Microcredentials Make Liberal Arts Graduates Even More Competitive

Microcredentials Make Liberal Arts Graduates Even More Competitive

Any student looking for a job knows that they are not just competing with other talent, but with algorithms and AI utilized to sort through applicants. Even with a well-crafted resume and LinkedIn profile filled with keywords that match an intended role, skills may not be highlighted. Cue the microcredential. 

Microcredentials raise an applicant’s profile through the ranks so that they automatically become a more desirable candidate for a position.

“A microcredential is a digitally issued badge that helps a student translate what they have learned at Allegheny into a format that is readable through the algorithmic hiring processes,” says Byron Rich, Assistant Provost of Academic Innovation and Associate Professor.

For example, if a student in a software development class has mastered the Python programming language, that is embedded in the metadata within a microcredential badge, and that data is then picked up by a digital mechanism in the job application software, advancing the applicant to stand out among the competition.

Rich and his team devised the program strategically, creating microcredential options in the context of existing majors and minors so that students can accumulate them while pursuing the path they’ve already chosen. “Since academic excellence and outcomes are part of our strategic pathway goals, we wanted to ensure students could earn these badges without having to take extra time or classes. For example, if you are taking a content creation class, that is one computer science class and two art classes. Upon completion, you have earned a microcredential automatically.”

Allegheny students also receive support throughout the job search process from the Center for Career and Professional Development, which assists students with translating what they have learned in their major, minor, and through experiential learning opportunities, into marketable, clearly illustrated skills and talents that are accessible to potential employers. Microcredentials is one more tool to build out a student’s profile.

Microcredential badges on a person’s LinkedIn profile might not be the first feature that comes to mind when thinking about the liberal arts. However, a liberal arts education is conclusively transformative, and these badges clarify the value and talent that so many businesses say they are in search of today. Graduates bring to employers wide-open minds and the ability to think critically, to write creatively, and to look at problems from all angles, as opposed to a specific discipline or narrow technical skill set. 

By fall of 2024, Allegheny will be offering 16 different microcredentials. Rich says, “As our graduates can better articulate their academic story and represent the power that a liberal arts education holds, they will have a distinct advantage.” 

For more information about how to register, contact brich@allegheny.edu