How to land an awesome grad job with an Arts degree

January 02, 2017
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In the same way we were all desperate for 2016 to end, arts students are just as desperate to find work after graduating.

That's no slight on arts students either, the job market is tough for everyone. The thing about arts courses though, is that there's definitely a negative stigma attached, irrespective of where or what you study. Employers look at that label and can be turned off by all the memes and jokes that are made about arts students.

So here are the things the downtrodden arts student can do, to claw their way to the top and overcome the stigma…

Getting uncomfortably friendly with lecturers and academics

Ew, right?

Don't make it weird please, I mean actually being friends with them because whilst you’re a student, your professional network game is going to be weak. But the professional network your lecturers and other academics at your uni have will be near its peak – so who better to help you get into the workforce, in your given field!

Being a teacher's pet is essentially a must in the arts student employment world.

Taking extra classes to add to your employability

This is a pretty important one, upskilling is very advantageous when competing against all those other arts students around the world, going for the job you want.

Having that extra couple of classes, a leadership unit or management course could make all the difference and have your CV sitting above the rest.

Internships are as valuable as your grades

If you're the type of person who skips over reading the internship opportunities chain emails in your uni inbox, stop doing that.

There are people who get paid to sift through legitimate work experience placements so you have contacts and hours practicing what you're learning to do.

Your degree is basically a stamp of approval on the skills and experience you should have accumulated during that time – try not to spend all those years partying when you could be getting an edge with work experience…

Hiding your degree behind a different name

Arts? Nope, Bachelor of Journalism.

Creatively disguising your arts degree behind more workplace specific labels is a handy way to sound like a better fit for a given position.

Or you can sign up for a masters or honours program and sink a couple more years into uni – but who wants to do that?

Boost your personal brand

You may love social media, you mate hate social media, but using it as a tool for employment can be the key to making sure employers see your original style and know what your all about.

They may think they’ve sneakily stumbled upon your Facebook account, trying to suss out if you’re a decent candidate, but little do they know you’ve planned out every aspect of that profile to make you seem like the best employee they’ve ever seen.

Tailor your social media to represent your competitiveness and interest in your own field, it works.

Making sure your CV ticks all the HR boxes

Often, when many people are applying for one position, the human resources department will use a search function to make sure your resume and cover letter address the key criteria they’ve outlined in the job description.

If your application doesn’t have those key words… it goes straight in the bin.

If all else fails, tack on a teaching unit and continue the cycle of employability

It's a tried a true method – if there aren't any job opportunities for the very niche field you may be studying - then go back to uni and teach it to others.

Arts can be very much the great academic circle jerk of employment, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. You'll just have to find an aging professor in your field to either 'gently suggest' they retire or wait out their tenure.

Or, work at Maccas!

No, that was a joke. You didn't just go through a three-year degree to be a fry cook for the rest of your life…

Plus, you've probably already aged out of the employability limit for Maccas anyway…

Harrison Johnstone

A country kid at heart with city slicking aspirations in his head, Harrison is an aspiring journalist, video editor and human being.

Image: The To-Do List official Facebook page