Halfway through your arts course and facing a quarter-life crisis? Wondering what on earth to do when you get out of school? Tired of hearing that your only option is to teach?
A sound understanding of human psychology, communication, analytical and critical thinking skills – the domain of arts grads – are indispensable. Arts grads also write well – a skill that is transferable to every field, making them highly versatile and sought-after, not least in business and technology. Best of all, the art of communication and critical thinking will always be needed. ‘Cause we never go out of style.
Unconvinced? Here are 10 jobs to consider that you may not know about.
1. Sales representative
Are you a smooth-talking social butterfly who dreads being confined to a desk all day? A sales job is all about interacting with customers, which arts kids, being well-equipped with communication skills, are adept at. As a sales rep, you’ll need to listen and think from the customer’s point of view in order to help them with their needs. Some customers are tough nuts to crack, but you have been trained in the art of persuading your tutor to just give you that A of your argument in essays. After all those essays, you would also have acquired the language mastery to know the right way to put something across to get a sale.
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What to expect: You may have to work on nights and weekends, and travel to meet clients.
2. Retail manager
A retail manager’s job is to run a store successfully. Working on the shop floor, they are in constant contact with customers and staff – dealing with customer queries and complaints; recruiting, training, and supervising staff. A grasp of what makes people tick would serve you in motivating and developing others. For instance, the trick could be encouragement – but only a certain amount, served with specific praise. Eager to find narratives that make work meaningful, Arts grads can inspire others to make a difference.
Requirements: Previous management and retail experience typically required.
What to expect: Stores serve the public that works from 9 to 5 and thus shops in the evenings or weekends. Thus, you can expect to work non-traditional hours.
3. Public Relations specialist
PR specialists create campaigns on websites, newspapers, and TV to improve the community’s view and understanding of a company. The writing boot camp that is an Arts major will certainly prepare you for the job. To positively affect public opinion, you can cook up strategies backed by your nuanced understanding of existing perceptions. Having rubbed shoulders with all kinds of people in the arts faculty through projects or discussions, you would have cultivated strong communication skills to handle the public and media. In the face of adversity, you’ll be expected to make high-stakes decisions. As cultural critic Leon Wieseltier put it, “People in trouble don’t turn to regression analysis. Their souls require the fortification and the wisdom that only humanistic thinking can provide.”
Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, or a business-related field. Some employers may require a master’s degree.
4. Corporate communications specialist
A corporate communications specialist works to improve internal communications in a company, as well as its relationships with other companies and the public. Arts grads’ desire to understand people helps them form strong relationships quickly. Building bridges is a top priority for corporate communicators. Due to the many different majors, and the phenomenon of other faculties crashing arts mods, the arts faculty is full of people from diverse backgrounds. Just like the workforce. This will prepare you for working in a team environment. After years of essays, presentations and class part, you’d make for clear, confident and effective communicators – a must in leading events and writing emails to announce company news. As arbits grads are good with the big picture, they can examine processes to pin down areas of improvement to effect real change.
- experience in the communication field
- bachelor’s degree in communications or a related field
- basic computer skills to create reports, generate other documents and media, and communicate.
5. Human Resource specialist
HR specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They handle employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training. Arts grads make it their business to find narratives that make work meaningful, which will help the company attract top millennial talent. To resolve conflict reliably, you could apply the logical thinking you were trained in, as Kishore Mahbubani – who majored in philo – did to make convincing arguments that resonated with the international diplomats in the UN. The natural skepticism with which arts majors approach conventional wisdom also makes them better at giving advice, instead of platitudes. Tommy Koh professes that studying the arts also makes you more attuned to human complexities, and thus more empathetic and less quick to judge. With your people skills, you can balance enforcing policies for management and advocating for employees’ concerns, to gain the trust of all.
Requirements: bachelor’s degree and previous work experience in human resources.
6. Digital marketing specialist
Digital marketing specialists develop strategies to market a company’s product online. In your studies, you have analysed enough behaviour to figure out how people perceive and respond to ads depending on their content. The data on consumer behaviour doesn’t show the whole picture, but what it can’t tell you, your intuition for the subtleties of emotion and comfort coping with ambiguity can. The big picture, after all, is the business of the humanities. Being used to the creative process of brainstorming, you would also be efficient at coming up with ad ideas. Quick to draw connections and form stories behind things, your copywriting might be a hit – everyone likes a good story. According to Equinet Academy, the salary of a digital marketing exec/manager can range from 30k to 90k a year.
Requirement: A bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree in marketing and hands-on experience with marketing and e-commerce is preferred.
Bill Gates doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, the brilliant marketing campaign by the ALS Association
7. User Experience (UX) Designer
Are you a creative owl with an eye for detail? Can you tell a story visually? UX designers create designs for end users that are functional and aesthetic. They develop visual themes for brand communication across online channels. With your knowledge of human behaviour, you’ll be able to anticipate the user’s needs. As Mark Zuckerberg says, “Facebook is as much about psychology and sociology as it is about technology.” Your experience working with people from other majors will help in collaborating with other designers, clients, and engineers to improve user experience. The best ideas emerge from the intersection of technology and the humanities. Case in point? Pixar, one of the most successful studios in the history of cinema, had designers work together with computer scientists.
Requirements: A four-year bachelor’s degree is usually required, although an associate’s degree combined with additional field certifications and previous work experience can function as a substitute.
8. Social Media Manager
Are you a great storyteller? Chances are, people love you for your distinct voice – which is just what a brand needs. A social media manager builds an online reputation and community for a brand by creating engaging posts on social media. To create content that resonates with people, you’ll need a good sense of what people are drawn to. If you’re the sort to stay on top of trends, if you’ve mastered the art of posting at the right time to get the most likes, you might just be a natural at corporate social media strategy. Imagination is the secret ingredient for success – and according to Nazry Bahrawi, prominent SUTD lecturer and NUS research fellow, you beat out all the other grads here!
Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or a related field is generally required, and prior experience in a media capacity is highly beneficial.
9. Content manager
A content manager writes content and guides creatives to establish the voice of a brand. You would have ample editing experience, to ensure content is relevant and impactful. Being trained to think out of the box helps you come up with new ways to get web traffic. So for example, instead of giving the audience what they like (as told by the data), you might try to influence the audience’s tastes, going for enrichment instead of instant gratification. As a content manager you will get to manage creative staff, so you need to know how to harness creative talent to fulfil an artistic vision. Again, no problem for an arts grad!
Requirements: vary. Brand content management may require a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or a related field. For web content management, organizations highly value practical experience. In all cases, a web-based content provider will likely prefer some HTML programming and layout experience, plus understanding of basic computer software. Not to worry – these skills can be acquired via external courses.
Check out Netflix’s sexy landing page.
10. Technical Writer
Technical writers write instruction manuals that communicate complex, technical information in non-technical language to ordinary people. You would have encountered enough torturous readings to know convoluted explanations are less than helpful.
Hopefully you have learnt to write simply, clearly and logically. It’s a plus if you are inquisitive on top of having a basic grasp of sociology – useful for figuring out how readers think and how best to deliver content to them.
Requirements: Employers of technical writers often require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Experience with a technical subject such as engineering and computer science.
The ability to imagine, inspire, and create – the lifeblood of organisations – runs deep in every job-hunting arts grad’s soul. Whether it knows it or not, the corporate world needs you. So go on out there and shine. Digital Senior wishes you the best of luck in finding your dream job.