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Career profile culture communication science management: application for job search and everyday work

Following one's own inclinations in the dream job - this is what many dream of when they begin studying in the arts or humanities. But does such a degree make sense?

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From the desired study to the dream job?

Humanities scholars - idealistic, foreign and unsuitable for the job market! With such prejudices from parents, teachers and sometimes even your own ProfessorStudents often have to grapple with subjects such as German studies, history, philosophy or sociology. Because the study motives and professional perspectives are often far from clear, the dream job does not wait on the silver platter, and initiative is required. But humanities scholars can also get ready for the job at an early stage, and how to look for opportunities and sharpen your own profile for the world of work.

Many dream of a degree that should primarily correspond to personal inclinations and abilities. The secure existence and the level of income are initially of secondary importance. Are the humanities and cultural studies the right choice?

Child, do something clever

Whether the desired course of study later promises a successful career entry and the basis for a secure professional existence is initially of secondary importance with this choice of study. Personal freedom is more important than security and a strong identification with the subject is more important than a high income. In particular, theCourses in the arts, humanities and social sciences have the image of a breadless art that almost inevitably leads to insecure, poorly paid and often only temporary jobs.

Anyone who starts studying in these areas despite the usual advice and warnings ("Child, study something clever") does not necessarily embark on a one-way street: Some manage to make a living from their dream job despite all the adverse circumstances. Others seek and find alternatives in related areas of activity at an early stage. And still others discover completely new career opportunities, far away from the originally planned ones.

Really easy is the job search for no one who wants to work in these areas. Not infrequently, there is also a lack of a realistic picture of the job market and the knowledge of what is important when starting a job. Which expectations are realistic, which can only fail, and what can one do to make sure that the dream of a job does not necessarily become a breadless art?

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Successful as a freelance artist

One that has made it is Carola Rümperer: She works as a visual artist in her own studio in Berlin-Marzahn. But simply, she admits, the way was not. Especially the study of art, which she completed in Osnabrück and Enschede, she had insufficiently prepared for her job as an artist:

“During my studies I mainly learned art styles and techniques. However, it was not clear to me that I would later work independently and what that meant - for example, dealing with insurance, legal and tax issues. Or that I have to market myself and therefore have to approach people, ”

Carola laments the failure of her training. After completing his studies, he looked for a tax advisor and joined the ver.di union. They offer members legal advice and protection, including when it comes to membership in the affordable artists' social insurance or questions about pension insurance.

What to do in case of legal problems

But the union also once helped Carola take action when her work was illegally used for promotional purposes. Carola found it far more difficult to establish herself as an artist on the market:

“The most important thing as an artist is to stand out and stand out - because the competition is tough. This works by creating your own profile, applying for scholarships, making exhibitions, printing catalogs, making contacts and starting your own projects. Of course, this is all very time-consuming and costly - and it can take many years to be successful. ”

At first, Carola didn't even know how to begin. She therefore first sought advice from artist magazines such as Atelier. Today with the internet it is easier: The Federal Association of Visual Artists eV and the Association of Communities of Artists and Art Supporters eV, for example, provide information on competitions, calls for proposals and current events as well as numerous contact addresses on their websites. Social networks such as Xing or Fac are another way of getting information and exchanging ideasebookwhich Carola finds too unspecific. Much more important for the Berlin artist are the local contacts, for example to potential sponsors, local politicians or foundations that decide on the next financing.

The network counts

But also the contact to other artists, with whom Carola can communicate creatively, is necessary. Carola runs her studio together with a photographer. Her artistic unique feature is the Rümperiens, mythical creatures with black skin, the artist has known since her childhood in the North German Plain and now replicating - an idea that has already earned her numerous scholarships, including in Egypt and Russia. And also the current studio in Berlin-Marzahn got her as part of a funding program.

However, lengthy application processes are necessary for this to work, because public and municipal funds are currently very scarce in Berlin. For this reason, Carola must write downright financing plans for some applications. She is currently preparing a catalog, the pressure of which is indeed being promoted by the Cultural Office; But to save costs, Carola will layout it himself - which means that she had to familiarize herself with software programs like Photoshop.

