Thursday, April 05, 2007

Career in Humanities

The Special Branches of the Labor Union for Academic Professionals (which includes the Union of Academic Museum Employees in Finland) organised an event "Career 2007 - Road to Work" mostly for its student members.

During the day, we heard many success stories by several "humanities-hotshots", who have made great careers - some of them despite the fact that they had studied humanities, as one could gather. The bottom line was, that in order to get a good job one should also study some hard substance, for example economics, law, or political science to meet the recruiters' needs. Skills in IT, marketing and finances would help too. And last but not least, one would have to be a "good character".

According to a study published in the event, employers consider university graduates in humanities socially talented and good in expressing thoughts in writing. Also their communication skills are valued. On the other hand, only 48% of the respondents thought that they are critical thinkers or able to perceive large subject matters. Qualities, that were not attached to graduates in humanities, were leadership and project managing skills as well as ability to handle stress.

Many given advice made one wonder, whether the "dos" are likely to be "don'ts" in the museum sector. For example, sending an open application was encouraged, since 70% of the job openings are hidden. However, in a small sector as the museums, the straightforwardness may annoy the leaders and cause a negative impact. Also including all working experience one has could be hazardous. For museum sector, one might want to concentrate on experience connected to the degree or filling gaps after graduation.

To sum it up, it's okay if you studied humanities as long as you were clever enough to study some "real stuff", too. Employers like it if you are able to cite Plato or Nietzsche when consulting business managers...


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