Skip to main content

ASU scholars to discuss keys to job success for humanities students

graphic of man in suit with business-related items in the palm of his hand
April 09, 2015

As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, employment prospects are finally looking up for recent college graduates, a long awaited rebound from the lackluster career prospects offered by a sluggish economy.

However, three faculty members from Arizona State University say that just because things are starting to get better doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Through a study, they believe they may have found some of the keys to success – particularly for humanities undergraduates.

ASU associate professor Eva Brumberger and assistant professors Claire Lauer and Mark Hannah will present the results of their research, April 13, as part of the Institute for Humanities Research Humanities at Work Brown Bag Series.

Their study, which was sponsored by an Institute for Humanities Research Seed Grant, sought to understand the knowledge and skills that employers are looking for when new humanities graduates enter the writing workforce. Their goal was to discover how students can package their writing training and education into marketable skills during the hiring process.

By studying over 1,000 professional writing job advertisements, the team was able to contextualize sought-for technology and software skills, and identified the role that less quantifiable soft-skills – such as creative problem solving and critical thinking – play in the hiring process in order to train students to develop linguistic bridges that clearly articulate their professional writing expertise.

Brumberger, Lauer and Hannah believe that if we value the role that humanities play in the development of students into public citizens, then it is necessary for these students to be able to be taught the skills they will need to describe the significance and value of their work to others.

The Humanities at Work Brown Bag Series takes place once during the fall and spring semesters. This series seeks to find and celebrate humanities in unexpected places. For more information or to RSVP for the “Building Bridges from Humanities to Industry” event, go here.