The Case for Defying Your Parents and Choosing a Liberal Arts Major

In the age of helicopter parenting, it’s not surprising that new high school graduates are not only feeling the pressure of where to go to school, but what to study.

A recent Washington Post article by Steven Pearlstein outlines the dilemma: I want to study Ancient Greek Rhetoric, but my folks are demanding that their $80,000 investment see a healthy return. I guess I’m stuck with engineering.

As Pearlstein explains, perhaps it’s time to point out to parents what the Association of American Colleges and Universities found in their study: that “93 percent of employers agreed that a ‘demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a job candidate’s] undergraduate major’–…precisely the capacities that a liberal arts education is meant to develop.”

Check out the whole article here:

Posted in Higher Education, Liberal Arts

DESK OR NO DESK? That is the Question…

Whether you’re a number cruncher, a tree hugger, or something in between, you probably have some idea of how much time you want to sit at a desk. Here are a few options for both sides of the equation…


High Paying Desk Jobs                               High Paying Non-Desk Jobs

Posted in Liberal Arts, Workplace Trends

Top 150 Workplaces in the DC area

The Washington Post Magazine released its annual list of Top Workplaces for 2015, and Applied Predictive Technologies became the first company to make the list for a second consecutive year.

The magazine interviewed Chief People Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing Cathy Baker to find out what makes the company so favorable for employees.  Baker emphasized the strong relationship between management and lower ranking employees saying “We’re very responsive to employee feedback,” and “What’s so great about APT is the level of engagement we get from out employees.” Baker also noted that 70% of APT employees had come straight from college, indicating the company’s ability to provide entry-level work.  That’s great news for new graduates looking for their first job.  To check out APT’s current jobs opportunities, click here.

We’ve listed below the top 5 companies that made the list this year in different categories, and we’ve linked directly to their career pages so you can check out their immediate opportunities.  Good luck!


1.  Capital One

2.  Keller Williams Capital Properties

3.  2U

4.  Great American Restaurants

5.  Mount Vernon


1.  Applied Predictive Technologies

2.  St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School

3.  MicroPact

4.  So Others Might Eat

5.  United Therapeutics


1.  Studio Bleu Dance Center

2.  Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis

3.  Social Tables

4.  TCG

5.  JRC Integrated Systems

Posted in Blog, Career Resources

2014 Graduates in Liberal Arts: Where Are They Now?

It’s hard to believe that the graduates of 2014 have been in the job marketplace for a whole year now.  So how have they fared so far?

A recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 60.5% of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts found full-time jobs (42.4%) or entered graduate school (18.3%) within six months of graduation.

In comparing liberal arts majors to the rest of the national graduating class of 2014, NACE found that liberal arts majors were more likely to pursue a higher degree than the rest of the class (18.3% vs. 16.4%),  and liberal arts majors were less likely to find a full time job (42.2% vs. 55.4%).

Within the liberal arts disciplines, the preference for further education is more striking: Philosophy (27.8 percent), foreign languages (25.1 percent), history (24 percent), area studies (21.5 percent), liberal arts/general studies (21.2 percent), and English majors (19.8 percent) all exceeded the overall average handily.

Only visual and performing arts majors bucked the trend. In fact, just 12.3 percent took the path to an advanced degree, falling below the overall average.

Check out the survey results entitled “First Destinations for the College Class of 2014” here.

Posted in Arts & Humanities, Hiring Trends, Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts Salary Report for New Grads

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) just released the results of their 2014 First-Destination Survey, and the findings for liberal arts graduates are interesting: the top average starting salary among Class of 2014 liberal arts graduates at the bachelor’s degree level are not English or foreign language graduates, but those with general, non-specific liberal arts degrees.

At $41,605, the average starting salary of liberal arts/general studies majors was the only one of the liberal arts graduates to top $40,000. The average starting salaries of the remaining liberal arts majors in this report were tightly clustered as just $4,000 separated the second-highest average salary ($37,557 for history majors) and the lowest average salary ($33,574 for English majors).

By comparison, the average starting salary among all Class of 2014 graduates was $48,127.

Check out the whole press release here.


Posted in Hiring Trends, Liberal Arts, Salaries

The Happiest Companies to Work for in 2015

Do you have a solid picture in your head of the ideal location to find a job and build a career? Some people want to stick close to roots and family, while others may require a certain geographic location in which to hone their trade. But if you’ve got some flexibility and sense of adventure, consider one of the companies that CareerBliss just proclaimed the Happiest Companies for 2015.

50 happiest Companies Small Badge

The list honors the top companies dedicated to creating happier work environments – as voted for by their own employees.  The top ten are listed here, along with a direct link to their current employment listings, but check out the whole list at the CareerBliss website.

1.  Johnson & Johnson (HQ: New Brunswick, NJ) –

2.  Broadcom (HQ: Irvine, CA) –

3.  Chevron (HQ: San Ramon, CA) –

4.  Texas Instruments (HQ: Dallas, TX) –

5.  McAfee (HQ: Santa Clara, CA) –

6.  Google (HQ: Mountain View, CA) –

7.  Intuit (HQ: Mountain View, CA) –

8.  Adobe (HQ: San Jose, CA) –

9.  Amgen (HQ: Newbury Park, CA) –

10.  SAP (HQ: Walldorf, Germany) –



Posted in Blog, Liberal Arts

Hot Jobs for 2015

It’s almost Valentine’s Day already–can you believe it? Where did January go? While you’re digging out from the gargantuan snowbanks in the Northeast, or swimming through the floods of the West Coast, now’s a good time to consider what the rest of this new year can bring.