Art only takes up 50 percent

“In the end, real work as an artist - creative in the studio - only takes up a maximum of 50 percent of everyday work. The rest of the time is spent on bureaucracy, computer work, finding sponsors, organizing projects and maintaining contacts. ”

Cleans up Carola Rümperer with false ideas. Even Carola is still sure to have found her dream job in the art, she advises therefore young people with artistic ambitions to re-examine their career aspiration exactly:

“As an artist you very often live close to the subsistence level. Therefore, you should consider early on how to secure yourself financially. And you should also think about family planning and retirement planning in good time. Precisely because your own interests often change over the course of your life, it can Sense to look for alternatives in similar jobs that may be better paid. ”

As an archaeologist in science management

Find alternatives on time - Nadine Chmura took this advice to heart. She studied Classical Archeology, Ethnology and Islamic Art History at the University of Bonn and is now a Graduate Center for Humanities and Social Sciences. It was clear to her early on that a classic, scientific career was out of the question for her:

Find alternatives on time - have this advice Dr. Nadine Chmura takes heed. She studied Classical Archeology, Ethnology and Islamic Art History at the University of Bonn and today heads the Graduate Center for Humanities and Social Sciences. It was clear to her early on that a classical, scientific career was out of the question for her:

“Some former fellow students work their way from one temporary position to the next until they habilitate as academic staff members and then deal with poorly paid substitute professorships, hoping to get a regular professorship at a university. In orchid subjects such as archeology there are simply not enough places for this. This path was simply too risky for me. ”

explains Nadine Chmura. Instead, she worked in the House of History, as an editorial assistant at the online portal meinestadt.de, at the Bernstein publishing house in Bonn, was a tour guide or did data collection and project work for a consulting company.

Work at college

She has also worked for various university institutions such as the Laboratory for Experimental Economic Research, University of Bonn or the School of Economics at Shanghai-Jiao Tong University.

“I tried out all the classic professional fields for humanities scholars: museum, media, publisher, university. In the end, I was simply most interested in science management: at the latest with my master's thesis it was clear to me that I would take this direction. ”

explains Nadine Chmura. In order to achieve her goal, she took a position as a research assistant at the University of Marburg, where she organized events or led the press and public relations, in addition to her doctorate in archeology. After just one year, she became Managing Director and is now Coordinator of EcoSkills - Economic and Business Soft Skills, a project funded by the European Social Fund. The entry was not difficult:

“Since I have organizational tasks and already had work experience, it was relatively easy for me to find a job. Especially since science management is still a very young industry. However, the basic requirement in my case was a doctorate. ”

Nadine Chmura explains and mentions yet another important prerequisite: The management experience and budget responsibility, which has been a recurring theme throughout all her previous jobs: Nadine was responsible for the project Living Virtual Museum Online in the Haus der Geschichte and supervised the Bernstein -Verlag the performances at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In addition, she has been President of the German Kafka Society, which she co-founded since 2006, and has organized numerous international conferences and exhibitions in this context. Students therefore advise them to gain as much work experience as possible:

“You can also finance your studies with scholarships or BAföG. However, if you work, you will gain more experience that will help you later! ”

From Political Scientist to Social Network

Experience and enthusiasm were the key to success for Johannes Lenz as well. As Digital Consultant Corporate Communications, he is responsible for the internal and external communication of the Düsseldorf advertising agency Gray. At the same time, it did not look like a creative profession for a long time. After studying politics and diploma administration, Johannes initially wanted to become a classical student of scientific policy advice. However, despite relevant internships in embassies and companies at home and abroad, this did not quite work out. Even with the focus on public relations in the non-profit area, priorities EU, Eastern Europe, Came the graduate, despite previous experience, not further.

“At that time I wrote over 150 applications and also did some interviews, in which I was attested that I was just too close to the university. Overall, a pretty frustrating time, ”

John looks back today. The turning point was an eight-month internship at the BMW Group's headquarters. Even if BMW didn't offer him a job, Johannes came into contact with social media for the first time in his life. And caught fire. Because blogging, Twitter, Facebook and Co. are far more than just new means of communication for him:

Social media is more than just a means of communication

“It is an attitude to life that is characterized by openness, fairness and willingness to help. Actually, of course, you think, but maybe this matter of course has arrived on the net faster than in real life. ”

This enthusiasm was carried over to his application: After only one month, he was accepted by alma mater, a recruitment agency and career counseling, for an eighteen-month traineeship for corporate communication and online marketing. The field of activity was broad, from the creation of newsletters to marketing messages, writing press releases, website maintenance, contact initiation and support to trade fair and conference visits. But Johannes was curious about something new and wanted more:

“In the middle of the economic crisis, I convinced my boss, who let me work almost independently and independently, to represent alma mater in public and especially on the Internet. This went hand in hand with the integration of the social web, especially the development of social media (Twitter and Co.) for corporate communication. ”

