How to Get Hired with a History Degree

A history degree can serve you well in the job market. Many enter professions that require strong research and critical thinking skills, such as banking, law, and consulting. You can prosper in many professions, if you know how to sell your degree to an employer. To help you out, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you optimize your employability and how to best present your major as an asset.

Employability Skill #1: Your memory is outstanding.

A sharp memory is a must-have trait in any and all professions, and your ability to remember facts and dates is impressive. And a good memory is indicative of an active mind and employers want sharp talent capable of recalling information in today’s fast-paced, info-dependent society. With a good memory, you don’t have to fear forgetting the important stuff. You might be surprised just how valued your recall button is to potential employers.

Employability Skill #2: You speak well.

In general, a history degree prepares graduates to speak well, which is an extremely valuable commodity. The ability to communicate ideas clearly, fluently, and confidently is not a skill easily, or quickly, acquired. Presenting to your peers and engaging in dialogue, where you must support claims with facts, as many history majors do, will prepare you for leadership (and perhaps the podium!) Newt Gingrich, Bill O’Reilly, Wolf Blitzer, and Antonin Scalia are just a few of the many notable history majors with exceptional speaking skills.

Employability Skill #3: You love to research.

A good researcher can extract relevant information from large amounts of information. That’s not an easy skill to master, but as a history major, you do it well and you do it often. Many history majors are also skilled in using different types of tools and sources to gather, sift, interpret, and analyze information. Just remember why you chose to study history in the first place. You’re good at finding information and backing up your ideas with facts. If the job calls for writing reports and preparing presentations, a research background will be highly advantageous. Many history majors go on to careers as researchers, public historians, and policy advisors, who serve as planner and analysts.

Employability Skill #4: You can self-manage.

If you’re a history major, you know how to work effectively without direction. You’re skilled in managing your workload and resources effectively due to substantial research projects and other sizeable assignments many history majors must complete. Employers want independent self-starters who work well under minimal supervision. If a potential employer asks about your ability to manage time and set priorities, here’s your chance to a significant project you completed that required hours of independent research and self study.

Employability Skill #5: You are adept at interdisciplinary work.

Part of majoring in history is understanding how to take the knowledge learned of the past and successfully apply it to other areas. A competence in history is perfect for educating others on how to prevent making the same mistakes from the past and draw parallels to subjects not directly related. Applying it to pertinent social issues can significantly alter the success of a campaign, as history is one of the most reliable sources of empirical data we have.

Employability Skill #6: You’re well read.

It’s so crucial to be able to draw upon a wealth of knowledge related to various subjects on command. Since the process of getting a history degree requires such extensive reading and research, these individuals are often the most well-suited to reference large amounts of historical data on the spot. This skill has many applications related to being successful in a job, namely in law, where the most successful lawyers are often able to cite other cases in history that support or refute claims being made. Since a large number of history majors end up going to law school, this is certainly good to keep in mind.

Employability Skill #7: You have a talent for noticing trends.

A good reason that history majors are so useful is largely due to how applicable many skills and traits can be used in other fields. A history degree equips one with a lot of information to reference, as well as an ability to discern patterns out of significant amounts of data. This is incredibly useful in a variety of contexts related to jobs, such as a business analyst, researcher, and many others.

Employability Skill #8: You understand how to educate others.

History majors are particularly skilled at the dissemination of information, which is one of the key qualities to being a good teacher. A good ability to take information and relay it to others in a more accessible fashion is a skill that should never be taken for granted. A background in history gives one such a proficient repertoire to draw from that they’re often able to approach teaching from an innovative and exciting angle.

Possible Jobs for History Majors

History, written with white chalk on a blackboard.

  • Business Analyst
  • Journalist
  • Archivist
  • Records Manager
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Writer and Editor/Publishing
  • Film Researcher/Copywriter
  • Political Campaign Worker
  • Historian
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Preservation/Restoration Assistant

Featured Online History Degrees

Ashford University Ashford University is one of the biggest online providers of higher education in the country. At Ashford, students enroll, attend, and complete classes entirely online as they work towards a BA of History or Social Science. These programs serve as a foundation for more advanced degrees or career options.
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Liberty University Liberty University is the nation’s biggest private, Christian school with a sizable online division too. Liberty University has an online degree in MEd of Teaching and Learning with a specialization in history available. This program is better suited for students who want to become teachers or even professors at a school or college.
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Southern New Hampshire University If you want a graduate degree specialization in a particular aspect of history, Southern New Hampshire University has many programs to choose from. Students can earn a general MA in History or choose to specialize in areas like American History or Military History. The school is nearly 80 years old and has over 13,000 students enrolled.
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Norwich University While Norwich University is the country’s first private, military college, civilians and soldiers alike can enroll in degree programs. Norwich offers two master’s degrees in History — the general MA program and the MA in Military History. Both programs can be completed in just two years, although the program requires the person to obtain a bachelor’s degree first.
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