The CHA is always looking for tools to help support historians’ careers and while many members of the CHA are members of the academy, we are expanding our work to better support those who are working outside of the academy, as historians, or in other fields.
To this end, we’ve created a new post on Council which I currently fill, Historians Beyond the Tenure Track. We are also always working on upgrading our website, a primary source of information for our members. In addition, we’ve added another website last year, What can you do with a History Degree? It now features not only people with undergraduate degrees in history, but those with graduate degrees as well. These profiles show that historical training teaches critical thinking, communications, writing, and creativity skills that are useful for a variety of professions, and make a history degree a valuable one.
For our present undertaking, we were inspired by the American Historical Association’s Career Contacts tool, where “junior contacts” and “senior contacts” can sign up and be connected. People with history degrees who work beyond the academy are matched with those with history degrees who are looking for work, or looking to learn more about a particular field or career. For many people who find jobs in industry, government, the heritage field or beyond, making connections with others already in the field is one of the most important ways to learn about the kind of jobs that exist, what it’s like to work in these fields, and how jobs are posted and competed for. Information interviews with people in a field you are looking at is often a necessary part of the job search for non-academic jobs. The Canadian Historical Association’s new Career Contact Program aims to help facilitate meetings and discussions between those with jobs and those looking for jobs.
Historians can fill out either the Junior contact form or the Senior contact form, and that information will be used to make matches. Senior contacts are asked about their degrees, their employment, where they work, and in what part of the country they work in. Junior contacts are asked to provide information about their degrees and fields, what sectors they are interested in working in, where they are looking for work, and job characteristics that they are looking for. A match will be made by CHA staff, and the Senior and the Junior contacts will be put in touch in order to organize an information interview by phone, email, Skype or in person.
Please consider signing up as a Senior if you have a career beyond the academy and are willing to share your knowledge and experience. PhD students and recent graduates, we hope that this initiative will put you in touch with professionals you may otherwise not have met, and that it will be beneficial to you.