Even though alma mater would have liked to take on the social media enthusiast, Johannes Lenz wanted to break new ground after his traineeship. And decided this time to abandon classic applications and use the Web 2.0 to find a new job - one that suited him:

“For me, job hunting via social web nowadays means positioning yourself according to your skills and interests. This means creating selected social profiles that are updated regularly, seeking exchange and dialogue with other users and not losing humor. You also have to dare something, be open, approach others, not only take, but also give. ”

Networking to a dream job

Through the variety of web activities Gray became aware of the political scientist - and invited him to a talk on social media and business. With great success:

“The response was very good. There was also a first meeting with the management and other employees. Subsequently, contact with some employees intensified via Twitter, Facebook and Co. to the point that they were invited to an interview. I was asked once before to give one or the other assessment of projects related to the social web. "

Today Johannes Lenz has the job he wanted: He works in the thematic triangle of PR, corporate communication and Web 2.0. He tweets, blogs, networks, attends conferences, develops concepts and strategies, and tries to convey the spirit of the social web. And he can contribute himself and his ideas. Therefore, he advises students in their job search to exploit all the possibilities:

“You should try to develop yourself every day through your own curiosity. Approach the matter with enthusiasm and not lose his optimism even with setbacks. ”

Labor market and future perspectives in numbers

In its IAB library series, the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research last year dedicated its own book to “Labor Market Opportunities for Humanities Scientists”. The authors provide a detailed statistical analysis, but also show the problems with exact statistics in this area:

According to the Federal Statistical Office, more than 60.000 graduates of humanities or art studies graduated from German universities each year. Since the number of undergraduates in these subjects has dropped in recent years, the Conference of Ministers of Education from 2013 also assumes a decline in the number of graduates. However, there are only vague numbers regarding the whereabouts of these graduates on the labor market: job-specific unemployment rates are calculated by linking employment statistics and unemployment statistics. This means that in the unemployment statistics only those who are looking for a job in this field are found. Conversely, for example, a Germanist who generally looks for a teaching job or employment as a lecturer, would not even be attributed to a profession-specific group. Since 2005, some of the jobseekers also receive unemployment benefit II and are therefore no longer included in unemployment statistics.

This is the only way to explain the comparatively low unemployment figures that the IAB reports every two years in its publication “Berufe im Spiegel the statistics. " identifies. In 2009, 44.878 people were looking for a job in the media, humanities and artistic professions. In contrast, there were 278.061 employees subject to social security contributions. For comparison: 682.384 employees subject to social security contributions were counted among engineers in the same period, but only 25.321 unemployed.

The truth behind the statistics

In addition, the authors of the IAB also find some indications that the situation among humanities scholars is actually even more difficult. An evaluation of the microcensus shows that of the humanities, cultural and social scientists who are subject to social insurance contributions, over 13 percent were in temporary employment - for other academics it was only 11,5 percent. More than 28 percent worked part-time (other academics 17 percent) Over 23 percent stated that they could not find a corresponding full-time job, a further 9 percent work part-time because of parallel training or further education, and more than 7 percent even practice marginal employment of 400 Euros per month or less (other academics 4 percent), three quarters even as the only source of income.

Up to 19 percent (unfortunately, exact surveys are not available here) of humanities and cultural scholars work independently, not infrequently due to a lack of professional alternative and in a mix of different forms of employment. No wonder that the graduates of these subject groups earn less on average: the median of the net income is between 1.700 and 2.000 euros per month, if you only take full-time employment as a basis, it is 2.000 to 2.300. For comparison: academics from other groups receive an average of 2.300 to 2.600 euros net per month.

There are perspectives

Nevertheless, as the three examples above show, the perspectives in the humanities and cultural studies are far from being as bad as these figures suggest: Due to changes in the world of work, qualified and knowledge-oriented occupations are becoming increasingly important. For example, the authors of the IAB for the professions Media, Humanities and Artists expect that new posts will be needed by the year 2020 200.000 - even though it is certainly not clear how these posts will be designed and paid for. But the authors also say clearly:

“However, the humanities, cultural and social scientists should not wait for their underestimated innovation potential to finally be recognized by the economy, but instead should actively promote themselves. Without a doubt, a world without humanities, cultural and social sciences would be less humanitarian. But if you want to preserve the ABCs of humanity in the future, you have to prove that you can take your place in the working society yourself. "

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