Liberal-Arts Grad Feels Shut Out by HR Departments

liberal_arts_-_Google_SearchBrian writes:
I am a liberal-arts graduate Invariably I have submitted my resume to many organizations outside of archaeology and anthropology type jobs which was my major. The HR person that will “screen” my resume has told me on numerous occasions “I’ve never seen a resume like this before.” This frustrates me as it seems as though the business and especially the HR world do not seem to know anything about what we do or what an anthropology major could do for their organization.

The Career Doctor responds:
I think one approach for you to consider is to try to avoid HR people whenever possible. The way to do that is to network your way to hiring managers. Through networking your contacts get to know your skills and personality before (or instead of) seeing you represented by a resume. You are right that HR people are in a different world. Their job is to screen people out and given the choice of a business major vs. a liberal-arts major they will naturally choose the business major. I also think that choice of major has inexplicably become more important in recent years. When we started in the careers sector the degree (the fact of having one) was much more important than major. The economy may play in; in a highly competitive market people without the “perfect” qualifications are more likely to get screened out.

Of course without seeing your resume I can’t be sure what the HR people are reacting to and I also don’t know how long you’ve been out of school and what other experience you have.

I would also recommend a subset of networking informational interviewing. Again the idea is to show what you can do before ever showing your resume. Keep in mind not an instant fix; this approach takes time.

Overall network to discover unadvertised openings and bypass HR whenever possible. When applying for a specific job try to find out who the direct hiring manager is and send that person your resume and cover letter instead of or in addition to the HR person. Or use your network to get an introduction to the hiring manager.

Surely there are online discussion groups where you could get to know other archaeologists/anthropologists. Have you looked for them on LinkedIn?
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