What can you do with a History degree?

You're likely to be studying a history degree based upon your interest and/or your aptitude for your subject. The good news is that your degree, despite not being vocational has given you lots of sought after skills that will stand you in excellent stead when it comes to your career.

 

A strong history degree from a good university is testament to your hard work, creativity and tenacity. From time to time, we're sure you may have questioned the value of your degree – and family members asking ‘what can you do with a history degree?’ probably doesn’t help - but there's no need to panic. There are a plethora of sectors waiting to welcome you and your transferable skills.

On average 40% of graduate opportunities do not require a specific degree subject. If you can demonstrate an interest and an understanding for the career in question, usually through work experience, extra-curricular activities and a strong commercial awareness, you'll be on the right track. Here’s seven career paths for you to consider.

Accounting

The most popular career path for bright history graduates after university and with leading firms offering excellent training and progression, it's easy to see why. If you can combine the core skills a history degree gives you and possess strong numeracy skills, this could be the career for you. You’ll be studying for an accountancy qualification while you work, so showing the firms your willingness to learn is just as important as your mathematical abilities.

Work in private practices tends to be around audit: visiting clients and reviewing their business operations and financial records to verify and review their accounts. Various professional bodies regulate the training and work of accountants in UK, but generally qualification as an accountant involves three years of study, exams and relevant employment.

It's important to gain experience throughout university and big accountancy firms will offer a range of summer internships. When applying, remember to check out how to take common accountancy interview questions.

Discover opportunities in accounting.

Teaching

Teaching is also one of the most popular destinations for history students. The excellent communication skills and organisational skills make you well suited to this profession. If you're looking for an exciting, challenging and rewarding career, this could be a great fit for you.

To become a qualified teacher you can either do a one-year PGCE course (PGDE in Scotland), or a take school based training route. Top companies such as TeachFirst and Ark Teacher Training offer enticing schemes, or check our open graduate programmes

Banking

You don't need a numerical based degree to make it in the world of banking. Just take a look at the experiences of Bright Network member and history graduate Olivia, who secured a role at UBS. Read the full article here.

Banking is a wide sector containing many different roles. These roles aren’t always clear cut, but can be broadly divided into retail banking and investment banking. High Street banks like RBS, Lloyds and HSBC sit across both these functions, as well as having corporate and investment banking operations. Investment banks - including Goldman Sachs and Berenberg - covers areas such as mergers and acquisitions, foreign exchange, sales and trading. The work can be challenging and stimulating and particularly satisfying. Typically, this sector pays very well however hours can be long and unpredictable.

To excel in this sector you'll need an interest in the financial world, a grasp of banking concepts and strong commercial awareness - but your history degree will not hold you back. If you're ambitious, analytical and driven, there are plenty of roles for you.

Consulting

Among our members, consulting is a highly sought after sector. With good starting salaries and the breadth of roles and experiences available, it's no wonder that many a history graduates seek a career in consulting.

Tackling intellectual challenges and problem solving is at the heart of consulting – having excellent academics is required for a career in the sector, so with your top history degree and transferable skills this could be for you. Find out more about the consulting sector.

Law

In law, the ability to process large volumes of information and communicate one or two succinct messages is key skill which history students are well versed in. This is just one of the reasons why a career in commercial law or as a barrister appeals to bright history graduates. A career in law requires a keen intellect, a thirst for knowledge and a need to understand the bigger picture.

If you have a keen eye for detail and are tenacious a career in law could be for you. For commercial law, you’ll need to do a one year law conversion course and then the LPC (or equivalent) – if you secure a Training Contract at a leading firm, they will often sponsor you through the qualifications. For all you need to know, visit our law hub.

Marketing, PR or Journalism

Why not put your writing ability and creativity to good use in a marketing role or as a journalist? When it comes to journalism, many employers actually prefer a history or english graduate compared to someone who studied journalism. The industry is all about connections, so always take opportunities to network with people in the industry.

For a career in marketing, your problem-solving and analytical skills will be in high demand. What's more, with an ever changing technology and digital landscape, new opportunities and roles in these sectors are popping up all the time - and as a bright graduate you have the potential to excel.

Entrepreneurial

Ever thought about starting your own venture one day? With your skills and ability to work independently you might decide that starting your own business is the route for you. With a real drive, creative thinking and a willingness to put your hand to anything, it actually doesn’t matter what you’ve studied to become a successful entrepreneur.

If you think this might be for you, why not get involved with your universities entrepreneurial society or even set something up yourself. With few contact hours with your degree, it could be you have a little time to start thinking about a venture for yourself.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Entrepreneurship

And finally…

Bright Network are here to help. If you have any questions about where your history degree can take you or applying to a specific sector, don’t hesitate to use the HELP / CHAT feature at the bottom of your screen, or give our membership team a call – 0203 011 1612.