career development / Job market

Articulating the skills you gained from your History degree

Your history degree has equipped you with lots of different skills that will help you in your career. In this post we look at 7 important skills you’ll have developed through your degree, and how you can demonstrate these to employers in your application. If you’re applying for a role that’s not directly related to your degree, it’s a good idea to include some of the skills you gained to show the employer how well suited you are to the role.

IT skills

Even if you feel your IT ability only extends to proficiency with Microsoft Office, this is still a useful thing to include on your CV. Perhaps you’ve done some quantitative research, and have used Excel or other programmes to help – these are great things to include. If you’ve delved deeper into the world of Digital Humanities, you might have some understanding of coding and digital mark up, providing another string to your bow that employers will appreciate.


A History degree rests on your ability to evaluate both primary and secondary source material, and to draw connections between different concepts and ideas. You can apply your analytical skills to lots of situations, making you an effective problem solver, and an asset to any team.


Throughout your degree you’ve gained useful research skills, and are able to thoroughly investigate a chosen topic to construct well rounded and balanced arguments which consider various perspectives. As you move into the later years of your History degree, you are increasingly given the opportunity to pursue your own research projects. You use your initiative to drive your own research forward and direct your own study. Your second year research project or final year dissertation could be used as examples of this.

Written and verbal communication

Throughout your degree you’ll write essays of varying length and give presentations, putting across complex ideas. A final year dissertation is a great example of how you’re able to communicate in written form to sustain an argument over a significant word length, and discuss a topic with nuance. Seminar presentations, particularly those that were assessed, are great examples of your ability to communicate verbally. If you’re applying for a job in a related field, you might even want to include your dissertation title to indicate your pre-existing knowledge on and passion for the subject!

Time management and organisation

A History degree requires you to manage your own time, as much of it is done through self-directed study. You’ll have learned organisation skills from working to multiple deadlines, and balancing your degree alongside other commitments such as part-time work. You’ve likely also ended up with copious notes while undertaking different modules and projects, and have developed organisational methods to keep on top of these.

Attention to detail

In order to reach your full potential in your written work, you’ll have developed your attention to detail, taking accurate notes which allow you to reference your essays correctly. Attention to detail is also incredibly important in the editing stage of your writing. Beyond your written work, your History degree requires you to pay attention to the seemingly small details, and to draw your knowledge together to provide insightful analysis.

Team work

Team work is another important skill you’ll have developed through your History degree. From working in small groups within seminars, to delivering group presentations or essays, there’ll be plenty of times throughout your degree when you were required to work alongside others. You might even have found that you fit into a particular role in a group setting, such as being a keen leader.

Being able to work both independently and alongside others is an important part of working life, and so it’s great to show your ability with this on your CV. You could include some brief information about a particular project you worked on in a group to produce a specific result, such as a group essay or presentation. Including the mark or praise from a lecturer that you received is great evidence of the success of this team work.

You can find out more about career options with a degree in history here . Take a look at our CV guidance to learn more about how to write a great CV. Once you’ve had a go at writing your own CV, book yourself in for some application feedback on MyAdvantage’ And if you are a history student, take a look at the examples below which illustrate how a candidate could present academic skills to an employer. Ideally you will have also gained experience (perhaps through jobs, placements/internships, volunteering or extra-curricular activities, for example) that will help to convince an employer that you have developed the essential skills and qualities they require.

  • Able to communicate complex ideas, conveying the nuance of various historical topics through essay writing
  • Confident at presenting, and have used this ability to communicate verbally with success in a presentation for my module Britain in the 20th Century, which was awarded a 2:1
  • Developed strong interpersonal skills from consistently working in small study groups for seminar preparation throughout degree
  • Worked in a team to deliver a collaborative learning project in Making of the Modern World which was awarded a 2:1. Received praise from our seminar tutor on the effectiveness of our team work which was exemplified in our final work

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s