4 Tips for How to Tailor Your Public History Job Search

help wantedAre you looking for a public history job? In the latest issue of “Public History News,” Nick Sacco, keeper of the National Council on Public History's wonderful job board, offered 4 tips for job seekers.

In this post you will learn about Nick Sacco’s 4 tips for public history job seekers. You will also find additional resources and insights that I have added.

(You may also find 5 Job Search Sites for Historians a helpful resource too.)


Nick Sacco's 4 Tips for Public History Job Seekers

1. Know What You Are Looking For

Public history covers a wide array of occupations.

The breadth of the field makes it imperative that you know what professional skills you have.

Sacco advises that you develop a “clear vision” of the type of job you want, your professional goals, where you want to live, and your salary requirements.

How do you identify your “clear vision?”

JobsResearch the different types of history jobs available. Read job descriptions and ask other public historians about what they do.

Reading job descriptions and talking with other public historians will give you a good idea about what types of jobs, titles, and responsibilities are available to public historians. It will also provide you with information you can use to direct your job search.

I interviewed 2 National Park Service historians when I considered becoming an NPS historian.

My interviews helped me realize that I did not want to be an NPS historian based on the fact that many of their responsibilities included tasks that I did not find appealing.

You may also find cost of living calculators and salary comparison tools useful as you try to determine whether or not to apply for a job or accept a job offer.

2. Be Aware of Deadlines

Apply before it’s too late.

Many job postings have strict closing deadlines. The government of the United States has very strict deadlines and if you miss them you will not be to apply for the position.


3. Look For Job Openings on the State and Local Levels

If you want to work for the government remember that the United States has 3 levels of government: local, state, and federal.

Many job seekers consider only the federal level, but many states and local communities employ historians too.

Sacco offered the California Association of Museums, the Association of Mid-West Museums, PreservationDirectory.com, and statelocalgov.net as useful sites that will help you find state and local history jobs.

Looking for SomethingIf you live in Massachusetts, you should also check out HireCulture.org.


4. Look Everywhere

Check institution websites.

As the NCPH’s job site guru, Sacco has found that many cultural institutions promote jobs only on their home website.

Be sure to check the websites of the organizations you dream of working for. If you have a strong desire to work for a particular organization you may consider volunteering, which would allow you to network within the organization.

With that said, the panelists on the Public History Jobs panel at the 2014 History Camp Boston differed in their opinions about whether volunteer service would help you get a job. About half of the approximately 8 panelists said that volunteering would help, the other half said you shouldn’t work for free.



Nick Sacco offers fantastic advice for public history job seekers.

He encourages job seekers to develop a clear picture of the types of jobs they want and to cast as wide a net as possible when they conduct their job search.


Share-Your-StoryShare Your Story

Are you working your dream history job? If so, tell us about what you do.

What tips helped you during your job search?