Intern Life

How You Can Still Score a Paid Internship With a Liberal Arts Degree

Every year spring rolls around and college campuses are buzzing with career fairs, talk of internships and resumes. For some people, there are a wealth of paid internship opportunities relevant to their major at the tip of their fingers, but the same cannot often be said for liberal arts majors.

Liberal arts and humanities majors tend to accept the fate of an unpaid internship; as their Philosophy 101 class does not necessarily give them a competitive edge as an ideal candidate compared to Business related majors. If you have ever lost hope when this time comes around, have no fear!

I too came to this point when I realized that I would probably never do a paid internship because there are only a few Psychology related internships available and I thought the paid internships were reserved for the Business majors.

Well, aren’t they? The answer is no! There are a wealth of paid internships out there that would absolutely accept a humanities major for the job; you just don’t know it yet! When it comes to leveraging your degree there are many things you want to keep in mind that I never knew before either.

First and foremost, internships are for learning. You don’t necessarily need to have all the skills to apply for an internship because the point behind the position is that it will teach you a whole new set of skills. Try not to cancel yourself out as a candidate just because your major doesn’t “fit the description.

Having a liberal arts education alone means you have transferable skills including writing, problem solving, and adaptability, which set the foundation for any star intern. You are young and full of knowledge and though your knowledge and skills may not be exactly relevant to what you are walking into, you bring something unique to the table that any employer would appreciate.

Try to avoid fixating on job titles and the “perfect fit”. Half of the time you either don’t truly know what you want or you don’t know what an internship involves until you look into it. Many people are shocked by my being a psychology major interning in a marketing field but in reality, the unique background I have gives me an outlook on my work environment that is different from my coworkers’. Internships are all about learning, bringing something new to the table, and expressing your creativity; what better way to do that than by coming in with a background that sets you apart from everyone else?

After you scour the basic job listing websites, you concluded that all the good positions are primarily business- or career-oriented. But that is not true. Unique internships for liberal arts are often the hardest to find so that means you have your work cut out for you! Utilize all of the skills you learned in your education to exhaust your resources, speak to your professors, and actively seek what you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to reach out to any organizations you are interested in and asking them if there are positions available or if they would consider hiring you as an intern. Persistence and passion are two surefire ways to stand out and land you the paid internship of your dreams.

Although most paid internships out there are predominantly in some sort of business atmosphere, don’t let that bog you down. If you feel that the paid internship you want will be extremely competitive, apply anyway! The best way to ensure you will never get the position you want is by not trying at all.

We were always told not to judge a book by its cover and the same goes for looking at internships. What may sound like a boring irrelevant desk job on the outside may in fact be a unique opportunity with room to grow and explore possibilities you never knew were possible with your liberal arts degree.

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Sara Von Dohren

Sara is a Junior Psychology Major at the University of San Francisco. She enjoys the San Francisco fog, yoga, good conversation, and all things Fall except pumpkin spice lattes. Find her on instagram at @_saraashley.

  • Joe Schweinsteiger

    Unemployed liberal arts major here. Its been 5 months since graduation and been rejected 7 times by companies. Im enlisting in the us navy to recuperate my loses in school