These days it can often seem that having a gender studies degree won’t help you find a job when you graduate unless you wish to become a sales assistant, a teacher or an academic. The truth of the matter is that there are so many opportunities for smart, curious, capable graduates with grit and an open mind, that there is absolutely no reason why you should have to manage your expectations.
1. Do not undersell yourself
Ensuring that you do not sell yourself short is probably one of the most important bits of advice that you could take from this guide. Liberal arts majors and humanities graduates worldwide are often told by poorly informed well-wishers that their degree subjects will not be lucrative, but this does not really have to be your situation at all.
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2. Focus on skills, not content
Chances are that if you have been enrolled in a gender studies degree at some point in your life, your talents will not actually be limited to your knowledge of Judith Butler or your good ‘communication skills’. Pause for a minute and ask yourself: “Which transferable skills have I gained in the last three years or transferable actually find you have a valuable skillset and a string of achievements to boast about.
3. Research different jobs and industries
Obvious sectors for gender studies graduates include NGOs, education and government, with many graduates entering policy or research roles, but you could go down a less traditional route! Do you know what a lobbyist actually does? What about a search engine marketer? One great way to research different industries and jobs is to get in touch with past alumni and ask for informational interviews. “What’s your typical work day like?” is usually a good place to start.
4. Accumulate work experience in different industries before you graduate
Save yourself some time and money and secure as many internships as you can in various fields and industries before you graduate. A list of four to five different internships under your belt will 1) impress interviewers; 2) help you figure out which sectors you prefer working in, and 3) help you build a valuable network of contacts.
The task of securing your first internship can sound daunting, but is with a little perseverance achievable. Prick up your ears for any opportunities in your personal network or around your university; draft a list of companies you might like to work for and send them speculative emails.
This final tip could not be overstated. So many vacancies are filled through personal contacts, alumni networks and social media. Take active steps to increase your LinkedIn contacts by joining groups and posting content on LinkedIn Pulse. Attend informational interviews with past alumni. Attend networking events. Ask family. Ask friends. You probably have more contacts than you think, and each network will connect you to another.
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