All posts by L. Maren Wood

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Vital Questions About Tracking Placement Data

This past year, I worked with the American Historical Association on its placement study. We were thrilled at the detail and depth we achieved using publicly available data to track 2,500 history Ph.D.’s who graduated between 1998-2009.

I am a great proponent of comprehensive placement studies because they can help shatter the myth that a tenure-track job is the only successful outcome of a Ph.D. Like many graduate students and Ph.D.’s, I, too, would like to see program-specific placement data….

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What Informational Interviews Can Do for You

Ph.D.’s in the early stages of a career transition out of academe express frustration at how difficult it can be to find a nonacademic job. They don’t know what else they can do that will be interesting or where to look for job ads. They spend hours crafting résumés and job letters, send them out, and then never hear anything back. “What am I doing wrong?,” they ask.

My advice: Begin your career transition by setting up informational interviews. For most Ph.D.’s, that is news to them. What is an…

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‘The Afternoon I Decided to Leave Academe’–and What Happened Next

Many Ph.D.’s who write about leaving academe knew it was not for them. I envy those people. I enjoyed being an academic, and I loved teaching. As a kid growing up, all I wanted to be was a teacher, and when I entered university, my career goal shifted to being a professor. When I decided to end my quest for a tenure-track job, I told a friend that, some day, I hoped I would enjoy whatever I ended up doing as much as I enjoyed teaching and being a historian.

I will never forget the afternoon I de…