Micro-Internships for Liberal Arts Students
About this session:
Core skills like communication, problem solving, leadership, and adaptability are more in demand by companies than ever before. Luckily for employers, there’s an entire pool of early-career talent equipped with this evergreen skill set: liberal arts students.
In this session, we discussed how Micro-Internships make it easy for liberal arts students to explore how their strengths, interests, and skills fit into potential career paths—while also allowing companies to see these students in action.
Check out the written recap from this conversation below.
About our panelists:
Class of 2024 English Major with a concentration in Literature, Wesleyan University
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Webinar Recap: Engaging Liberal Arts Students with Micro-Internships
Core skills like communication, problem-solving, leadership, critical thinking, and adaptability are more in demand* by companies than ever before. Luckily for employers, there’s an entire pool of early-career talent equipped with this evergreen skill set: liberal arts students.
In our recent webinar on engaging this student population, panelists discussed how the diverse skill sets and perspectives of liberal arts students lead to innovation and success within companies.
Read on for some key takeaways from the panel.
Working with liberal arts students brings a competitive edge to any company.
The wide array of topics covered at liberal arts institutions enables students to learn from multiple disciplines, even disciplines they may not have considered prior to college. Because of the interdisciplinary approach and multifaceted skillset, liberal arts students and graduates can succeed in just about any career!
Melanie: “I didn’t realize that my background in English would help me so much in marketing [...] With my liberal arts degree, I know I have lots of options in a variety of industries. Parker Dewey allowed me to see some industries that interest me and how my skills can be applied to them.”
Liberal arts programs prepare students to work in any environment.
A liberal arts education empowers students to think creatively, collaborate with peers, and create solutions to new or existing problems. Whether you are an English major like Melanie, or are studying environmental science, a liberal arts education facilitates a learning environment where students can succeed both in and outside the classroom. Brian also notes that “the raw skills that are refined from [liberal arts programs]” are invaluable to any organization.
Melanie: “As an English major, I know how to write on a tight schedule, I know how to edit, and these were all things that I needed to do for my projects [...] With my liberal arts degree, I know I have lots of options in a variety of industries. Parker Dewey allowed me to see some industries that interest me and how my skills can be applied to them.”
Skills-based hiring practices allow companies to see liberal arts students’ core skills in action.
Critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability are all skills necessary to thrive in an internship, part-time job, or full-time position. Melanie demonstrates how studying English at Wesleyan has given her the resources necessary to succeed in the two Micro-Internships she has completed, as well as other work opportunities.
In one of her Micro-Internships, for instance, Melanie did not have the desired skills needed for the position, but she did not let that deter her from applying and learning new skills. Through her Micro-Internship Micro-Intern, Melanie learned new skills, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and she can now bring that skill to other work environments.
Melanie: “The great thing about Micro-Internships is that even if you don’t think you’re qualified or you don’t have the skills, these are the very opportunities to learn skills… I would take whatever it took to learn things on the side, even though I didn’t have the desired skills upfront. I had the ability to grow.”
Auditioning liberal arts students is easy with Micro-Internships.
Both Melanie and Brian reflect on the skills formed from a liberal arts education or liberal arts program. Brian has worked with liberal arts students from all major backgrounds: English, theatre arts, environmental science, and creative writing—majors you might not expect at first to effectively carry out the soft skills necessary for a professional workplace environment.
An infographic research blueprint intern, for instance, may not sound applicable to a student studying Theatre; however, Brian notes how these students often offer a wide array of skills beneficial in the workforce.
Brian: Liberal arts students “know how to modulate, project, think on the fly, memorize things incredibly well. If you look at the raw skills that are refined from things like this, you can find incredible people.”
Advice to students and companies
Melanie encourages other liberal arts students to continue learning after graduation and absorb as much information as possible - even if that means learning new skills on the side. She concludes by saying that new opportunities are about adaptability and adjusting to new environments.
Brian notes that he views the Micro-Internship as “a wholly different position than an internship” and encourages companies to consider how they can break down projects into bite-sized tasks. This strategy allows companies to see even more early-career students in action.
For students, one of Brian’s key takeaways is to be honest and thorough when applying for Micro-Intern positions. Although applying to be a Micro-Intern through Parker Dewey is done remotely, the questions many applications ask are similar in format to what one could expect during an in-person interview.
*Source: How Skills Are Disrupting Work
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