"What is needed in management today is the ability to think independently and creatively; to function in an imperfect, changing, and ambiguous environment; to make decisions when all data required to solve the problem are not available; to negotiate and compromise; to be risk seeking and entrepreneurial; not to rely on quantitative data; to recognize short- and long-term implications; to avoid the obvious and solely subjective; to develop effective working relations with peers; to motivate people and resolve conflicts; and to establish international networks. These are all abilities forstered by the Liberal Arts."
Arthur F. Oppenheimer, President, Oppenheimer Companies, Inc.
History majors have a wealth of career possibilities in today's economy, including jobs in government (international, national, state, and local), the private sector (industry and businesses at all levels), and a series of professional positions requiring post-baccalaureate training (see Section II below).
Success after graduation rarely happens by accident, and career choices made in desperation by default rarely yield appreciable job satisfaction. Instead, history majors do well after graduation when they take charge of their education early on and utilize their educational opportunities at SRU to enhance their professional possibilities. Specifically:
FRESHMAN YEAR: Do not waste a lot of time with courses that serve no purpose. As you begin to select Liberal Studies courses and electives, you ought to be considering your long-term career aspirations and choose your courses accordingly - even during your freshman year. The tendency among many students (freshmen and otherwise) is to seek out the "path of least resistance." Bad move. While a few "fun, easy, blow-off" courses are ok, employers will not be impressed with a large number of courses that serve no professional purpose. So, choose your courses wisely. If you are not sure what constitutes wise selection of courses, consult with your advisor.
SOPHOMORE YEAR: Your choice of courses and your selection of minor(s) ought now to be guided increasingly by your career aspirations. If, for example, you wish to go into pharmaceutical sales for Eli Lilly, you ought to be taking science and/or business related courses as your electives. If you are not sure what courses will be appropriate for your professional ambitions, consult with your advisor and be sure to begin familiarizing yourself with the career-related resources identified at the top of this web site. These resources will enable you to see what skills prospective employers look for in their successful applicants, and you can map your course selection accordingly.
JUNIOR YEAR: You should be exploring career options carefully by now. Moreover, you ought to be preparing a rudimentary resume that reflects your education and career ambitions. Also, begin now looking for opportunities to get valuable work-related experience -- internships and summer jobs are most appropriate. You need to be familiar by now with the "rhetoric" of the work force: what language do prospective employers use to seek out persons with degrees in history? "Wanted: liberal arts majors?" "Wanted: humanities majors?" "Wanted: history majors?" What do these prospective employers do with history majors? Why would they want to hire you? Remember, consult the resources located at the top of this web site as you consider these issures -- you must know how to market yourself and your skills in a package that appeals to prospective employers.
SENIOR YEAR: Early in the academic year, you ought to begin sending out up-to-date resumes with appropriate, job-specific cover letters. Use these letters and initial contacts to arrange interviews. Remember that you must couch your interaction with these prospective employers in language that they commonly use in their own job listings. If they seek "liberal arts majors," speak to them as a person with a degree in the liberal arts.