5 Essential skills you can acquire from Humanities


In this article Samhita Madhunapanthula and Shreya Mishra, our junior interns tell us how you can acquire five skills from Humanities. These are essential skills that the world of work is looking for when you seek a job or want to start as an entrepreneur.

Did you know that Jeff Weiner, former CEO of LinkedIn, studied Economics and Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairman of SBI,  studied English Literature.   Jack Ma (co-founder of Alibaba) says students must acquire skills and qualities like “independent thinking, teamwork and care for others”. These qualities will ensure that students contribute to society. This knowledge can be acquired by learning many Humanities subjects.

What are employers expecting from candidates? How is it relevant to the real world? Most of the time rather than what you majored in, companies look for the skills you possess. These skills give an advantage over others. Companies have realised that most of the skills they look for are present in those coming from Humanities or Liberal Arts backgrounds.

1.Critical Thinking and Analysis

“Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think.” Albert Einstein, Scientist 

We’ve always complained about how learning these facts and information from textbooks would be of no use in our lives. Yet, in the real world, what matters is how we analyse, interpret, evaluate with the help of these facts, and apply the knowledge.

This allows an individual to not just accept assumptions, neither stubbornly refuse them, but to think about it based on their own experience and learning. It gives one the ability to see both sides of an issue. This is what has led to groundbreaking innovations, and revolutionary changes from era to era.

Unlike most of the STEM subjects, Humanities don’t only involve active reading and researching, but also interpretation. This chance to frequently interpret is what puts together one’s critical and creative skills, making them analyse far better than most individuals.

2. Teamwork

It isn’t surprising that this phrase is commonly found in job advertisements.

Humans are social beings and the world works on communicating and collaborating.

You may be someone who can work by yourself, but working with others will be a part of our lives in some way or the other, and it becomes necessary. The moment we can’t work effectively with others, the outcome is poor.

The practical work, activities and assignments involved in the humanities put the student in a situation where they must work with others. Along with the guidance of the subjects and their experiences, they learn how to be accommodative and assertive. They can present their arguments reasonably and bring out the best in each other. When you study subjects that revolve around humans, you are bound to know how to work with them better.

5-Skills-you-can-acquire-from-Humanities.jpg3. Creative thinking skills

Creative breakthroughs are what have kept development alive and running.

Humanities subjects are designed in such a way which demands a student to work flexibly. None of the subjects have ready-made answers; the students are made to come up with their (own) answers. Over time this gives one the capability to devise new ways of solving problems, which is needed as situations  are always changing.

Based on how society functions, creative thinking is expected in all spheres of life. It immediately puts you on top of the list. Humanities not only helps develop creative thinking but also prepares an individual to combine creative thinking with critical thinking, which gives a different approach to various issues.

Related article: How Humanities help in youth engagement for local, national and global action – Read more: https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/how-humanities-help-in-youth-engagement-for-local-national-and-global-action/

4. Communication skills

No matter how brilliant, creative and knowledgeable one is, it is of no use if they are unable to get their ideas or opinions across.

Many employers struggle with interns who are unable to contribute.

Communication is a skill that can be developed with repeated practice of different kinds. And Humanities does exactly that. It makes one an active listener, convey messages, be open to other ideas, and with the knowledge they hold, they have confidence in what they speak.

Humanities involves extensive writing, opportunities to debate and involves learning foreign languages. Foreign language is seen as an extremely credible skill as it strengthens your ability to communicate, especially in the era of globalisation. 

5. Interpersonal and leadership skills

Interpersonal skills include teamwork, listening, responsibility, leadership, motivation, flexibility and most importantly empathy. All the skills acquired from humanities are interrelated.

When someone has good interpersonal skills and a broad perspective they instantly become great leaders. While taking humanities, people learn about individuals and groups. We develop empathy and an appreciation for others. To quote:

“Empathy is usually the biggest skill. That doesn’t just mean feeling sorry for people with problems. It means an ability to understand the needs and wants of a diverse group of people” – Anders

These skills and skill sets are becoming increasingly important and are demanded in all kinds of workplaces. And as Judie Foster said:

“An education without the Humanities would be like waking up in a desert island with no senses, no memory, no reason… Lost Inside yet guided by the illusion of certainty. What an awful fate. “

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