Career Guidance for History Majors

What do you want to do with your degree?

Look around to see how you can combine your interest and your talent to earn a living. Check out job listings on places like LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, etc.

Do some research. Find the professional groups on-line. Don’t ignore LinkedIn, Reddit and Facebook groups. Network with alumni, use social media professionally. Check out the American Historical Association’s Career for History majors.

New occupations and career paths are developing all the time. We live in a time of rapid change. Many think the career ladder is gone, replaced by a career lattice. Sometimes this is called the lily pad approach.

This is both scary and exciting. It can be hard to figure out what jobs will exist in the future. There are more jobs than there are majors and if you select History (or humanities or social sciences) it is worth thinking about transferability.

The good news is that there is an enormous amount of information available.

What skills sets do history majors have?

  • Adaptability: Learning how to Learn

  • Communications

  • Writing

  • Research

  • Fact checking

  • Organizing information

  • Reading and Organizing Information

  • Content: creation and understanding

Navigating the Modern Job Market

Tell your story. Learn to explain your skills to potential employers, in person, on paper, and on-line. Be aware of what words need to be on your resume so that algorithms spot them.

Organize your skills into Hard Skills and Soft Skills

Hard Skills

  • What software do you know how to use?

    • MS Office

    • Word

    • Excel

    • G-Suite

  • Don’t be modest and don’t limit yourself to only those used in the classroom.

Soft Skills

  • Group & teamwork

  • Understanding cultures

  • Communication and presentation

Next Steps

Career planning is part of the advising process. Be sure to bring it up. We’re here to help you succeed.

  • Keep a record of things your future employer might want. Document them digitally, if possible

  • Use SBU resources, including the Career and Professional Readiness Center

  • Go to events on-campus

  • One of the functions the departmental blog serves is to document student activities

  • Consider building your LinkedIn page (or another web page)

  • Join the departmental LinkedIn group

  • Use your electives, assignments, and activities strategically

    • Double majors

    • Minors

    • Specific Classes and assignments

    • Extracurricular activities


Neil Irwin, How to Win in a Winner Take All World: The Definitive Guide to Adapting and Succeeding in a High-Performance Careers (2019).

Erik Bryonjolkfsson and Andrew McAfee, Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. (2011).