Key messages from the Faculty of Arts Careers Series (February 2021)

Hundreds of you attended the Faculty of Arts Careers Series, where alumni shared their fascinating journeys from their Arts degree to their current career.

We heard from alumni working in sectors such as finance, marketing, tech and digital, academia and higher education, archaeology and heritage, film and tv, theatre, music, law, public sector, policy, public affairs, writing, teaching, charity and corporate social responsibility. They also talked about different types of options, like graduate schemes, freelancing, setting up a social enterprise or completing a PhD. It demonstrated that Arts graduates can enter diverse and interesting careers, which is something to be celebrated.

Whilst sessions were diverse in topic, there were some key messages that consistently cropped up:

  1. Try things out at university – panellists spoke about having curiosity and trying different experiences at university. Internships, clubs and societies, Careers Service talks, presenting at student conferences and volunteering were all ways alumni explored career ideas and developed skills. Sinead’s various experiences helped her figure out what she wanted to do and Jack shared how he developed relevant skills for his career in the Improv Society. Debbie also reflected on how she learned not to rule herself out of opportunities.
  2. Arts graduates bring strengths to the workplace – alumni shared how they’ve applied their Arts degree in their career, including skills of multi-tasking, problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communicating complex ideas, and working independently. Eleanor highlighted how she brought different strengths to colleagues from other disciplines.
  3. Arts graduates often experience flexible careers – whilst some pursued specific careers, some, including Francesca, reflected on how they had ‘no idea’ what they wanted to do. Some also experienced career changes in the first few years out of university.
  4. Consider your values – for those who were unsure, or changed careers early on, the reason often came back to values. In the Unexpected Careers panel, alumni reflected that they found career satisfaction once they found a match for their values and interests.
  5. There may be setbacks Rupert discussed how rejection is a part of being a freelancer, but how that is OK, and others shared how they experienced rejections before finding their current role. This image clearly shows how the hard work and persistence that people don’t see is critical to achieving success:An iceberg image illustrating what people see when it comes to success and what people don't see (e.g. persistences, failure, sacrifice, hard work, dedication)
  6. Proactivity is key – this included the importance of persevering with speculative applications and job applications, going to Careers Service events, and maintaining and developing your network. Jake talked about how he’s still in touch with students from his cohort and Eleanor shared how beneficial she found approaching people to ask what they do.

If you feel like you missed out, or you want to re-visit the sessions, you can now watch the Faculty of Arts Careers Series 2021 recordings on mycareer.

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