The Department is excited to be a recipient of a Career Diversity Implementation Grant from the American Historical Association (AHA). Sarah Stoller, a sixth year graduate student, was appointed AHA Career Development Fellow and will be working with Erin Leigh Inama (staff Career Development Officer) and James Vernon (as the faculty Career Development Coordinator) to develop programing and resources to support career development and diversity for graduate students.
We strongly encourage grad students to consider their professional development for potential careers both within and beyond the academy at every stage of the program. Historically our graduate program has always prepared students for a wide range of career paths. The AHA has provided the most complete publicly available data we have on the many uses and careers made possible by a History PhD. For more information, see historians.org/wherehistorianswork.
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.
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!
Save the mechanics of job searches for later. The first step is to consider the types of work you might like to do, and to think about how the skills and abilities you already have fit into the picture. Below are a number of resources to support you in that process.
Career Advising in the History Department
Sarah Stoller will be holding peer advising office hours for all grad students on Fridays from 3-4pm in 3223 Dwinelle beginning on September 7th. See Sarah to brainstorm career ideas; learn about career development resources on and off campus; work on a resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile; or with any ideas, suggestions, or complaints for the taskforce!
Linda Louie is a recent Berkeley PhD now working as the Professional Development Resource Coordinator for Graduate Division. Linda offers advising under the remit of professional development planning, and is a great person to see if you are tossing career ideas around, and wondering where to begin.
UC Berkeley Career Center
John Paulas, a humanities PhD and the former Director of Fellowships and Special Programs at UC Berkeley's Townsend Center, recently founded this business. PhD Matters offers career advising to humanities graduate students and PhDs on a sliding scale.
Another career exploration and planning tool. It includes self assessment resources and other tools for mapping out career moves.
Growing Your Network
Talking to people who you already know about their work, and expanding your range of professional contacts are two of the most important steps you can take to support your professional development as a graduate student and further your future job prospects. There is no time too early or too late to start.
Our Department Alumni
Berkeley’s PhD alumni are the single best resource available to you as you expand your network. Join our alumni networks on LinkedIn and Facebook. Follow our career development initiative on Twitter @history_careers. Engaging with our alumni community will support your academic and non-academic career goals alike. Many of our alumni are excited to hear from current students via email or in person, and to help students think about and plan for careers. You do not need to be sure that you are set on a particular kind of work to reach out to someone and start a conversation. Networking is about career exploration. Feel free to get in touch with the taskforce if you are looking for contacts who work in a particular field or sector.
A student-run organization at Berkeley which aims to support graduate students and postdocs as they pursue careers beyond the tenure track. They offer numerous career education activities throughout the academic year, including an annual conference, a career fair, and a series of workshops, tutorials, and lectures. Their events frequently feature alumni and recruiters, and are excellent opportunities to meet and network with professionals.
The Career Center sponsors annual career fairs for graduate and professional students. See their webpage for dates and details. Remember that you can always attend a career fair whether or not you are currently looking for a job to get ideas about different kinds of work and to make contacts.
American Historical Association (AHA)
The AHA offers a Career Contacts service that facilitates informational interviews with History PhDs who have gone on to work in a variety of careers beyond the academy.
Whether your goal is to write your dissertation, become a better teacher or public speaker, or learn how to code, there are a wide array of resources on campus and beyond for building skills. Through discussions with historians who work outside of academia, the AHA has identified five key career diversity skills. These include: communication, collaboration, quantitative literacy, digital literacy, and intellectual self-confidence. Foremost among the AHA's findings was that these core competencies mapped very closely to desired competencies for academic humanists. In other words, the skills most likely to facilitate career advancement of historians beyond academia are largely the same as those likely to support their development as academics. Two birds with one stone.
The Dissertation Success Curriculum is a 12-week program designed to provide skills, strategies, and support to advanced grad students working on dissertations. It is aimed at helping students to overcome the three major obstacles to finishing: perfectionism, procrastination, and isolation.
The Writing Center offers workshops on academic skills ranging from drafting a grant proposal and revising writing to mentoring undergraduates.
The center offers teaching workshops in a number of areas, as well as an annual summer institute for preparing future faculty.
Beyond Academia hosts an annual Professional Profile Clinic that provides advice and support with draft resumes and cover letters, as well as professional headshots.
DLab provides consulting and advising, and a huge range of software training on everything from Excel basics to programming in R.
Berkeley’s Townsend Center offers a number of workshops and programs relevant to graduate students. It’s Art of Writing Fellowships support graduate students teaching university reading and composition classes. Townsend also hosts popular public speaking workshops each semester facilitated by an acting coach. In the past it has run the networking event Inside Dope, and various other career skills workshops.
More to come!
Job Searches & Making Your Skills Legible
When it comes to looking for jobs right now, there are a number of places to start online. Remember, too, to be in touch with your network of contacts. Outside of academia, many organizations only post job advertisements on their own websites, so knowing someone working in a given industry may help you not to miss out on a great opportunity. In applying for jobs, it is also critical to think about how to present your skills and experience. The way you present your skills and experience will vary tremendously based on the types of roles you are looking for.
Job Search Tools
Find Current Academic Job Postings:
UC Berkeley’s Career Center offers an annual academic job search series.
Handshake is Berkeley’s recruiting platform available to current students and alumni.
Idealist is the job board for nonprofit work.
Hired is a major job listing site.
LinkedIn: In case you still need a reason to join.
The Berkeley Career Center’s website includes many more subject and industry specific job search sites.
Glassdoor is a platform where employees and former employees anonymously review companies. This can be a useful tool for learning about an organization’s culture, and for getting a sense of salary range in different jobs and industries.
Extended Programs & Workshops
A number of extended programs and workshops are available to support ongoing career exploration and preparation. Many of these provide funding or financial support to graduate students.
Humanities without Walls is a national, in-residence summer workshop for graduate students interested in learning about and leveraging their skills for careers outside of the academy. The deadline to apply for the Summer 2019 program is 30 September 2018.
The graduate career initiative for the University of California. It runs a biannual graduate student career workshops and also provides internship opportunities. Its web resources include professionalization tools and discussions about critical issues within graduate student training including student debt and mentoring.
Resources for Department Faculty & Staff
In 2017, the Modern Languages Association released a fabulous toolkit for PhD programs and their faculty members looking to support graduate student career development and planning. The toolkit offers advice on a variety of issues, ranging from how to talk to graduate students about their career ambitions, to curricular innovations that support diverse career preparation.
Check out Fordham University English professor Leonard Cassuto's article "Can You Train Your PhDs for Diverse Careers When You Don't Have One?"
More faculty and staff resources to come!
Phil Wolgin (Department Alum), "An Academic's Guide to Getting a Non-academic Job"
John Paulas, "To a Revolutionary Degree: Power to the PhD"