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Add “Art Lover” to Your Resume

The Internet boom has made global communication and sharing information easier than ever before. Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and technologies like Skype and the iPhone 4’s FaceTime, people in every corner of the world can contact each other with a simple click of a mouse.

This ease in communication has permanently changed global interactions and made the world seem a whole lot smaller. In the domestic and global market, companies have found themselves communicating with various cultures more than ever before, even companies that don’t work on the global scale.

Businesses are now searching for employees with more than just intellect, impressive references, and a charming personality. So what do they want?

Good news, art lovers! You’re already ahead of the curve.

Say goodbye to mastering the pesky patterns and analogies of an IQ test, a new sheriff is in town: the cultural intelligence quotient (CQ).

Recently, the American Management Association (AMA) published an article which referred to a person’s CQ as “the number one predictor of success in today’s global economy.”

The AMA defines CQ as “the ability to function effectively in a variety of cultural contexts—national, ethnic, organizational, and generational…a set of capabilities and skills proven to give employees and their organizations a competitive advantage in our ever-shrinking world.”

So what does all this fancy Ph.D. jargon boil down to?

People interested in the arts have a natural inclination to link with other cultures, as art is inherently cross-cultural. From ancient Chinese paintings that influenced western Impressionists and Picasso who was inspired by African tribal masks, to Jazz music’s roots in African and Cuban cultures, and South Korea’s heavy interest in hip hop dance, the arts have an interesting quality that compels cultures to borrow, lend, and share.

Those who have an appreciation for visual art, dance, music, theater, or any other form of art understand that art unites people, as there is something omnicultural about humans’ innate desire to create and perform as a release of expression. It seems that long before the birth of the World Wide Web, the arts were already working on making the world more connected.

Because of the nature of art, particularly in modern and contemporary times, artists and art supporters have a higher tendency to recognize social constructs, an important skill when interacting with other cultures.

One of the first things a student learns in Art History 101 is the importance of societal and cultural context to art. Understanding the culture of a society that has produced a particular work of art allows the viewer to understand the artist’s purpose or intent in creating the artwork. For example, those who are familiar with Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” know that the famous Dada piece is more than an autographed urinal turned on its side, but instead was meant to challenge the definition of art itself.

Basically, people who are educated in the arts will better function in today’s society because of their keen ability to understand key differences between norms in their society and the norms of other societies; this cognizance allows people to better interact (and negotiate and network)with those from other cultures.

Recognizing likenesses and discrepancies between cultures and having an interest in those things cover several steps to achieving a high CQ. Therefore, a conclusion easily follows:

Appreciation for the arts → high CQ

High CQ → high value in the business world

High value in the business world → greater employment opportunities

∴ Apprectiation for the arts → greater employment opportunities

For those of you who may not be equation savvy, the solution is easy: the more versed you are in the arts, the more you will adapt to the ever-changing, ever-shrinking world and become competitive in today’s job market.

So, if this sounds like a great skill set you’d like to hone, pick up that classy hardcover art book that’s been decorating your coffee table for the past two years or head down to your local museum this weekend and start increasing your CQ (and having fun doing it!).

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