Sell Your Liberal Arts Skills

Photo of a male student speaking with a recruiter at a career fair.

Liberal Arts Skills at Work

Why we're here:
Hanover’s purpose is to provide its students an excellent education. Through the classroom, students develop a range of skills that have direct bearing on their future success in the workplace. Throughout their years at Hanover, students develop increasing skill in writing, speaking, and research. They learn to integrate ideas, to think critically and to solve problems. All these skills are fundamental to most professional jobs.


Breadth is valuable:
Part of what distinguishes a liberal arts education is the breadth of exposure to different disciplines our students receive. They conduct research on topics outside their expertise, learning to write persuasively and to speak knowledgeably about subjects even when they lie outside their interests. Liberal arts students gain the ability to adapt to different environments, to understand and articulate disparate viewpoints, and to learn information quickly, all of which are important in many jobs and central to upward mobility in most.


You are groomed for success:
Because our classes are small and we place an emphasis on high quality teaching, students are assigned numerous projects requiring them to develop their writing, critical thinking, speaking, and research skills. Frequently Hanover students will have written over 75 papers in their four years here. Likewise, our students take essay tests, rather than computer-scannable tests, further developing the skill of formulating an argument and supporting it with evidence. Again, because classes are small, many professors require in-class presentations and include individual participation in daily discussions as a course requirement, giving students ongoing practice in articulating their ideas.


Selling your background:
It is important that liberal arts students understand the value of their education and the extensiveness of their opportunity to develop fundamental skills so that they can sell these skills to potential employers. The following are some ways in which Hanover students develop these skills and employers require them:

  • Writing Skills
    Developed in class through:
    Term papers, essay tests, lab reports, notebooks, article summaries, journals, creative writing, case reports, internship essays, peer reviews, literature reviews.
    Used on the job by: 
    Composing correspondence; writing reports, briefs or proposals; editing; proofreading; keeping records; writing copy for sales, advertising, or newspapers; developing brochures, or promotional materials.
  • Speaking Skills
    Developed in class through:
    In-class presentations and reports, classes that base grades on participation or that encourage participation in class discussions, speeches, theatre performances, group projects, study groups, convocations, good papers project, and internship presentations.
    Used on the job by: 
    Interviewing, persuading, negotiating, selling, advising, answering questions, counseling, soliciting funds, supervising, representing organizations, surveying, working with  public, making presentations.

  • Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills
    Developed in class through:
    Exams, literature or journal article critiques, analysis and critique of arguments during class, analytical papers.
    Used on the job by: 
    Developing ideas, reasoning, analyzing and interpreting data, preparing reports, evaluating, developing programming, planning, marketing, making decisions.

  • Creative and Integrative Thinking Skills
    Developed in class through:
    Assignments that allow room for imagination, projects that encourage alternative approaches, journals, creative writing
    comprehensive exams, senior thesis.
    Used on the job by:
    Planning strategies; developing new initiatives or approaches to tasks; composing persuasive correspondence; writing proposals; writing copy for sales, advertising, or newspapers; developing brochures or promotional materials.
  • Research Skills
    Developed in class through:

    Research papers, field studies, independent study, independent grant research, independent laboratory research, internship essays, literature reviews, case studies.
    Used on the job by: 
    Gathering information, predicting or learning about new trends, designing and conducting research.

  • Quantitative and Computer Skills
    Developed in class through:
    lab reports; abstract and formal reasoning  and natural world CCRs; data interpretation; statistics; coding; finance, economics, math, and science classes.
    Used on the job: 
    Interpreting results, tracking and allocating budgets, writing reports, developing spreadsheets, writing web pages, conducting market research, interpreting charts or results, predicting outcomes, forecasting expenses, preparing financial reports, conducting inventory.

For a great article on selling the liberal arts, see Ten Ways to Market your Liberal Arts Degree, by Katharine Hanson, PhD. Learn more about the value of the liberal arts through the Council of Independent College's page, Liberal Arts Power.