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Although a degree in the arts may not seem like the most stable at first, there are many ways to make your qualifications worth both yours and your future employer’s while. Regardless of your majors, specifications and electives, this article will examine some of the many ways to enhance your art degree. 

Build (on) your portfolio 

Whether you’re doing fine arts, film, theatre or even a foreign language, one of the best ways to enhance your degree is through showcasing your artistic works. Having a portfolio to put alongside your CV is always valuable no matter what you end up doing. And your portfolio does not have to include work that coincides with your majors. Even if what you include are only hobbies, I.e., photography or illustration – presenting yourself as a creative individual with actual creative pieces available for viewing is valuable and shows any company that you have a wide range of skills. 

Online courses 

There is a multitude of trusted organizations who provide online courses on every subject you can think of. From coding to social media marketing, experts in their fields are available on websites like Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning – just to name a few. Having qualifications outside of your degree, no matter how small, adds to your job application and introduces you to opportunities outside of what might have been available before. It might even unlock new hobbies and interests and allow you to venture further into other fields. And taking focused courses that compliment your degree, such as an advanced watercolor course as a Fine Arts Student, will allow you to hone in on certain skills.  

Join clubs and committees that align with what you are studying 

This almost seems like a given, much like some of the other tips, but joining committees displays work ethic and can count as an unpaid internship depending on what you did, how long you were a member for and how important of a role you played. Being able to engage and work with like-minded people will also expand your network and give you a head start in working with or even leading a team of people. It’s also fun.  

Social media and collaboration 

Whilst this is not much different from joining a committee – building a strong network of other artists, performers, filmmakers, writers, and any other hard-working people in any field will be beneficial to you. Collaboration is key to enhancing any project – whether they be for school, work or are simply just for personal passion. Networking includes social media: posting and hyping up new projects, especially when they are with others who also have a following. This will help spread word about what you do and possibly even bring in some new followers of your own. And a good social media presence is something employers look for. You can even build your portfolio on social media.

Volunteer 

Lastly, completing volunteer work showcases a seriousness and maturity to prospective employers. This shows them another side to you – that beyond the skills, qualifications, and the education, you are a caring person and that you are not afraid to dedicate yourself to causes that are much larger than yourself. It will allow prospective employers to see you as a person, rather than just what skills you can offer, which will really set you aside from other candidates.  

It can be easy to get caught up in university and suddenly feel as though you might be wasting the tertiary education on a degree that might not get you far jobwise. But by building on- and acquiring new skills as well as working with other people you can make yourself more valuable when on the job market. Don’t stop creating! 

Jasmine is a second year student at the University of Cape Town, majoring in English and film studies. Writing and reading are her two greatest passions, next to geeking out about the newest Netflix series and listening to chill lo-fi beats.
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