The 129th Annual Meeting

Exploring Career Horizons at AHA 2015

Liz Townsend and Emily Swafford, December 2014

The AHA annual meeting offers a unique opportunity for job candidates, students, and early-career professionals to explore the wide variety of avenues to use their history training in fascinating and fulfilling ways. Far more than just interviewing at the Job Center, AHA 2015 attendees can visit the Career Fair, join sessions about career options, go to receptions for networking and meeting future colleagues, and much more. The meeting can be an important first step on the way to a history career.

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At the AHA’s second annual Career Fair—to be held on Sunday, January 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Hilton’s Americas Hall II—mentors representing various organizations will be available to talk to job candidates and students. While some mentors can speak about current or future jobs being offered in their organizations, most will be available to answer questions about how history training is used in their fields and the skills that are needed to succeed. It can be a chance for students to ask questions they may feel are awkward or inappropriate to ask their advisors or the faculty in their own departments. The Career Fair can also give them a view of fields they may not have considered.

The Career Fair is sponsored by the AHA’s Career Diversity for Historians initiative as part of its efforts to broaden the career employment options for students of history. Some sessions of note for those interested in exploring careers beyond the academy are History in the Federal Government: Careers Serving Policy Makers and the Public (aha.confex.com/aha/2015/webprogram/Session12108.html), How Can I Be a Historian in This Job? (aha.confex.com/aha/2015/webprogram/Session12507.html), and Exploring Alternative Academic Careers: How Your History PhD Can Serve You in Diverse Careers Beyond Teaching in the Discipline (aha.confex.com/aha/2015/webprogram/Session11551.html).

Interviews will still take place at the Job Center in Americas Hall II and in rooms in various hotels. If notified by search committees, the Job Center will display the locations of all interviews being held during the meeting, and a few schools will even accept CVs to arrange interviews on-site. Details about Job Center procedures can be found at www.historians.org/annual/jobs.

Other events, receptions, and sessions of interest to graduate students and early-career professionals can be found in various resources and guides on the AHA’s website at www.historians.org/annual-meeting/resources-and-guides, and by searching in the online program at aha.confex.com/aha/2015/webprogram/start.html.

Liz Townsend is the AHA’s coordinator, professional data and Job Center. This is her 17th year staffing the Job Center. Contact her by e-mail at ltownsend@historians.org for more information about volunteering as a Career Fair mentor. Emily Swafford is the AHA’s programs manager and staff member for the Career Diversity for Historians initiative.

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