Professional Development and Career Diversity at AHA16

The annual meeting offers many opportunities to explore career paths, hone your job search skills, and expand your professional network. Whatever the stage of your career search, there is a workshop, panel session or networking opportunity to aid you at AHA 2016.

Hone Your Skills

Kick off your AHA 2016 by attending Getting the Most Out of the Annual Meeting to get advice from veteran attendees. Take a look at the AHA First-Time Attendee Guide for general tips on how to network. If you're still in school and interested in developing your skills as a student, consider attending The Promise of History Internships, which will discuss the benefits of internships for both undergraduates and the broader community. If you're anticipating going on the job market, you may find two linked sessions  useful: The Many Careers of the History PhD (a traditional panel with Q&A) and the Job Workshop for Historians (a more hands-on event with one-on-one advice). In these two sessions, historians working in a wide range of jobs will give advice on conducting job searches, applying, and interviewing, as well as give broader insight on the variety of jobs available to historians.

There are a variety of more specific skill-development sessions also. Expand your communications skill set at the Media Training Workshop for Historians. Get the scoop on publishing in the 21st century at Digital Publishing Initiatives: Training Humanities Scholars, which will focus on the role of graduate-student run digital publications in preparing students for diverse careers. You can also brush up on your digital skills, or to gain new ones, at a variety of sessions; check out the AHA guide to all things digital at the annual meeting for more information.

Meet New People

There are a multitude of ways to meet fellow historians at the annual meeting. Drop by the third annual Career Fair on Sunday afternoon, hosted by AHA Career Diversity initiative, to talk to a variety of potential employers, including representatives from government, education, and non-profit organizations. Peruse the Guide to Receptions to identify likely places to find colleagues who share your interests or who work in various institutions. The AHA Graduate and Early Career Committee invites graduate students attending the 2016 annual meeting to a Reception for Graduate Students in the Hilton's Room 309/310, Thursday, Jan 7, 5:00 PM-6:00 PM.

Explore Career Paths

AHA's Career Diversity for Historians initiative is working to better prepare graduate students and early-career historians for a range of career options, within and beyond the academy. The Career Fair is a great place to explore these options. Historians from a variety of fields-government agencies, military, nonprofits, businesses, colleges and universities, presses, independent scholars, K-12, etc.-will speak with students and job candidates about the path to becoming a historian. Mentors can hold informational interviews, display materials about being a historian in their field, or just be available to talk about their own journey in the history profession. All AHA annual meeting attendees are invited to participate; contact Liz Townsend at for more information.

There are also a variety of AHA16 sessions devoted to the variety of careers possible for those with history degrees. Whether you're pursuing your BA in history, an MA, or PhD, or are now on the job market, we hope the opportunity to hear from historians employed in a range of institutions will provide inspiration.

Panels Related to Career Diversity for Historians

Join the Conversation

The AHA Graduate and Early Career Committee (GECC) annually invites graduate students and early-career professionals to the Graduate and Early Career Open Forum (held this year at the Marriott, Room M 101, Friday, Jan 8, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM) to discuss issues of common interest. To help focus the conversation, we have selected "Career Diversity" as the subject of this year's open forum. Hear from representatives from the AHA Career Diversity pilot programs and bring your ideas about how GECC and Career Diversity can support graduate students.

The Career Diversity initiative needs input from a broad range of PhD programs if it is to succeed. If you are currently serving as a director of graduate studies, you are cordially invited to the  Working Luncheon for Directors of Graduate Studies Saturday, January 9, 2016: 12:00 PM-1:30 PM Room 203 (Hilton Atlanta, Second Floor). Sponsored by the AHA's Career Diversity for Historians initiative, this working lunch will be an opportunity for Directors of Graduate Study to learn more about the initiative and to provide essential feedback as it moves into its final phase. Attendees will have a chance to talk in small groups with representatives from the pilot programs and the AHA, after a brief update on the initiative from executive director James Grossman. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance through the registration form or at the meeting at the onsite registration counters.

We look forward to welcoming you to the annual meeting, and we hope you'll take the time to reflect on, discuss, and hear panels about the broad range of careers held by historians.