Do business employers see a degree in English as useless and irrelevant? Is it harder for college grads with a liberal arts degree to get hired? Is it better for college students to major in business instead?
Actually, liberal arts majors are often more marketable than they think.
"Most employers look for candidates who are bright, well-rounded, and have some practical experience under their belts," says Steven Rothberg, who speaks with hundreds of corporate recruiters every year as founder and president of CollegeRecruiter.com, an online matchmaking service that connects new grads with employers. A liberal-arts degree, plus good communications and computer skills, signal to recruiters that you'll be adaptable to a wide range of jobs.
"It's the students who graduate with very specialized degrees and little job experience who struggle to find a position," he says.
Indeed, strong communications skills are the single most important attribute a candidate can have - and also the one most lacking among job applicants, according to a recent poll of hiring managers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
"An English major with good work experience, who can think critically and write effectively, is a very attractive candidate," and should have no problem landing a job as a general-management trainee, or in marketing, public relations, consulting, or retail, agrees Brad Karsh, head of JobBound (www.jobbound.com), another site for college grads.