It’s a comfortable discussion for business students- requirements for a resumes and cover letters, job qualifications, and the eventual entrance into the workforce. But try to discuss the same things with liberal arts students and you’ll see them squirm. This is because a typical liberal arts curriculum typically skirts around the careers it’s students will pursue when they finally have that degree. However, liberal arts grads will be entering the same job market as those business school grads, so why shouldn’t we be just as prepared?
Taking Professionalization Workshop has allowed me to see how little professional training we receive as liberal arts students. My professors rarely talk about job interview tips or resumes, and friends and family assume I will go to law school after graduation. This class has showed me that it is okay to look for jobs that don’t readily bring to mind a liberal arts background. I do believe that this type of course should be required for all students before they graduate. Universities obviously know the value of their graduates getting jobs, and most have Career Centers to help in the job search. However, not all students are aware of their career center, or if they are, they don’t use it. Some will have helpful websites, like this one from Emerson University. But one on one mentoring and peer evaluations of documents like resumes and cover letters cannot be matched by a checklist online.
Even the University of Arkansas, with University Perspectives , has a chance to improve in this area. University Perspectives is a great opportunity to teach students about the job application and interview process. Instead, time is used to discuss library hours and how to take notes in a lecture class, which are things that are easily learned elsewhere. Every student would benefit from a class like the Professionalization Workshop, because every student will soon enter the workforce and have to figure it out. Colleges can give their graduates a leg up in the job market by equipping them will well prepared resume, cover letters, and interview skills.
Other students would greatly benefit from a Professionalization Workshop class. I know many people stress about the job search as they near graduation, and they aren’t alone. When we go online or turn on the TV, we are bombarded with stories about how the job market is the worst it’s been in years, and how our careers look bleak. However, it is possible that we just need to be better prepared to claim the jobs that are available. It’s not that there aren’t enough jobs out there, it’s that we don’t know how to successfully apply and interview for them to get them. This is where classes like Professionalization Workshop come in- having a mandatory course to help you wow your future employers would not be a waste on any student. A good resume and a convincing cover letter can be the things that get you an interview instead of the person that has the same GPA, extracurriculars, and experience.
I researched the career field of local government jobs for the final assignment, and even though I have known for a while that this would be a great field for me, I had no idea what kind of jobs were out there and what qualifications I needed to get them. The final project helped me create a resume that is specifically tailored to a local government job, and earn how to make each of the resumes I use a unique document, made for a specific job. I have learned how to explain my experience and skills in many different ways in order for them to apply to different career paths, which is something that I never thought I needed to do on a resume. Before this class, I saw my resume as a document that explained everything about me, where everything was important and nothing was left out. Now I know what to keep on the resume and what is not as relevant. Before this class, I wasn’t sure what a cover letter looked like or if employers even wanted one. These are things that I would have suffered for not knowing when I entered the job market in a few short months.
Other Political Science students, like myself, can get caught up in the “tracks” that are available for us. We can go to law school, teach government and history classes, or do research. These are not the only options! Creating the documents for three diverse jobs in different fields showed me that a liberal arts degree- Political Science or not- has many applicable uses and benefits. Seniors will especially benefit from this class. Professionalization Workshop can help students realize that if they don’t want to go to law school, they shouldn’t have to. All liberal arts degrees open diverse opportunities to graduates. This class can help students realize what those opportunities are, and make sure they are prepared to apply for them.
I am very grateful for this class. I feel much more prepared for future job hunting and interviewing. I believe that all college students, from business to liberal arts to architecture, would greatly benefit from taking a similar class. So while this class could be viewed as just another class that is part of University Core, or just another requirement for graduation, I think most students will find it extremely helpful and relevant to real life.