Careers for people with history degrees / careers with a history major
Completion of a bachelor's degree in History or a history major is an enriching experience that allows you to study and research the major social, political, cultural and economic events of the past.
Because the skills gained on a History degree are so wide-ranging, graduates are employed by almost every type of employer. A Bachelor's degree will help you to gain some entry level roles, such as research assistant, administrative assistant or management trainee. Your career opportunities will widen dramatically if you also have a Master's degree or doctorate. You'll also be able to gain higher level jobs.
It's rare to be able to walk straight into a history-related occupation upon graduating. Such careers need to be planned for, as they usually need some extra study or training. However, history graduates gain so many transferable skills that employers in business, government and education are often keen to recruit them. Such skills include research, communication and statistical methods. Your employability will be enhanced if you undertake work experience and relevant postgraduate qualifications.
This means that history graduates actually have quite a wide range of employment prospects in different sectors.
What can I do with a degree in history?
Research jobs with a history degree / history major:
Many history graduates move into careers as researchers, drawing on their skills in evaluating and analysing documentary evidence. Such work can be within museums and historical organisations. Employment can also be found with government departments and agencies, not-for-profit organisations and associations. Positions can include Policy Advisors, who serve as planners, evaluators, and policy analysts, and local historians. Additionally, with specialist training, graduates can become professionals in Cultural Resources Management and Historic Preservation. Other careers include: Librarian, Museum or Gallery Curator, Archivist, Genealogist, Records Manager and Information Officer.
Careers in history: Industry and Commerce
Coupling your studies in history with a Business Studies minor or direct business experience opens the gateway to many jobs in industry and commerce, including retail and finance. General commercial careers include Manager and Research Analyst. Marketing and Sales-related careers include Marketing Officer, Sales Representative or Executive, Retail and Buying. Financial Services careers include Insurance Agent and Banker.
Law and Accountancy jobs with a history degree / history majors:
Due to their solid foundation in research and analysis, history graduates often pursue careers in law, especially if their degree is combined with political history or science. Careers include Solicitor, both Commercial and Non-Commercial, Legal Assistant and Accountant.
History graduates generally possess high levels of literacy and critical thinking abilities, so are often suited to careers in communications, particularly advertising, marketing and PR. Other careers include journalism, such as Newspaper or Broadcast Journalist.
Publishing and the Arts
Once again, literary competency and the ability to think creatively within a clear framework is sought by employers in these sectors. Arts Administrators need a good combination of creative and administrative skills, while Editorial or Marketing staff need literary skills and a commercial awareness.
Public Sector Graduates of all disciplines are recruited to the civil service, taking up posts with administrative and management responsibilities. At local government level, graduates can enter posts as Administrators, organising the delivery of services, co-ordinating and servicing committees, writing reports, and drafting policies and procedures.
Academia and Education
Schools, colleges and universities employ many history graduates. Working as a Research Assistant or Researcher at College and University levels is one option, often combined with lecturing work, which might in turn lead to a career as a history professor.
Teaching history as a subject for 11 to 18 year olds is a career chosen by many, or teaching general national curriculum subjects to under 11's at primary school level. A post-graduate teaching certificate is needed.
Alternatively, graduates can continue with post-graduate study in more vocational fields such as public policy, political science, public administration, business, journalism, communications, etc.
Skills You Should Highlight
Whatever kind of employment you're pursuing, you should highlight the following transferable skills in your applications, CVs / resumes and covering letters:
- Understanding of and experience in research methodology;
- Statistical compilation and analysis;
- Information management;
- Critical thinking and analytical skills;
- Verbal and written literacy;
- Ability to meet deadlines;
- Independent viewpoint.
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