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Congratulations On Your Humanities Degree. Now What?

Well, you’ve worked hard for the last several years and you made it through university. Those years of getting yourself out of bed and into class, completing assignments, participating in class discussions, studying for hours on end, and pulling at least a few all-nighters have finally awarded you with a degree. In humanities. Now it’s time to work even harder to find a job. Some graduates may leave campus with lucrative job offers in hand, but unfortunately, many who leave with a humanities degree do not. On top of that, the position of humanities in the majority of salary surveys of the best and worst majors for earnings can make job hunting all the more discouraging. So congratulations on your humanities degree, but now what?

First off, the statistics on employment for humanities majors aren’t as bad as one might be led to believe. While STEM majors, those in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, have the highest average salaries straight out of university, their rate of unemployment is quite similar to that of humanities majors. The fact is there is NO perfect major out there. What was hot when you started college may not be by the time you graduate. If you study something you enjoy learning, you are going to be better engaged with the material and perform better academically. Higher GPAs can lead to better career opportunities and studies have shown class rank to be strongly linked to earnings, regardless of industry or occupation.

As a humanities major, you will likely have well-developed communication skills, including a highly prised aptitude in writing, speaking, and relating to other people. As companies grow increasingly more aware of the importance of relationships both with the customers or clients and with employees, these skills are going to help set you apart. The ability to write well never goes out of fashion and while machines and computers have made some skills and jobs redundant around the world, there are many jobs that still require the complexities of a human brain and cannot be outsourced overseas to cheaper unskilled labourers. Roughly a third of all jobs in developed nations and a quarter of jobs in developing nations are based on interactions between people. This ability to relate more easily and skillfully with people is crucial in effective management and will give you the advantage over your competition when your company is looking for a new manager.

As many top companies around the world like Google, Sony, and H&M have learnt, success on the job depends heavily on adaptability and the ability to learn on the job, as well as social and emotional intelligence, particularly for those who would like to be managers. Specialised skills like coding and engineering can be learned with enough motivation with plenty of free online resources to teach yourself, but understanding people, however, requires a different kind of analysis and that is far harder to learn on your own without a formal humanities training. You might be an engineering genius, but that’s of little value if you can’t effectively convey your ideas to other people and lead them successfully. This is where humanities majors will have the upper hand.

While it is true that a humanities degree alone may not fast track you into a high-paying job immediately after finishing university, but many of your skills are of considerable value in the workplace and are transferable across different industries and positions. You just need to market yourself the right way to potential employers. Nowadays it is not so unusual for people to switch careers several times so the skills you gain from a humanities degree will be valuable over the long haul as you make your way through your professional career. Despite the hype surrounding STEM majors, your humanities degree can open many doors for you as well. Add in some in-demand skills like coding and you could be well on your way to a successful career post-graduation.