Julie Morse

After Graduation: Philosophy Majors Have High Unemployment Rate


Thomas Berry will walk across the stage at graduation on May 25 to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.   Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 2.04.09 PM
Two Elon alumni offer Berry and the rest of the Class of 2013 advice when entering the real world.

UNEMPLOYMENT  Numbers and Ma

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Lauren Wilmer graduated from Elon in 2012 with a Philosophy degree. She says her parents reacted poorly when she informed them of her major. However, they trusted their daughter to be employed after graduation.
“They knew with that major that I would have to work to guarantee a job, and that is what I did,” Wilmer said.
Wilmer is a teacher with Teach for America. She teaches sixth grade science in Atlanta. While she is currently employed, Wilmer has an idea why the unemployment rate for Philosophy majors is so high.
“Philosophy contains so much it is hard to pin point it to a certain career track,” she said.
But Wilmer thinks all graduates are in the same boat right now regardless of their major.
“The job market is tough all around right now, philosophy is a lost art in a market where you value a ‘concrete career,’” Wilmer added.
After working at Teach for America, Wilmer hopes to attend law school and would like to pursue a career in education policy.

Matt Knapp graduated from Elon in 2011. He is in charge of hiring for Piper Enterprise Solutions
Knapp said a Philosophy major would get a different look than a business major when the resume would pass his desk.
“A business degree gives you a slight edge, because an overall understanding of how a business runs can truly advance someone’s career,” he said.
However, Knapp said he would hire a Philosophy major if they had the qualities he wanted.
“In my business, I am looking for someone who presents themselves as a future leader, a hard worker and a quick learner,” he added. Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 2.03.44 PM
When looking for a job, Knapp listed his top six tips:

  1. Have your elevator pitch ready
  2. Follow the lead of your “interviewer”
  3. When using online job sites, refresh your resume every Sunday so you are at the top of the list
  4. Network, Network, Network
  5. Make sure to narrow down what you want to do
  6. Use LinkedIn
  7. Eye contact and a firm hand shake are very important.