Humanities, Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Career Discovery Tools for Humanists & Social Scientists

Versatile PhD

View actual transition stories of Humanities, Social Science and Arts PhDs from their PhD into Consulting, Writing and Editing, Nonprofits, Government and more. You must log in to VersatilePhD first to view these documents. Versatile PhD is available to all Graduate students at The Ohio State University.


Career Discovery Tools for Humanities, Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences

ImaginePhD is a comprehensive career exploration and planning tool for humanities and social sciences PhDs featuring skills, interests, and values assessments that introduce 16 different job families identified through national PhD career outcome data. Each job family includes career discovery and job application resources like job boards, sample resumes, job simulations, and individual profiles of PhDs who have transitioned into those careers. 

Career Exploration Using Job Ads

Another way to explore different kinds of careers is by searching through different job feeds using key words related to your skills, interests and values.  Then, analyzing those jobs in relation to your own skills and experiences.  Read this quick article about “Examining various Job Ads can help you explore your career options” by Derek Attig in Inside Higher Ed as a framework for exploration.  The Modern Language Association has also created a career exploration activity packet with self assessments and curated job ads to help you explore potential jobs.

Career Exploration Tools

  • American Psychological Association: APA's five-step process will guide you through the IDP process — self-assessment, career exploration and goal setting — to customize your own plan of action and find the best job for you.
  • Intersect Job Simulations: Intersect is a free online platform for PhD-level humanists and scientists to explore future career options through experiential projects. Job simulations offer insight into the specific, real-life duties of varying career paths. After completing a job simulation exercise, you will be able to determine if you would like to further pursue the career field before committing energy and time to an internship or additional training. The simulations are not meant to replace an internship or externship experience or a formal course, but to give you an idea of what kind of experience you want to invest in next.
  • VersatilePhD: Features career stories and application documents from PhDs who successfully transitioned into nonprofit, government and business fields. The platform also features webinars, online career exploration courses, discussion forums, and job boards. To access Ohio State’s subscription to this premium platform: Information on how to log in here.

Templates and Lists

View sample tailored resumes and cover letters for specific job descriptions from ImaginePhD:

Humanities Resume Template [docx]: An outline with expert tips on how to organize and translate your doctoral work into a resume format.

Transferable Skills List [pdf]: A list of skills earned during a doctoral degree articulated as transferable across industries.

Active Verb List [pdf]: A list of active verbs to help you write resume bullet points.


Favorite Links and Resources

  • ImaginePhD: Within each job family, visit the EXPLORE Section to see profiles, videos and narratives from PhDs working in that job family.

  • Humanists@work: Stories from the field: PhDs working in a range of industries share stories and insight about their work, how they made the transition and provide insider tips and resource.

  • PhDs@Work: Profiles of PhDs working across industries with a week in the life section to really understand the day-today, blog posts and podcasts.

  • Resume Redux: Using the Writing Process as a Tool for Career Discovery: Jared Redick of The Résumé Studio in San Francisco joins UCHRI in his ongoing journey to help humanities PhDs and post-docs unravel complex matters related to converting an academic CV into a commercially-useful resume.

  • PhDs in the Humanities LinkedIn Group: Connect with other PhD candidates and degree holders who plan to work in industry rather than academia. 

  • Beyond the Professoriate: A small business started by a history PhD, Beyond the Professoriate has a helpful blog and free monthly webinars

  • Where Historians Work Where Historians Work is an interactive, online database that catalogues the career outcomes of the 8,523 historians who earned PhDs at U.S. universities from 2004 and 2013. Powered by Tableau, Where Historians Work provides the fullest picture of PhD careers available for any discipline, and signals the AHA’s commitment to transparency in discussions of careers for history PhDs.