In an effort to secure a job after graduation, Carl Collins ’14 indicated “object permanence” as a “Special Skill” on his professional resume. The ability to understand that objects exist even when not being directly observed is believed to be acquired in almost all humans before the age of two, but Collins hopes his potential employers will see it as a unique asset for an already stellar candidate. “I’m really just trying to differentiate myself,” said the senior anthropology major, “The job market isn’t looking too promising right now, so every little bit helps.”
Collins hopes to find a job studying other cultures. As he puts it, “I’m pretty sure that’s what anthropologists are supposed to do.” His focus on the marriage practices of Australian aboriginal tribes is one of the departments the more esoteric concentrations, and Collins has seen first-hand how hard it can be for his peers to find a job. Anthropology department chair Samantha Clarke is well aware of her students’ struggles. When asked about career options for graduating seniors, Clarke laughed and said, “Well, we have some great graduate school options.” It’s an issue that has left liberal arts students desperate all across the country.
Despite the grim outlook, Collins has managed to stay positive. “All I can do is highlight my personal strengths, including object permanence,” he said, “It would be pretty hard to be a workplace leader if I didn’t understand that things exist even when I’m not looking at them. Plus, that’s not all that’s on my resume.” Under “Work Experience,” Collins included his monthly babysitting responsibilities when he’s home for breaks, as well as “homeworker,” which emphasizes his nearly perfect record of completing required class readings. Collins also wrote that he is fluent in English (American or British), and, except for a few incidents, has been successfully potty-trained for over 20 years.
Collins is one of many seniors looking for ways to communicate his skills to employers. He has sent his resume to over one hundred research companies, travel journals, and fast food companies, but has yet to receive any responses. Cornell Career Services, which helps students to write their resumes, denied requests for an interview.