The Value of Your Liberal Arts Education

As a Union College student, you’ve worked hard at your studies, taken advantage of extracurricular and leadership opportunities and had an important internship or research experience or two.  Now you’re getting ready to graduate and enter the work world.  You know what you want to do, you’ve got a solid resume and you’ve generated employer interest.  All you have to do is nail your interviews.  You’re not worried.  You’ve done your homework and feel prepared.  Besides, you’re a good talker so this should be easy.

On the day of your first interview you meet the employer who welcomes you and engages in some small talk, which is comforting.  She leads you to her office, sits down, instructs you to do the same, leans forward in her chair and says, “We normally hire students from the business school, you come from a liberal arts school, why should we hire you?

How do you respond?

Variations of this question include:

  • How has your Union College liberal arts education prepared you for this position?
  • How does your Union College liberal arts degree make you a better fit for this position than a student with a professional degree?

The reason the employer is asking this questions is that they want to know if you understand and can articulate how your Union College education has prepared you to do their job.

To help you answer this question we’ve developed and Acronym – EDUCATES – to remind you of the very important skills and competencies you’ve developed or strengthened at Union College. In the diagram below we’ve outlined the key skills and competencies associated with EDUCATES.educatesNotice that we’ve bolded four competencies.  We call these the core four – Unity, Communication, Analytical and Thinking.  These competencies are most often identified by our employers as particularly important.  As such, we want you to be sure to talk about the core four.  If you can add the other competencies you will further impress the interviewer.

Sample Response

You should hire me because at Union College I developed critical thinking skills that allow me to think deep (through studies in my major) and broad (through studies outside of my major), T-shaped thinking if you will; Through my coursework and research I have developed effective communication skills both orally and in writing, and strong analytical skills that have allowed me to identify relationships among seemingly disparate parts; Through my coursework and extracurricular activities I’ve learned how to work effectively in teams, and how to look at the world through others’ eyes and this ability to empathize will certainly help me when I deal with internal and external clients; Finally, Union has taught me the importance of ethics, engaging in and doing the right thing. Together, these skills will help me to effectively solve any problem I encounter now and in the future. That’s why I believe you should hire me.

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