to put things into perspective. You frequently think: If I can complete a project with this group full of people who don’t show up half the time, I can do anything.
A skill that is desirable for a number of employers is the ability to work as part of a team. This all involves actively communicating (listening to other members as well as providing input) with your team members, being able to divide roles within the group, being reliable, and possibly taking on leadership roles.
4. Critical Thinking
BA degrees are often jam-packed with discussions and ideas rather than facts and figures. This encourages students to come up with and share their own thoughts and ideas on a specific piece of work or a particular theory.
Seminars are generally used to analyse the week’s film or piece of literature and reflect on its relevance to the time it was created and the audience it was created for.
To be able to come up with your own ideas and opinions is a valuable skill for the workplace according to the University of Prince Edward Island, as well as “critical reasoning, argumentation”, and thus the ability to solve any problems that may arise during projects and group work.
5. Creative Thinking
Finally, to be an arts student, it is very likely that you have to be creative! Projects and group work require you to come up with and develop your own ideas and, most importantly, they teach you how to bring those ideas to life.
If you’re looking for a role in any sort of content creation or marketing industry, you need to be full of creative ideas. A degree in the arts can help you to frequently find those ideas and make them a reality. Employers are looking for people who can come up with ideas for articles, advertisements, website improvements, anything that can help to drive the company forward!
So, go out there and succeed with that arts degree and the skills that you hadn’t even realised you had developed over those three years that you had spent at university!