Career Development & Diversity

Program Overview

Thinking about and planning for careers whether within or beyond academia can be overwhelming and uncertain. It is without a doubt, and for nearly everyone, an uneven and messy process. Acknowledging this reality, and realizing that you are in good company, is a great place to start. Check out this video on career exploration from Bill Lindstaedt of UCSF’s Office of Career and Professional Development. Herminia Ibarra talks about the profound identity changes that can accompany career transitions in this podcast. Berkeley's new wellness website recalibrate is another good place to turn if you are feeling overwhelmed or just looking for resources.

We hope that the resources assembled here will offer a starting point wherever you are in the career development process. We urge faculty, as much as students, to familiarize themselves with the wide array of resources and opportunities available both on campus and beyond for graduate student professional development. You may even find something helpful to your own career here!

Department events

Fall 2021: Fridays at noon Pacific

Please email Erin for the Zoom link/bCal invite.

These workshops will be moderated by James Vernon and Erin Leigh Inama. They are open to all graduate students even if some sessions are aimed specifically at ABD students looking for jobs within and outside the academy. Some workshops require advance preparation so please take note and bring your materials accordingly. Most workshops will include a brief introduction before being thrown open to questions and workshop exercises.

In addition to workshops, individual consultations are available with JV by appointment or in his office hours Tuesdays 2-4pm in Dwinelle 2214.


27 August: Job market town hall with Caitlin Rosenthal

We'll discuss how to strategize about when and for what to apply. Academic jobs and postdocs are posted on hnet and the AHA's Career Center.


10 September: Cover letter workshop with faculty and peers

Please bring a draft of your cover letter. Cover letters should be no more than two pages and should be written knowing that most of the search committee will not be working in your field. They should have a brief introductory paragraph saying who you are and what you do, a substantive paragraph on your PhD (its arguments, its source material, and why it matters to the field), another paragraph where you can show off about fellowships, prizes, and publications and outline where you see yourself going as a research scholar, a paragraph about your teaching experience (what you have taught, what you are qualified to teach, who you have taught, and how you teach), and a final brief paragraph saying what value you would add to the Department (do research on the department and campus). If you are applying to a teaching-led institution, start with your teaching paragraph.

Reading: Laura York, "Some Dos and Don'ts for an Effective CV and Cover Letter"


17 September: Academic CVs with Andrew Green PhD (Associate Director of the Career Center)

Create, if you don’t have one, or update your CV and bring it to the session. We will be looking for volunteers to workshop their CVs with the group. Andrew will also be offering one-on-one consultations the following week.


24 September: Grant and postdoc application workshop with faculty and peers

Start off by reading examples of successful applications for the major competitions from the department’s grant database. Please email Erin drafts of the 4 page research proposal you want to workshop by Wednesday, September 22nd at 3pm. Be sure it is written for scholars outside your field and outlines the key questions or hypotheses you want to explore, explains why they are important to the field, lays out the archives and sources available, and outlines your research strategy and how you are prepared to do this work.  

Those not quite ready to apply for grants, create a spreadsheet that identifies at least 10 grants that you could apply for, with their deadlines and requirements.


1 October: Teaching statements workshop with Julia Shatz (PhD 2018, Assistant Professor at Cal State Fresno)

Bring a one or two page statement to workshop and hear from our experts what work a teaching statement is supposed to do and how to show that you have engaged with the scholarship on learning and teaching.


15 October: Archives and research strategies panel with Stacey Van Vleet, Natalie Mendoza (PhD 2016, University of Colorado), and one more panelist TBC

How does one approach working in an archive, developing a research strategy for a project as small as a 285 or as large as a PhD, and organizing your material? Our expert panel will guide you through their process and experience. If you are an ABD student returning from the field please attend and let your colleagues know how you found the keys to existence. 

Some useful pieces to get you started: Sean Cunningham, "Archive skills and tools for historians" and Michelle L. Craig, "The World in a Grain of Sand."


19 November: Interview strategies panel with Bernadette Pérez and Wen-hsin Yeh

Come willing to interview, be interviewed, and comment on others’ interviews!


3 December: Staying sane in grad school and on the job market panel with Joy Neumeyer (PhD 2020, postdoctoral fellow at European University Institute) and Sarah Stoller (PhD 2019, freelance writer and editor)

Spend an extra hour this week focusing on whatever balance and wellness look for you. And read these obviously terrific pieces coming out of experiences within Dwinelle Hall:

Joy Neumeyer, "Darkness at Noon: On History, Narrative, and Domestic Violence." 

Erin Leigh Inama, Sarah Stoller, and James Vernon, "The Elephant in the Room: Career Diversity and the Crisis of Mental Health."

Christopher Church, "The thesis isn't everything : in defense of hobbies in graduate school."


Spring 2022 sneak preview

(Let us know what else you'd like to see!)

21 January: Job talk practice (this may be rescheduled for early December)

4 February: How to make a resume

Prepare/edit a 1-page resume tailored to the academic or non-academic jobs you most desire. There are some good tips to help you get started in Beyond Academe, “From CV to Resume.” Remember that while a CV is a list of academic credentials and achievements, a resume is about how your skill-set matches a particular job. Both have to tell a story and speak to the pitch you have made in your cover letter. There is a good example of a resume by one of our alums here.

18 February: Building a network of advisors and mentors

3 March: Homecoming — The many paths of a History PhD panel with our alums

8 April: Field trip to Splunk