Sunday, May 19th, 2013

What can you do with your degree?

Recently one of the people I have been training to be a Worklife Solutions coach was contacted by a soon-to-be-graduate who had a dilemma: what was he going to do with his history degree?

Some people may default to the most obvious answer: “be a historian.” But the fact is that there are plenty of fields of work where a interest and degree in history is relevant. Good universities and learning institutions should have free access to career advisors who can point you in the right direction. You can also ask your way to success by tapping into the knowledge of friends and family who may be able to generate ideas re history related careers. Then there’s always good, ‘ol Goggle.

Simply “Googling” ‘what can you do with a degree in history?” turned up the following result:

“As a liberal arts major, of course, the world is your oyster and you can consider a multitude of careers.

Among the jobs you can consider are: advertising executive, analyst, archivist, broadcaster, campaign worker, consultant, congressional aide, editor, foreign service officer, foundation staffer, information specialist, intelligence agent, journalist, legal assistant, lobbyist, personnel manager, public relations staffer, researcher, teacher – the list can be almost endless.

More specifically, though, with your degree in history you can be an educator, researcher, communicator or editor, information manager, advocate, or even a businessperson.

Here is a brief list of the career opportunities available to the undergraduate history major. This list is based on a very useful pamphlet, Careers for Students of History, written by Barbara J. Howe and jointly published by the American Historical Association and the National Council on Public History in 1989. While this online miniguide is based on this pamphlet (now out of print), with appropriate paraphrases from its text, it discusses also some of the new opportunities that became available to the history major in the recent past.

History BAs intending to pursue an advanced degree in history should read the excellent guide, Careers for Students of History, by Constance Schulz, Page Putnam Miller, Aaron Marrs, and Kevin Allen (2002: 64 pages, $7 members, $9 nonmembers. ISBN 0-87229-128-6).

Historians as Educators

Elementary Schools
Secondary Schools
Postsecondary Education
Historic Sites and Museums

Historians as Researchers

Museums and Historical Organizations
Cultural Resources Management and Historic Preservation
Think Tanks

Historians As Communicators

Writers and Editors
Documentary Editors
Producers of Multimedia Material
Historians As Information Managers
Records Managers
Information Managers

Historians As Advocates

Lawyers and Paralegals
Litigation Support
Legislative Staff Work

Historians in Businesses and Associations

Historians in Corporations
Contract Historians
Historians and Nonprofit Associations




Can you think of any other fields of work where a history degree would be valuable?

No history degree? Try the same exercise for your field of expertise.

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Friday, May 3rd, 2013

How to interview for success

Many people stress out when  faced with a job interview. Preparing well in advance is the key to stressing less and to your ultimate success.

9 times out of 10 the fact that you made it to the interview stage confirms they are confident re your technical skills. What they are drilling down on is the stuff below the surface – who you are, your passions, values, motivation and other things that make you uniquely qualified.

Are you are familiar with behavioural or competency based questions and how to respond? If not – you know what to do!

On this note it is helpful if you anticipate potential questions and provide structured answers to those likely to be asked at interview.

Obviously the questions will be related to the key competencies and personal attributes important to the employer in the role they wish to fill.

Make it your mission to know as much as you can about the organisation and those conducting the interview. I cannot over-emphaise how important being familiar with their priorities and critical success factors are re the person who will be successfully appointed. So any additional formal and informal research you can do will be well worthwhile.

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