There is an infographic floating around the web listing the 10 College Degrees Recruiters Don’t Want to See.
Unsurprisingly, pretty much everything I studied in college* is on that list.
We’re living in a world bathed in technology. So, it stands to reason that subjects like the arts, psychology, communications, journalism, social work, etc. are starting to fall under the category of “interesting, but not important,” instead of “employable skill.”
I think that’s a mistake.
Technology is being made by humans, for humans in order to help us do human stuff better. So, understanding how humans think, act and communicate is important. Particularly when it comes to marketing and communications.
The rise of theatre majors.
Let’s take theatre majors (a species near and dear to my heart) for example**
A lot of what I’m reading about the future of digital communications suggests theatre majors will be very much the kind of people you’re going to want on your MarCom team in the future…
- In a recent post, Geoff Livingston was spot on when he talked about how writing for marketing needs to change and how content creators need to start creating more immersive, transmedia storytelling experiences. Livingston suggests that, “The next generation of writing integrates into the now, becoming more active. This forms the need to write screenplays, strong short radio-like ad spots, and other forms of oratory and live visualized speech.”
Do you know who can create immersive experiences with visualized speech using things like sound, words, images, body language, lighting and scenery?
- An interesting article in this month’s Wired (Sorry, it’s not online) explores how writing for video games is also becoming a totally new communication form. Tom Bissell, who scripted Gears of War: Judgement, explains it this way: “There’s an obvious parallel between writing games and writing fiction, in that you’re dreaming up worlds and people. But, on a deeper level, the process is more like journalism. You simply have to be there – to live there, at least for a while – before you can conjure it in language and make it feel true.”
Do you know who can both live in an imaginary world and then report back on that world and explain it to people who don’t live within it?
- With the increase in speed of brand marketing there is a shift underway to begin creating marketing and communications that is responsive to the real-time interests and conversations of consumers (i.e. real-time marketing.) For example, this could mean creating on-the-spot content about cell phones because a person on live TV just mentioned them. David Armano theorizes that this kind of marketing will require, “forward thinking organization and alignment with multiple partners…the ability (and permission) to improvise once the planning is in place…both flexibility and a focus on staying on brand.”
Do you know who can dissect and respond to moments in real-time and work within a team to create creative solutions that can shift mood, tone or focus?
You’re going to need someone with a great imagination to help you imagine something great.
With a brave new world on the horizon (that we can’t even fully fathom because technology is moving so fast) we’re going to have to accept the uncomfortable reality that we don’t exactly know what we’re going to need from tomorrow’s graduates.
So, perhaps it’s more important than ever to invest in people who can invent whatever, whenever for whomever.
Because, in my experience, if you give a business major three sticks, they’ll build you a really nice triangle. But if you give a theatre major three sticks, they’ll build a portal to another dimension and then convince you to jump through it with them.
And, no matter what the future holds, the day will come when you’re going to need to jump.
*I officially double majored in Speech Communication Theatre Arts and Humanities and double majored in History and Religion. (I’m basically the definition of “liberal arts education.”)
** Theatre majors are skilled in many things — not just acting, but also design, storytelling, writing, marketing, directing, tech support, costuming, PR, customer service, etc.