There are so many career directions open to anthropology majors that your question will likely become, “What do I want to do with my degree?” Some of our recent graduates can be seen discussing what they are doing with their degrees on our YouTube channel.
Employers are usually more interested in a college graduate’s skills and strengths than in a particular college major. Being qualified for many career paths, the biggest challenge might be narrowing down options.
Anthropology majors at the University of Washington develop many skills that employers view as essential. Some of these skills are used so often that they may seem “second nature.”
- Effective communication
- Analytical thinking and complex problem-solving
- Keen awareness of context and its implications
- Analyze, synthesize, and interpret information
- Insight into cultural dynamics
- Work well independently and as a team member
- Ability to understand & improve human relationships
- Interact well with diverse cultures/groups
- Presentation skills
- Communicating across cultures/languages
- Interpersonal communication skills (oral and written)
- Conduct research
- Summarize information
- Knowledge of social structures and change processes
- Sampling, gathering and organizing data
- Interviewing and surveying
- Conduct field studies
- Analyze data and write reports
- Plan and implement projects
Anthropology is a liberal arts degree rather than a professional certificate. A liberal arts degree, particularly in anthropology, is extraordinarily valuable in today’s increasingly globalized world.
Many recent studies, including a 2006 research study entitled How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today’s Global Economy?, indicate that “when evaluating the skills of potential new hires, business executives place the greatest emphasis on:
- teamwork skills;
- critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, and;
- communication skills.
Some anthropology majors will want to pursue the types of careers that are more typically associated with anthropology such as archeologist, professor, high school teacher, archivist, museum curator, or national parks education specialists.
Although these are wonderful occupations, there are many other possibilities. Our graduates have entered into the following professions and occupations:
- Court advocate
- Development officer
- Environmental protection
- Human resources
- Laboratory technician
- Land management
- Library management
- Public administration
- Public health
- Public relations
- Research scientist
- School administration
- School teacher
- Social work
To see a “starter” list of some typical jobs and employers for anthropology majors, check: http://www.uncwil.edu/stuaff/career/Majors/anthropology.htm
The University of Washington Career Center in Mary Gates Hall assists with all aspects of your career development:
- Discovering what career(s) you’re interested in
- Refining your resume and interviewing skills to
- Finding internships
- Identifying activities you can pursue while in college that will enhance your resume
- Learning salary negotiation skills
The Student Counseling Center in Schmitz Hall offers two career inventories:
- Strong Interest Inventory
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Visit the Washington Occupational Information Service for lots of information about various careers including:
- What people in various occupations actually do for a living
- Salary information
- Expected demand for certain occupations in the future
- Networking resources
- Self-exploration tools
Get experience through internships and/or volunteer work.
Start networking and making connections that can help with your future job search.
The Husky Career Network is a great place to start your networking. Sponsored by the UW Alumni Association, this network includes over 5000 UW alums who want to help you with your career path!
Take the 3-credit Navigating Career Options (General Studies 350D) course.
Get involved with a Student Organization. Student organizations are an excellent venue for developing and demonstrating skills that you’ll want to include on your resume and in your interviewing.