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Humanities & Social Sciences PhD Pathways: Career Resources in Four Stages

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Humanities & Social Sciences PhD Pathways: Faculty Resources

This is a resource page for Yale faculty and staff, looking for career resources pertinent to supporting humanities and social sciences graduate students on the job search.

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Whether you're just beginning to explore your career options or you're preparing for your first interview, Yale has many resources to help you succeed on the job market. As a graduate student in the humanities or social sciences, you are honing skills that are highly valued in many different industries. On this page, you'll find both general and industry-specific resources for every stage in your career development at Yale.

TOC: Career Development Resources in Four Stages

Self-Reflection and Assessment: Taking the Time to Learn about YOU

This often-neglected step shouldn’t just be something you do during a job search or career change. It’s important to check in with yourself every few years as you navigate your professional life. What motivates and energizes you in your work? What are your skills, interests, and values? Have they changed over time? If so, how?

Tackle these broad questions by taking the free skills, interests, and values assessments at ImaginePhD, or make an appointment with an OCS advisor to receive an access code for CliftonStrengths, a self-assessment tool designed to help students tap into their natural talents. Once you’ve reflected on your own career philosophy, it’s time to turn it into something more concrete: your professional narrative. Here you want to showcase your transferable skills, while also explaining how your interests and values motivate you. Not sure where to begin? Click the button below to connect with an OCS Career Advisor.

Career Exploration: Finding Your Match(es)

Once you feel confident that you can express your skills, interests, and values in a compelling way through your professional narrative, it’s time to move on to the second phase of career preparation: exploring potential careers and evaluating how they match with your profile. This is a good time to take the Options4Success course on VersatilePhD, which covers the transition from self-reflection into career exploration. You can also check out the job family listings on ImaginePhD, or browse the career trajectories listed below. During this phase, it is important to remember that industries employ a variety of job functions with varied skill sets. The New York Times, for example, employs data scientists even though it is in the media/journalism industry; likewise tech companies like Amazon employ non-technical content writers, even though they are in the tech industry.

When narrowing down the possibilities, don’t necessarily limit yourself to the ones that best match your career profile right now (especially if you’re in the early years of your PhD!). Consider how much longer you’ll be at Yale and what opportunities (classes, workshops, extracurriculars, internships, etc.) can help you fill in the gaps between your current career profile and the paths you’re interested in. Also consider whether you can leverage your dissertation research to help prepare you for certain paths (e.g. writing journalistic pieces related to your topic, taking a part-time or summer job/internship in the archive you work at, or leveraging the digital humanities lab to learn new skills).

Tip: To help you manage your career development, consider using an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Employ the My Plan feature in ImaginePhD to 1.) identify career paths you’re interested in; 2.) evaluate any mismatches between your current profile and the skills, interests, and values associated with those career paths; and 3.) create an action plan for your time at Yale that allows you to prepare for these career paths and make yourself a great fit on the job market.

Don’t forget that it’s okay if your preferences change over time! Your IDP should be a flexible document that helps you keep tabs on your career goals, priorities, and progress as you grow and develop.

Some Career Trajectories in the Humanities and Social Sciences

This section highlights a few career trajectories you might explore. You'll read about your transferrable skills as a humanities and social sciences graduate student and the resources at Yale that will help you build marketable skills for each industry.

FAQ: Academic Administration

Click here to learn more about non-faculty positions in higher ed administration. Interested in learning about these careers from PhDs in administrative roles here at Yale?  Conduct an informational interview with one of these Yale administrators!

FAQ: Consulting

To find out more about careers in consulting:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in consulting:

How you can gain relevant experience in consulting:

FAQ: Finance

To find out more about careers in finance:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in finance:

How you can gain relevant experience in finance:

FAQ: Entrepreneurship

To find out more about careers in entrepreneurship:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in entrepreneurship:

How you can gain relevant experience in entrepreneurship:

FAQ: Government

To find out more about careers in government:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in government:

How you can gain relevant experience in government:

FAQ: Institutional Research and Analysis

To find out more about careers in institutional research:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in institutional research:

How you can gain relevant experience in institutional research:

FAQ: Media and Communications

To find out more about careers in media and communications:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in media and communications:

How you can gain relevant experience in communications:

FAQ: Museum

To find out more about careers in museums:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in museums:

  • Yale GSAS alum Emily Early, PhD in Anthropology, works as Associate Curator of Anthropology at the Arizona Museum of Natural History
  • Yale GSAS alum John Marciari, PhD in History of Art, works as Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library & Museum
  • Yale GSAS alum Suzanne Karr Schmidt, PhD in History of Art, works as George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Newberry Library

