While the skills developed through a liberal arts education are the foundation of career success, the real magic happens when students can translate those skills from classroom to career. Faculty have the power to help students see the bigger picture by encouraging them to explore their interests, investigate careers in their field, and develop strong networking skills.
Here are a few helpful strategies to incorporate career exploration and networking in your courses:
Relating stories of past students who are now doing interesting work is a great way to expose students to many career paths. You can host a career panel of alumni from a variety of backgrounds and careers, share your personal career trajectory, or invite alumni to act as a guest speaker in your class. Not only does this offer relatable experience, but this also helps students get comfortable with networking in a low-pressure group setting.
Encourage your students to network with alumni by offering an incentive to do so. Require students to conduct an informational interview with an alum who has a career field that interests them. You can also require your students to attend one of the Walter Center’s programs, such as a career fair, employer, or alumni event. The Walter Center can verify attendance from your classes.
Liberal Arts Impact has connected thousands of Indiana University students directly with hundreds of College of Arts and Sciences alumni. This informal event allows students to meet alumni of your department and learn how they’ve used their liberal arts education in starting and advancing their careers. These alumni work in a variety of industries and will share ways to strategically leverage the advantage a liberal arts degree has across career fields. Our Alumni Engagement team can help you begin planning your department’s event.
It's no secret that a liberal arts education helps build the skills that employers seek most. Each year, when companies throughout the country are polled on which skills are most important to them in hiring, the same skills rise to the top of the list:
Written and verbal communication
Ability to work in a team
Analytical and quantitative skills
While our students develop many of these skills through coursework, they don’t always know how to translate them to the job search journey. You can help your students make the leap from classroom to career in several ways:
Incentivizing students to visit the Walter Center for a one-on-one resume critique allows them to experience the benefits of meeting with a career coach and utilizing the Career Studio to meet with peer coaches and polish up on their skills. Get in touch with our Career Education team to organize this assignment.
Faculty are encouraged to partner with an employer to develop projects and assignments that require students to apply their learning to real or simulated industry problems. Our Employer Relations team can offer insight to help you get started.
Need help incorporating careers into your classroom?
The Walter Center is here to help! We can work with you to investigate opportunities for career integration and connect you to companies and alumni who can help students approach classwork with a career-minded focus.