September 2, 2016 at 10:46 am

Career Corner | Liberal Arts Education and Marketable Skills for Employment

By Kacey Schaum, Assistant Director for the Career and Leadership Development Center
and Caryn Asleson, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences

In preparation to enter the workforce after graduation, it is crucial that you devote time outside of the classroom developing transferable skills. To do this, you should engage in internships, co-ops, shadowing, research, etc.

Kacey Schaum

Kacey Schaum

The good news is that many employers greatly value the skills that recent Arts & Sciences graduates bring with them to their jobs. Research performed by Burning Glass (2016) determined that job prospects for Liberal Arts graduates significantly increases for those students who gained some of the following skill sets:

You should consider adding one or more of these technical skill sets to dramatically increase your career opportunities!

Additionally, Burning Glass (2016) found that regardless of type of job, “one in every three skills cited in job ads is a “baseline skill — that is, skills that aren’t specific to any particular kind of job.” (Sigelman, 2016) Here are the top 10 baseline skills:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. Organizational Skills
  3. Writing
  4. Customer Service
  5. Microsoft Excel
  6. Microsoft Word
  7. Problem Solving
  8. Planning
  9. Computer Literacy
  10. Research

You should think about improving these baseline skills by enrolling courses in these areas and practicing these skills by volunteering, holding student leadership positions, participating in an internship program and engaging in part-time and full-time employment. To determine the specific skills employers are looking for in your field, go to O*Net and type in your major or the major you are interested in studying. A list of jobs will be available for your review. Click on the jobs you are most interested in to find the education, knowledge, and skills required or preferred for that type of position.

Ohio University also has great resources to help you get better prepared for your career!  The Career and Leadership Development Center is your one-stop source for career and leadership information.  Consider signing up for one of the Leadership Certificate Programs or Leadership Coaching to also develop the following six CLDC Leadership Skills:  self-awareness, interpersonal communication, team development, adaptability, problem solving, and innovation.


Bittle, S. (2016, June 9). Specific Skills Make Liberal Arts Graduates More Marketable. Retrieved July 25, 2016

Sigelman, M. (2016, March 21). The Top 10 Soft Skills Employers Look for Most. Retrieved July 25, 2016

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