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Liberal Arts Grads: How to land a job

Jayne Matthews Hopson | 6/13/2014, 6 a.m.
As college graduations draw to a close, a “Business Insider” blog titled “How To Land A Job With A 'Useless' ...

Many of Caitlin’s “classmates didn’t intern or volunteer. So they have no experience and wonder why people won’t hire them.” Vanerkamp says “The reasoning I heard a lot from both undergrads and grad students was, 'I'm focusing on school,' but honestly people hiring rarely look at your GPA, so why would you focus on that?” Research supports this conclusion, “only two percent of employers in a Millennial Branding survey ranked GPA as the most important factor in hiring.”

Conventional wisdom says internships often lead to full-time employment upon graduation. Vanderkamp advises students to seek paid internships whenever possible. A new study from InternMatch finds that “students who’ve done paid internships are three times more likely have job offers at graduation than those doing unpaid ones.”

It is also recommended students seeking an arts degree build a portfolio of their work. “Smart job seekers know that class work doesn’t show what you can do in the real world. If you don’t have a huge network or experience, then you need to come up with a different way to show what you’re capable of. The good news— particularly for those in creative fields— is that college presents opportunities to build a portfolio you won’t get later.”

“You can encourage your fellow dance class students to perform your choreography, or your drama class students to stage your play,” says Vanderkamp. Her idea to stage an exhibition of artwork and asking local publications to cover it is an excellent way to get for a freshly minted artist to get their work before the public.

Next week: More career advice for liberal arts grads

Jayne Matthews Hopson writes about Education Matters because “only the educated are free.”