Broaden Your Career Horizons: The 2014 Job Center and Career Fair
Liz Townsend, December 2013
The Job Center at the AHA annual meeting has changed over time—the process is more streamlined, and drapes between tables provide a sense of privacy. But an even larger change will come in Washington, DC, in 2014: a Career Fair, where students and job candidates can speak with mentors who use their history training in a wide variety of careers.
The Career Fair will be held on Saturday, January 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Marriott Wardman Park, Exhibit Hall C. All meeting attendees are welcome to browse the tables and learn about the many different job options available to a trained historian. Mentors will represent government, business, historical societies, independent schools, publishing, and community colleges, to name just a few. Additional mentors are welcome to sign up anytime; contact Liz Townsend or visit the Job Center web page.
Students and job candidates may want to find out how the mentors chose their career paths; was it planned or something they discovered they liked to do? Were there certain courses or training they wish they had received in school? Did their college or department support and prepare them for alternative career paths? How did they find their current job—through an internship, networking, or an advertisement? What skills as a historian do they bring to their job?
The Career Fair will provide a great opportunity for young history professionals to become aware of their options and plan their careers, and for the mentors to help their future colleagues develop solid backgrounds and skills as they start their journey.
Formal interviewing at the Job Center and in various hotels will also take place during the annual meeting. We hope all search committees will let Job Center staff know where they will be interviewing. Providing this information involves no other obligations or responsibilities: we do not collect CVs unless asked, we do not charge anything for this service, and we make it clear to the candidates that the locations are to be used only when they already have an arranged interview. Locations are listed on an electronic display next to the Job Center Information Booth, which for the 2014 meeting is in the Marriott Wardman Park, Exhibit Hall C Atrium. Job Center staff will always be available to answer any questions.
To let us know the interview location after you arrive in Washington, send an e-mail, text/call Liz Townsend at (571) 730-8518, or come to the Job Center Information Booth. All we need to know is your institution name, field of the position, interview days (so we know when to remove it from the list), hotel, and room number.
Please welcome your new colleagues into the history discipline by doing all you can to make the process as smooth and painless as possible.
—Liz Townsend is the AHA’s coordinator, professional data and Job Center, and editor of the AHA’s Directory of History Departments, Historical Organizations, and Historians.