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Graduate Jobs for History Students

History graduates are a highly skilled type of graduate. They are able analyse and process large amounts of data quickly and accurately. History graduates are able to form arguments and weigh up the pros and cons from different pieces of evidence and texts. The collection of skills they hold form an extremely attractive package for employers and History graduates are often found in all types of sectors.

What can you do with your History degree?

History degrees are typically a non-vocational degree. There is no direct career path after graduation and many former History students do not know where to turn. Graduates should look at this in their favour, as History degrees provides a host of versatile and useful skills. With no path to follow it is really up to the graduate as to choose what career they want to pursue. The skills they posess are excellent for any sector and certainly open many doors that other degrees would not.

Lots of graduate jobs require the key skills that a History degree arms someone with. These include analytical, cross-referencing, writing and intense research skills. All of which can be very appealing to lots of employers in a wide range of graduate careers but, more often that not, it would be advised to spell out these skills and that they are useful to them so make sure you sell them in CVs, covering letters and in interviews.

What can you offer employers?

Analysis – Reading History at university supplies graduates with the ability to take large amounts of information, comprehend it and then apply it to different situations by extracting the key information.

Communication – Communication is a vital skill that employers want to see in applicants. The ability to write and present to a high and appropriate standard can never be overstated. Employers want graduates to come in and be able to articulate themselves in a professional manner.

Intelligent Insight - Similar to Analysis, graduates that can show intelligent insight are in short supply. Like Analysis, being able to be handed a stack of data and provide reports, presentations or feedback is a welcome skill across many sectors. History graduates are very good at noticing and highlight trends or anomalies and going on to provide insight on these things.

Research – Research is important for any job and History graduates can demonstrate this by the bucket load. After at least three years of independent study and pursuing individual avenues of enquiry, employers and History graduates should not underestimate this skill.

Prioritise – Balancing and juggling different aspects of work, as well being able to recognise each individual part and its effect on others, is something History graduates should be proud they have mastered. Whether it is working through a list of tasks or compiling work, being able to prioritise in both of these senses helps History graduates stand out and be viewed as an impressive option for employment.

Source HECSU - What do graduates do? 2013.

What employers can you impress?

This mixture of skills can leave the choice for graduates extremely open. The collection of skills like this can be valuable in a range of sectors such as Finance, Management, Retail and many more. History graduates should start off by thinking of examples from their own experiences during their History course they picked up these skills and then cross referencing that with what the job description is asking for.

Key sectors and fields that History graduates might find most useful for applying these skills could also be Accounting or Finance. While a History degree does not necessarily demonstrate an excellent numerical understanding, showing that they can compute large amounts of information and handle large amounts of data is as important in these fields.

Other employers that graduates can look to impress might be ones involved in more client facing situations. Whether this is Sales, Retail or Consultancy, the ability to communicate clearly and intelligently is something that employers will want in potential Consultants, for example. Likewise, if History graduates did not want to be too client facing, working in sectors like the Public Sector or Local Government using their research skills. Prioritising or insight can provide graduates with the skills to flourish in roles often found in these sectors.

by James Howell

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