Your student days are officially over and you’ve successfully earned your degree, but what do you do now? Even if you’ve been thinking about potential jobs for some time, it’s common to still feel some uncertainty, and these feelings may be even more heightened if you’re an arts graduate.
Graduates holding degrees in subjects like Medicine, Law and Astrophysics will typically follow career paths closely related to their studies, but the same can’t necessarily be said if you read English Literature, History or Politics. There are far fewer roles directly relevant to these programmes, so unless you want to be an author, historian, politician, or pivot to academia, you might feel a little stuck. However, the broad range of transferable skills from an arts degree—like communication, creativity and critical thinking—makes you better suited for more jobs than you may realise.
Here are three London-based career paths worth exploring as you continue your job search into the new year. They may not be directly catered to arts graduates, but that doesn’t make them any less rewarding.
Recruitment roles are popular with graduates thanks to the opportunities for progression, the varied and challenging nature of the work, and the healthy salaries on offer. Numerous London recruitment agencies offer graduate schemes available in this field which means you’ll find plenty of positions that allow you to learn on the job, even fresh out of university.
As a recruiter, you’ll be responsible for helping employers track down skilled candidates to fill open roles. You may be asked to find people to fill mid-level positions, though if you work for an executive search consultancy, you’ll have to find candidates for the top roles in a business’s hierarchy. This could also require monitoring any of your successful placements in the long term. For example, recruiters at Egon Zehnder are involved in the company’s Accelerated Integration programme, ensuring the new hire is fully immersed in their new team.
Recruitment work is ideal if you’re looking for a multi-faceted position, as you’ll need to network with potential candidates and market a company on behalf of the employer, while also conducting interviews and negotiations. An eye for spotting talent is key to success in this role, as well as strong communication skills and the ability to persuade, influence, negotiate and manage relationships.
Marketing involves the promotion of an organisation’s products and services. As this is something that all businesses do to attract customers, this role could see you working within any industry. You don’t need a marketing qualification or any specific degree to work in this sector, though work experience placements or internships may help you get your foot in the door.
Firstly, you’ll have to decide whether to work at an agency or in-house. The former will give you the opportunity to get involved in different projects across various sectors, where you’ll be working to meet deliverables set by clients. In-house marketing departments, on the other hand, involve working exclusively for one company. This will allow you to gain intimate knowledge of the organisation, and acquire specialised experience in its particular industry.
To succeed in a marketing role, people skills are essential and you will also need to be comfortable working as part of a team to coordinate strategies and campaigns to strict deadlines. Thanks to your arts degree, you will have developed excellent writing skills, which should prove beneficial when compiling press releases and other marketing materials.
If you don’t feel ready to leave education, you could remain involved by becoming a teacher. This profession is currently in very high demand in the UK due to a “severe” shortage of teachers, which is why the government has unveiled a new strategy to increase their numbers their numbers. Under this scheme, you will undertake a two-year training and support package as a new teacher and be offered financial assistance through bursaries.
To teach in London, or anywhere else in England, you must have received at least a 2:2 (or equivalent) in your degree, and GCSE grade C/4 (or equivalent) in English and Maths, and possibly Science depending on the age group you want to work with. If you’re hoping to teach in secondary schools and above, you’ll probably only be able to specialise in the subject in which you have a degree, though you may be able to explore other options by completing a subject knowledge enhancement course. However, this isn’t necessary if you want to work in a primary school, where you’ll have to teach the entire national curriculum.
Before you enter a classroom, you must gain “qualified teacher status” (known as a QTS) by enrolling on an initial teacher training programme through a school or university. After this, you’ll become a newly qualified teacher, and can begin your induction year. This will be particularly rewarding if you have true enthusiasm for the subject your graduated in, or for education in general. However, success as a teacher is also impossible without confidence, empathy, organisation and, of course, patience.