Sociological research and literature on how liberal arts graduates find their first job is vast. Yet, the primary reason for how liberal art graduates obtain their first job is still unclear, due to a variety of different explanations by researchers. This study attempts to address and clarify this ambiguity by studying Hamilton College graduates during the Great Recession. My research question is how do liberal arts graduates find their first job in a tight labor market. To answer this question, my research will assess which forms of capital actually produced successful job outcomes for my research participants. Personal branding will also be assessed, since capital may not matter compared to how one markets oneself. Secondly, I will use interviews to gauge and identify the different types of capital and personal branding recent graduates may have used to obtain their first job. Upon completion, this study may prove helpful in providing a clear answer as to how liberal arts graduates find their first job in a tight labor market. At the very least, it will be an additional piece of literature to this perplexing question.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Stephen Ellingson


Access to this thesis is limited to Hamilton College, Clinton, NY.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.