If you’re looking for a new job, CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International recently released an interesting article outlining the 18 Hottest Jobs for 2015, based solely on supply vs. demand. Here’s a look at what they came up with for the most in-demand jobs for candidates with college degrees.  Check out the full article to see all of the jobs and to take a quiz to see if you’re ready for a career change.


Occupations that require a college education and have the largest gap between job openings and hires

Occupation Average monthly unique job postings Average monthly hires Gap between postings and hires Job growth 2010 – 2014 Total 2014


Median hourly earnings
Marketing executive 34,613 11,617 22,996 10% 191,872 $57.42
Software developer, applications 52,700 31,616 21,084 15% 684,614 $44.66
Registered nurse 122,922 103,804 19,118 5% 2,729,647 $32.51
Industrial engineer 26,031 7,880 18,151 9% 235,817 $38.96
Network and computer system administrator 35,788 18,734 17,054 7% 378,638 $35.84
Web developer 30,108 14,616 15,492 17% 151,081 $28.02
Medical and health services manager 27,696 12,626 15,070 6% 317,314 $43.61
Physical therapist 24,425 10,880 13,545 10% 211,296 $38.63
Speech-language pathologist 15,113 7,112 8,001 5% 133,383 $34.00
Sales manager 28,589 22,280 6,309 8% 376,238 $51.98
Posted in Blog, Getting Hired, Hiring Trends, Liberal Arts

New Year’s Resolutions for Liberal Arts Grads

Ah, it’s that time of year again.  Time to examine your path, set some attainable goals, and get re-motivated to make your life all that it can be.  Here are some recommendations that seem particularly well-suited to liberal arts graduates who are looking for a new job or the next step in their career path, pulled from various areas of the web.  Happy New Year!

1.  Boost Your Web Presence

“Every form of social media gives people a glimpse into your life – including potential employers. Many employers consider your web presence fair game when they consider your application.  Social media is a one-stop shop for employers to learn who you really are. Your activity paints a better picture of you than your custom-tailored resume. Your photos, blog posts, video uploads, tweets, and Likes become a living resume – something that any tech-savvy individual can view. Where can you be found?”


2.  Create Specific Career Goals That Make a Difference in Your Day

“Before you set those New Year’s resolutions, ask yourself: What does ‘getting ahead’ mean for me?  More money?  More autonomy?  A shorter commute?  A longer title?  Good goals are personal, quantifiable and achievable.  Results also need to be measurable; if you make your goals and your company doesn’t recognize you for those achievements, next year’s goal should be to find a new organization who will!”


3.  Make it Personal

“Take the time to have face-to-face meetings and to get to know the people in your office and in your business. Texting may seem more efficient but it may not be smarter. People do things for people who they know. There is simply no substitute for shaking someone’s hand and looking them in the eye. The personal touch is powerful, especially in our very impersonal world.”


4.  Go for Quality over Quantity

“You might be tempted to apply to as many jobs as possible, figuring that doing so will increase your odds of being called for an interview. But in practice, this usually means that you’ll end up “résumé-blasting” – sending out tons of applications without customizing your résumé and cover letter to the particular openings you’re applying for. Employers can tell when you’re submitting the same generic application you’ve submitted to dozens of other places, and you have a far lower chance of catching their eyes.  Send out fewer applications, and spend time customizing each. Write cover letters that are specific to each job you’re applying for, and ensure that your résumé highlights speak directly to the qualifications being sought. If your application package is identical every time you send it out, that’s a sign that you need to be more targeted in your approach.”

(From U.S. News & World Report)

5.  Attend at Least One Professional Conference

“I swear by these as a great opportunity to meet people, cultivate relationships, and find new opportunities.  It could be a professional conference for your field locally or one of the many conferences hosted by national organizations like the National Urban League, National Alliance of Black School Educators, etc.  If conferences are not in your personal budget, check with your employer to see if they have any professional development dollars that you can spend (psst…most companies do).”

(From I Don’t Do Clubs)

6.  Keep a Running Reading List

“Making and sticking to a reading list of books, articles, blogs, journals, and other publications to read will ensure you stay engaged with your field and your goals.  This could mean working your way through a list of books on a specific skill you want to achieve in 2015, for example, or keeping track of a number of industry-specific blogs.  In addition, job seekers may want to read up on job search tactics, and any professional can benefit from a book on career improvement.”

(From The ExecuSearch Group)

7.  Avoid Rabbit Holes

“If we wish to have a more productive 2015, we can start by putting away our cellphones and closing the internet browser on our work computers. Most text messages, phone calls, e-mails, and social media can wait. This discipline will get us focused on our important tasks and limit tendency towards procrastination.”


8.  Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships were built for.  It’s easy to get comfy in your day-to-day routine, but it’s important to always challenge yourself.  When you do, more often than not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.  Embrace being uncomfortable and tell the nervous little voice in [your] head to be quiet.”

(From March Communications)

Posted in Blog, Liberal Arts, Resolutions

A Little Levity

Source:  The Washington Post, 12/7/14

Posted in Liberal Arts

2015 New Graduate Hiring to Increase

NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 report just came out, and the news is good:  Employers plan to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2015 for their U.S. operations than they did from the Class of 2014.

Other notable study discoveries included:

– 25% of employers plan to offer some positions outside the U.S. (3.2% higher than last year).

– The main reasons for the increased hiring are a) business growth and b) anticipated retirements.

– The most sought-after bachelor’s degrees will be from the categories of business, engineering, computer and information sciences, and math and sciences.

– Finance, accounting, and computer science majors will be the most in demand.

Check out the National Association of Colleges and Employers website for more detailed information.
Posted in Entry level jobs, Getting Hired, Hiring Trends