How you can gain relevant experience for a career in museums:

FAQ: Nonprofit

To find out more about careers in nonprofit:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in nonprofit:

  • Yale GSAS alum Craig Harwood, PhD in in Music Theory, works as Director of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
  • Yale GSAS alum Molly Martinez, PhD in Sociology, works as Senior Administrator of Judson Memorial Church
  • Yale GSAS alum Jeff Mankoff, PhD in History, works as Senior Fellow Researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

How you can gain relevant experience in nonprofit:

FAQ: Technology Industry

To find out more about careers in tech:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in tech:

How you can gain relevant experience in tech:

FAQ: Writing, Publishing, and Editing

To find out more about careers in writing, publishing, and editing:

Read about humanities and social science PhDs who have successfully pursued careers in writing, publishing, and editing:

How you can gain relevant experience in writing, publishing, and editing:

FAQ: General Resources

VPhD SmartJobs:

Versatile PhD's SmartJobs initiative includes a weekly curation of PhD-appropriate jobs across Humanities, Social Science, and STEM disciplines and a related research blog highlighting PhD jobs and recent trends by industry, occupation, transferrable skills, and other criteria.Note that Versatile PhD is a paid subscription service made available to the Yale community courtesy of the Office of Career Strategy. To see all content, you must log on through our portal here.

To find out more about a variety of subjects pertaining to the job search for PhDs: 

Connected Academics: Preparing Doctoral Students of Language and Literature for a Variety of Careers
Society of American Archivists Online Career Center
Career Alternatives for Art Historians
Careers for Students of History
Non-Academic Careers, American Psychological Association
American Philosophical Association:  A Non-Academic Career?
Digital Humanities Now

Relevant articles: 

This is How You Kill a Profession (via Chronicle of Higher Education, Chronicle Review)
Why Do We Talk Badly About Ourselves? (via Inside Higher Ed)
How a Famous Academic Job-Market Study Got it All Wrong—and Why it Still Matters (via Chronicle of Higher Education)

Gaining Skills and Experience

Now that you've identified some careers that interest you, seek out opportunities to build your transferrable skills. Skills in written and oral communication, project management, collaboration, and leadership are highly valued by many kinds of employers. Having a well-rounded experience at Yale will boost your resume and enhance your success in any career path. Visit our Humanities & Social Sciences job/internship opportunities page to get started, or check out external job/internship opportunities on the many job boards gathered here.

Conducting a Job Search

Once you're ready to apply for jobs, meet with an OCS career advisor to determine your goals for the job search and to develop your individual strategy. An overview of the job search process can be found here. Additionally, the following links provide general tips and resources to help you succeed in your job search.

  • Your resume summarizes your skills and experiences in 1-2 pp. Draft your resume by following these guidelines and by reading this CV to Resume Conversion guide. Plan ahead and submit your resume for review using OCS's online resume review service.
  • Cover Letters enhance your resume by framing your skills and experiences in ways that express why you would be the best candidate for the position and a great fit for the organization. Follow these tips while writing your cover letter. Submit your cover letter for review using OCS's online cover letter review service.
  • Keep refining your professional narrative. This will help you compellingly describe not only your past experience and skills, but also what energizes you in your work.
  • To ace the interview you've just landed, you'll want to have practiced in advance. Take advantage of these resources to start practicing for your interview today!
  • Learn more about the many job boards Yale students can access here.

OCS Web Content for Graduate Students in the Humanities & Social Sciences
 
Highlighted Resources

ImaginePhD: A free, online career exploration and planning tool specifically for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Versatile PhD: Concerned about the academic job market? Thinking about non-academic careers? OCS subscribes to this resource that demystifies non-academic careers and reveals many professions that can utilize the skills you are developing in graduate school.

Career Insider (Vault): A resource that provides company, profession, and industry overviews. Check out their "Vault Guides" for more information on particular industries you're exploring.

Common Good & Creative Careers: Common Good & Creative Careers (CGCC) supports Yale students interested in pursuing careers that make a difference and encourage their creativity. CGCC covers careers in: Nonprofit, Government, Education, Arts (Architecture/Design, Entertainment, Fine and Visual, Literary, Theater, and Performing) and Co​mmunications.

GSAS Alumni Spotlight Series: Explore your career options by reading about the diverse career paths Yale alums have pursued. In this series, Yale GSAS and postdoctoral alums describe their path to a fulfilling non-faculty career and how their Yale PhD contributed to their success.

Attend an Employer Event hosted by OCS.

Conduct an informational interview  with Yale peers and alums to research jobs and workplaces that interest you.

Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking

Connect with an OCS Career Advisor

Individual Development Plans

Request a Career Development Workshop