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A degree in history provides graduates with a wide range of transferable skills, which are important in many career fields. Understanding and analysis of issues and events are of key importance to historians and can be applied in many other fields of work. Other skill areas developed in studying history include:
an ability for clear expression both oral and written
putting forward ideas and arguments in a concise manner
gathering, investigating and assessing material
condensing facts, ideas and arguments
basing conclusions on research
organising material in a logical and coherent way
To the many employers who recruit graduates in any discipline, these skills will be more important than the actual subject of your degree.
The following comments from past History graduates illustrate this:
"I found my degree in History to be a superb launch-pad for a career in journalism. Analysing detailed material, learning how contextual information can impact understanding of facts, and appreciating how historical perspective can prove crucial in evaluating and explaining current affairs, meant that a history degree proved invaluable in helping me get my foot on the ladder of a media career."
TV is a very hard industry to break into but my history degree certainly helped me get my first break. My first job involved working on a range of history docu-dramas and the company involved told me they had specifically chosen me because of my history skills! I am now looking to move on and find work in TV research, so all of my research skills will come into use once again! History is a brilliant degree to do because it offers such a range of skills that are beneficial in so many areas of employment
When I first graduated I wondered how my degree would help me as many opportunities were asking for business or IT qualifications. However, I found that I had the ability to argue a case, organise work and present information coherently to a variety of audiences. I would say that studying History gave me the ability to research, formulate an argument quickly in my head, and then more substantially on paper and produce this for an audience
A History graduate with an M.Sc. in Computing who went for an extremely lucrative City computing role was told that he had got the job because of his knowledge of the Crusades; the logic being that at a micro-level most employers are looking for people who can get along, who understand and can manage the friction of human interaction and who have a human context from which to build skills and relationships. At a macro-level business is about the understanding of human behaviour, needs and wants and then acting upon them.
Following my graduation I trained as a journalist at my local newspaper. The research and writing skills I learnt while studying History proved invaluable to the job, as I tracked down a good story and tried to write engaging copy. Sticking to deadlines is an absolute must in journalism and again, my time as a history student prepared me for producing work to set deadlines.
"When I studied History I didn't think I'd end up as a partner in a major City law firm. But that's what happened, and I found that I wasn't alone in my firm in having taken up law after studying history as a degree subject. Now, I'm in charge of recruiting students to train with us, and we are still finding plenty of compelling candidates who come from a history background. Lawyers need to assimilate information and put forward arguments, and that's just what history students learn to do.