By providing students with both the best of a liberal arts education and the skills necessary to succeed in a competitive job market, earning a degree in history is the way to make the most of a college education. For more, please see the Why Study History and Resources pages.
How can History Majors prepare themselves for the job market?
By embracing the liberal-arts strengths that employers look for.
Recent national surveys have found that many employers wanted colleges to focus more on teaching critical-thinking, analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. Employers agreed that critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills are more important attributes for job candidates than their undergraduate majors, and that they preferred to hire college graduates whose skills would allow them to contribute to workplace innovation.
Many employers want to hire people who can demonstrate strong oral and written communication abilities, problem-solving skills, foreign language competencies, critical thinking skills, and the ability to synthesize many separate elements into something new—skills that History majors have!
By making sure that their college curricula include the experiences that stand out
Employers want potential employees to demonstrate that they have the skills that will allow them to succeed in the workplace. Pursue an internship, independent projects, and community involvement during your college career.
By learning to present their strengths in ways that potential employers will understand.
Do your homework before starting a job search AND before an interview. Think about which parts of studying history you enjoy the most and how those things might fit into other contexts. Consider taking a formal assessment or personal skills inventory. Make contacts with potential employers and people who work in fields you might want to pursue.
Once you’ve reached the point of applying for jobs, put your research and analytical skills to work: be sure you understand what the job is before you get an interview so you can present yourself as strongly as possible. Show that you’re interested in that specific position, and that you understand the job, the employer, and the field. Don’t try to oversell yourself, but make it clear to the employer that your skills can “translate” to meet the needs of the organization.
The UTC Career and Student Employment Center - Provides free resources to students and alumni to assist them with finding employment opportunities.
Spotlight on Careers - Provides career-planning resources for liberal arts students.
Jobipedia - A site run by the HR Policy Association trade group. Job seekers ask questions that are answered by representatives of major employers. They keep an archive of answered questions that is available to browse.
Careers for Students of History - A career guide from the American Historical Association, the major professional organization for historians.
What to Do with a BA in History - A blog of the American Historical Association.
Ten Ways to Market a Liberal Arts Degree - Good advice from a broad-based site for job seekers.
The UTC History Department Blog - Includes posts with career planning resources and other history news.