English Majors: How to Use Your Art to Get a Job

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School offers vital structure for artists. Unfortunately, this structure can be incredibly stressful for creative majors.

When you’re in school for an “artistic” degree, you’re constantly surrounded by opportunities to work on your art. Consistently putting in time and effort isn’t an option; it’s a requirement.

Facing Post-Grad Burnout

In college, there are absolutely times when you don’t feel very inspired and you have to find ways to create something anyway. A very normal response to this is feeling burntout and creatively lost after graduation. Completing college is an exhausting undertaking. When it’s over, it’s difficult to continue pushing yourself.

This only got worse when I started searching for a job. I desperately wanted a job that put my creative writing degree to use, but could barely find any. The few I did find required years of experience for entry-level jobs. A frustrating job search made me question my degree choice, and discouraged me from working on my writing. I thought employers would judge my English degree, and that I was confined to a small pool of jobs I wasn’t qualified for. This coincided with definite feelings of burnout and uncreative, making my attempts at writing fruitless and unsatisfying.

During my job search, however, I found out that my professional and artistic lives should not be as separate as I was making them.  I was able to utilize my writing in my job search, which was incredibly instrumental in eventually finding a job.

Stay in Touch with Your Art

Staying in touch with your art after graduate is key.

This may feel pointless in the face of a difficult job search. But, it’s important to find time in your life for the things you’re passionate about. Finding employment is necessary, but so is happiness. There is a good chance that you may take a job outside of your degree field after graduating. Holding onto what makes you happy outside of work will make your time in that job easier to handle.

Since it can be so difficult to continue working on art without the structure of school, it is important to find new ways to bring structure into your artistic life. For me, the best way to do this was by joining a group of other writers that meets regularly to discuss writing as well as workshop our own work. While this group doesn’t have the same level of structure as college did, it still provides me valuable motivation.

Finding groups like this isn’t always possible. Fortunately it is not the only way to reinvigorate your artistic pursuits. Without the pressure of school assignments, you have more freedom to express your art. One of the best things that happened for my writing was trying new things and working on projects that I would have shied away from during school.

Use Your Art in Your Job Search

Finding happiness in your art will also help you in your job search. Businesses have learned that there are many benefits of having happy employees, and if you bring this happiness into the interview process, you are more likely to get hired. Once you get the job, this will then help you integrate into the company more easily by helping your relationships with your boss and coworkers.

Happiness is important to your job search. Happiness helps you make a good first impression during your interview because it’s a quality employers are now actively looking for in potential employees. According to The University of Maryland, 71 percent of hiring managers valued emotional intelligence more highly than actual IQ. Finding emotional balance through your art is key to your ability to outwardly express emotional intelligence.

When you’re searching for a job, even outside your degree field, your art can be a game-changer. You may be worried that your artistic degree will be looked down upon, or seen as impractical by employers. However, employers are frequently searching for employees that will have creative approaches to the job, and will help innovate new solutions to old problems. Artists are great fits for this kind of role because of their unique perspectives. This type of individual creativity is becoming highly valued in many sectors. Approximately half of Google’s products in an average year start as individual ideas or projects by their engineers.

When you go to school for your art, it can be difficult to continue passionately pursuing art after graduation. When I stopped focusing on the limitations of my writing degree, I found ways to utilize my art in my job search.

written by Zachary Evans

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