5 Surprising Careers Open To History Graduates
So you want to be a teacher?
This unfortunate perception plagues budding historians. In reality, history instills a diverse skillset in its students, as they study the entire scope of human experience. Graduates develop a capacity to critically analyse data and problem solve, as well as a strong grounding in social and political processes.
Career options are far less bleak than you might think, with 51.7% of graduates finding employment. Another 21.8% go on to further study or training. Although teaching is a very valuable profession, there are many other options on offer.
If you are a history student coming to the end of your studies, you might consider the following careers.
Studying history sharpens your writing skills and lets you flex your analytical muscles. Just as in journalism, everything you say must be backed up with data. You need to be an excellent researcher and be able to sift fact from opinion.
History gives you a good grounding in politics and the study of human nature. Never underestimate how much the past influences the present. However, deadlines can be strict and passions can run high as journalists often interact with stories involving crisis or conflict. You need to be aware that journalism deals with history as it is being played out, not seven hundred years after the fact.
Modern librarianship is more than simply book dissemination and keeping a library quiet. It involves faultless organisation skills and a confidence with databases.
The jobs of archivist and librarian are beginning to blur as increasingly similar skills are required. It’s fantastic that the world is going digital and becoming more accessible, but this means librarians need to be highly adaptable and IT savvy.
History students are well-placed to fill this niche. Librarians are active researchers; something a historian can do with their hands tied. They need to be masters of physical and online media. As opportunities can be found in public as well as university libraries, this is a sector that frequently has openings to consider.
Museum careers cover several attractive occupations for students of history: curation, archives and education. These roles can overlap. In sum, curators deal with the care and display of collections, as well as public engagement and marketing. Archivists have a similar role but with historical documents such as books, maps and letters. Education Officers deal with activities such as workshops, academic talks and school visits.
Not only is the specific subject area of a historian’s degree handy in a museum career but their research and organisation skills are transferrable. All these roles require the applicant to be highly articulate and adaptable.
A museum career can be difficult to break into (experience in the vein of volunteering is almost always required) but the end career is varied and rewarding.
It’s the critical reasoning and investigative skills once again that steer a history student towards law. Law and history go hand in hand as the legal system is founded on precedent. To truly appreciate the current legal process, it is essential to understand the social and political developments that led to its creation.
A career in the courtroom would require further study but, simply based on the skillset from a history degree, opportunities in legal administration are possible.
Perhaps this isn’t an obvious choice for a history graduate. Still, politics can be an especially relevant career choice for students who focused on the history of government and analysing key historical events. The ability to argue a point of view coherently is something history can offer those with political aspirations.
As aforementioned, the past informs the present. It is hard to overestimate what an understanding of it can lend to current affairs. A history student can use the knowledge they gained from their degree to make real changes and a genuine difference – in the future, that is.
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