What can I do with my history degree?

Written by Calvin Bowers

A degree in the humanities will equip you with many analytical and critical skills. However, it can be hard to see how these translate in the workplace. In truth, all academic skills learnt throughout a degree can be transferred and practically applied in your chosen career path.

Here at Developing a Student, we want to show you some of the things you can do with your history degree, and the amazing careers you have unknowingly been training for. Many creative and analytical industries value subjects such as history. For example charity, publishing, museums and galleries, education, law and politics.

Your skills as a history graduate

Throughout a history degree, you will have been researching and interpreting primary sources, such as personal accounts, documents, journal articles, newspapers and statistics. This develops the essential skill of data analysis. You can transfer this skill to any data, even in an entirely different format such as numerical data. History graduates understand the value of information and data collection and have experience in analysing its validity to prove or disprove an argument or thesis. This is a highly valuable skill.

Another key skill developed throughout a history degree is the capacity to communicate clearly through the written word. Many jobs rely on written communication to relay important information, whether to the general public, their colleagues, customers, or a specific target audience. With a history degree, you will understand the need for impartial and fact-driven information. And you will know how to clearly and fairly present it to the reader. This skill is extremely useful for any customer-communication role or roles that require written reports.

As well as those listed above, some of your strongest transferable skills include critical reasoning, independent research, and problem-solving. As well as thesis forming skills such as constructing a verbal and written argument, objective thinking and adopting an empathic and broad viewpoint. Make sure to list these skills clearly on your CV and show how different parts of your degree strengthened them.

What jobs can I get with these skills?

There are some careers paths which lead directly from a history degree, where the key themes of the subject are present in the industry. However, there are also many career options which are less obvious.

Many history graduates use their data and information skills to work in museums, museum education, archiving, heritage and galleries. The nature of these institutions and sectors ensures that your experience with historical information and artefacts is continually developed. Furthermore, employees in museums and archives often interact daily with the public, passing on their historical knowledge and opinions to others. Or, similarly, you may be interested in working in the physical heritage sector rather than information, for example as a historical building inspector.

Another career option available to you is journalism. Journalists interact daily with others, accessing new information through interviews and researching news and events. Your ability to digest factual knowledge and present it with clarity will equip you for a journalism career. Journalists must also be curious about the world and other people, and be interested to hear their stories. The content of your degree may have already sparked this passion.

Other great careers for history graduates include working for the civil service, working for an MP or political group. Or teaching, educational support and law.

For more information, visit our useful guide for graduate careers paths.

Last Updated: Wednesday November 4 2020
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