10 Career Ideas for Liberal Arts Majors
Graduates of liberal arts programs are well-suited for a diverse slate of professional roles.
Despite the unfair reputation surrounding liberal arts degrees and their practical use, there are countless opportunities available to liberal arts graduates as they start their careers.
‘Liberal arts’ is a broad term, but it’s typically defined as subjects that provide general knowledge and intellectual capacities as opposed to vocational skills. These are degrees like English, history, social sciences, art, philosophy, or a general liberal arts degree. Liberal arts degrees provide some of the most sought after skills in the workplace like writing, communication, leadership, and management. Liberal arts majors receive a valuable education and come away with great ability in important areas like critical thinking, communication, creativity, and research. As most companies look for a range of soft skills when hiring for entry-level positions, students who majored in liberal arts are particularly well-suited for a diverse slate of roles. To showcase the variety of career options available, we’ve rounded up 10 careers that are well within reach for liberal arts majors.
1. Human Resources Coordinator
Working in HR can be a great choice for a liberal arts major who loves talking with people and making connections. Working in HR can vary in responsibilities but mostly includes the recruiting and screening of candidates for positions within the company and facilitating their interviewing process to the point of hiring. They also can work with employees on things like payroll, different training programs, and implementing company policies. Practically every company has an HR department, so the benefit of working in HR is that you can apply to a wide range of companies and really find a workplace that aligns with your values and suits you.
2. Teacher at a charter school
If you’re looking for a future career where you can really feel like you’re making a difference in people’s lives, teaching at a charter school is a great opportunity. Organizations like Success Academy seek out liberal arts grads for their program because the skills often translate well to teaching. This is a perfect position for professional growth as well. Success Academy offers weekly training throughout the year to help you develop new skills in areas like leadership, project management, public speaking, and data analysis. Even if you have no experience in teaching yet, Success Academy provides the support and training necessary to start out, and then you can build your career from there.
3. Member Advocate
Are you looking for an entry-level role that demands a balance of analytical thinking and interpersonal skills? Are you hoping to land a position in an industry with great job security? PURE Insurance, a fast-growing insurance carrier that specializes in the high net-worth market, seeks out liberal arts majors for its entry-level claims adjustment role, which they call a Member Advocate. The company looks for candidates with empathy, great communication skills, curiosity, and a passion for learning – all traits which are typically found in liberal arts majors. What’s more, even though Member Advocates are largely responsible for taking calls with PURE’s members and adjusting claims, the skills learned in the role lay the foundation for a number of different career paths, making it a perfect place to transition into a professional career. Read this article to hear first-hand how two liberal arts graduates began their careers as Member Advocates and continue to thrive professionally and personally at the company.
4. Sales Representative
Having a liberal arts degree puts you in a great position to pursue a career in sales. The main skills that hiring managers are looking for entry-level sales reps are a competitive edge, strong communication, writing ability, and the desire to talk with people to forge new relationships. You have to be able to handle rejection every now and then, but a career in sales can end up being rewarding both professionally and financially. There are plenty of financial incentives involved to keep you hitting your quota, and by earning commision you’re always motivated to work harder. Being a sales rep will also help you grow valuable skills that will set you up well for whatever position you transition to next.
While being a translator might not be the first thing you think of to use your liberal arts degree, if you can speak more than one language there’s a strong demand for your talent. Fluency in another language besides English combined with a liberal arts degree would be a great start for a career in translating. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for translators is expected to grow 45% from 2017-2022 which is a much higher rate of growth than many other occupations. This career also gives great flexibility, as translators are able to be hired on to a private company, do nonprofit work, or do freelance work and be their own boss.
6. Junior Business Analyst
While this role can vary across companies and industries, business analysts generally help a company fix a particular issue by looking into all available data and advise the best course of action. Sometimes a business analyst will bridge the gap between different departments, like an IT team and business team, in order to create the most efficient solution for how they can work together. This is a great career for someone who is personable, has strong skills in public speaking, negotiation and feels comfortable around data. This position can also be relatively well-paid – on average junior business analysts make over $60,000.
7. Marketing Coordinator
A marketing coordinator is responsible for implementing marketing and advertising campaigns along with others as part of a team. They mainly focus on the analytical side of marketing by providing sales data, market trends, putting together marketing events, and facilitating their own research. Marketing coordinators could also be involved in creating copy for a website, social media, and email campaigns, making it a good fit for writing-centric majors like communications or English, especially when paired with a business background. Starting out as a marketing coordinator is a good idea if a future career as a marketing manager or marketing specialist interests you.
8. Customer Service Associate
Sometimes also called a customer experience associate, this is a position that every company needs, so one benefit of pursuing this option after graduation is the number of hiring opportunities. Companies will be looking for strong communication skills, problem solving skills, and creativity. Majors like psychology, sociology, business, and communications can all be helpful for this position as it’s a customer-facing role. Customer service associates mainly handle questions and complaints about the company’s products or services and sometimes also assist placing orders. If you’re a multitasker who loves helping people and solving issues, this could be a great position to pursue.
If you majored in a writing-heavy subject like English, Communications, Journalism, or Literature, a future as a full-time writer can easily be within your grasp. There’s a wide range of writing jobs available and you can pivot your career to your individual interests. One lucrative position is a technical writer who breaks down difficult information to understandable terms. A technical writer often needs experience in the industry they’re writing about, so this can be a good fit for someone with a STEM minor, or even someone with a STEM major who also has a strong writing portfolio.
10. Public Relations Specialist
To get into the public relations industry, a degree in communications can be a good place to start. Often these jobs require some sort of background in PR so an internship or on-campus experience would be a great way to get a basic understanding of the industry and responsibilities. This is a great career for someone who is analytics-focused with strong writing skills, and thrives on successful results. Even within PR there are many different routes to pursue from working at in-house for a large company, to working for an individual client and shaping their image. With an average base salary of $58,000 this can be both a rewarding and financially stable position.
As a liberal arts major, it can get old hearing the same questions about how you’ll use your degree after graduation, but the truth is that plenty of opportunities are out there. A great way to get a head start on your future career is using the time you have in school to try things out and gain valuable experience. As a liberal arts major, you have the freedom to choose your own path from a number of great options.