You probably didn’t expect to spend the final year of your degree asking yourself, what job should I do next? Sometimes it seems as though everyone’s third year is preceded by a summer internship and that they’re spoilt for choice of grad schemes that lead seamlessly on to a career. But sometimes, Humanities students might need to change their expectations. Your journey to a job will not necessarily be as linear as it was for your peers in STEM subjects.
It is completely acceptable to feel lost after graduating, and realistically, most people will not land their dream job as soon as they walk out of their last exam. Yet fortunately, there are ways to make your Humanities degree useful and even desirable. Here is how to decide what job you should do after university:
How can I decide what to do?
Process of elimination
Although many are wary of aptitude tests, they can be helpful for ruling out options. Just as the rhyme ip-dip-doo can quickly confirm what you didn’t know you wanted. Work experience is another way to understand an industry, even if you are still uncertain about pursuing it. Reach out to contacts, or make new ones – ask around your classmates, housemates, alumni from your course, your favourite seminar tutor, or don’t forget the university career advisors. Shadowing someone during work experience is an excellent way to narrow down your interests, but remember that one week at one company does not represent an industry.
Network network network
Or in other words, LinkedIn LinkedIn LinkedIn. Make yourself a LinkedIn account and start adding contacts. In fact, all social media can become a platform full of opportunities if you follow those whose careers you admire or companies you would like to work for. Twitter is equally useful, and don’t underestimate the power of an old fashioned email.
Life is experience
Your time at university has granted you far more than academic skills because every activity you do can be useful experience with the right perspective. Think about moments you’ve enjoyed, be that volunteering, participating in a sports team, taking on a role in a committee or exec. Ask yourself, what about these moments did you enjoy? Perhaps it was managing events, leading others, connecting to people’s stories, or promoting something on social media.
Some ideas of careers to consider:
- Average salary – £27,000 per year
- Skills needed: customer service skills, attention to detail, teamwork, leadership, communication
- Where to find more
Social Media Manager
- Average salary – £25,000 per year
- Skills needed: copywriting, research skills, SEO knowledge, creativity, customer service skills
- Where to find more
- Average salary – £30,000 per year
- Skills needed: patience, creativity, enthusiasm, confidence, conflict resolution
- Where to find more
Don’t downplay your Humanities degree
A Humanities degree is equally as useful as STEM subjects, although it might not directly train you for a specific profession. Think about the skills you’ve gained over your degree when deciding on what job to pursue.
Use your interests
Follow your interests, your favourite modules, the best assignment grades you received, and the subjects that you want to learn more about. Perhaps there are industries linked to these interests, even if you can’t exactly find a job at Jane Austen’s Pemberley. Could a love of ecocriticism lead to a career in sustainability? Or could your passion for diverse representation lead to a career in HR? Could your curiosity in young minds lead you into teaching?
Use your skills
Essay based subjects require significant research skills. All-nighters in the library require thorough attention to detail and the ability to cut through the useless. Research and editing skills are valuable to so many professions. Similarly, you have learnt how to read analytically, understanding how everything has various interpretations, hidden bias, or appeal to different groups. While thorough analysis could be useful for a career in law, these different perspectives could lend a great hand to marketing or advertising, for example.
Use your opinion
Most valuable is your ability to form and craft an argument of your own. While walking out of third year into a finance grad job might seem attractive in a moment of desperation, remember that your ability to have an opinion is the reason you completed your degree. All employers value those who can present their point of view convincingly. The skill of telling your own side of a story is highly attractive to creative industries, such as journalism or TV production.
When deciding what job you should do after university, number crunching or unemployment are not the only options. There might not be a role that you perfectly fit into, but exploring different industries will help you understand where your interests lie. Humanities degrees are not less valuable because they don’t train you for a specific area – they are more flexible, as you can apply yourself to so many different industries. Take your time, try out as many different options as possible, and trust that your Humanities degree can lead you to a great career.