As an anthropology major or minor, you acquire skills that are valuable commodities in today’s diverse economy. Nevertheless, some employers may not be aware of what you can do as a student of anthropology. It is important to be able to articulate how anthropology has prepared you for success in the workplace.
Some skills that anthropology teaches and that are of interest to employers are:
- excellent communication skills (both oral and written);
- holistic and critical thinking: assessing situations from multiple perspectives and asking questions that others might not think to ask;
- research design skills, including the ability to investigate and analyze real world problems and to do so in ways that incorporate the perspectives of actual communities, clients, customers, etc.;
- awareness of cultural differences and sensitivity to complex patterns of diversity both at the individual and community level;
- adaptability and flexibility in diverse social settings;
- a sophisticated understanding of contemporary global realities.
All these analytical and empirical skills are invaluable in the contemporary workplace.
Most students who major or minor in anthropology enter professions that might not be considered “anthropological”. Colby anthropology majors and minors have become lawyers, teachers, medical professionals, community organizers, social workers, urban planners, entrepreneurs, consultants, public administrators; journalists; they work in non-profit and for-profit ventures, in the public and private sectors. Whether or not you want to continue on to graduate level studies — be it in Anthropology, another discipline, or a professional field — the foundational skills of an anthropology degree will serve you well in whatever career you choose.
Internships (click here for a list of ideas and internship links) are a great way to explore different professions and types of employment. Colby’s Davis/Connects office can work with you to develop summer or JanPlan internships (including possible funding sources). DavisConnects can also help connect you with alumni interested in mentoring Colby students with specific career aspirations and help you explore a wide range of career options.
For some more ideas about careers in anthropology (some may require graduate study) check out these sites:
American Anthropological Association, Careers in Anthropology
Northern Kentucky University, Careers in Anthropology
Students at the University of South Florida identify real-world applications for their anthropology research.