General Resources

General Resources for Career Exploration

Below are available resources that may help you determine your skills and interests, where they may be well suited, and how you can start planning and exploring career options. These resources below are not exhaustive and you can easily find additional resources. These are meant as examples to guide the career exploration process. Apart from the examples below, VersatilePhD also offers some beneficial resources similar to ImaginePhD detailed below. However, it requires you to pay to access many of the features.


ImaginePhD is a free resource available for all but geared towards social sciences and humanities graduate students. With just a creation of a free account, you can take an interests, skills, and values assessment. This is a self-report assessment that will help you better streamline what you are looking for in a career.

The results of the assessments provide information on fit and experience requirements for different job families. Resources available to students are then categorized according to these job families to make it easier to find and use the resources.


O*NET is a web-based platform that provides comprehensive information on a variety of occupations across all disciplines. It provides resources to be able to identify occupations that are related to each other. It also provides users with the ability to search for occupations based on their interests, values, skills, or other characteristics. Alternatively, users can search for various details of occupations in terms of the values, skills, or interests they afford. Last, it also connects users to other online resources on careers.

Rethinking Humanities PhD Resources- Council of Graduate Schools

Rethinking Humanities PhD Resources by the Council of Graduate Schools provides a collection of links to resources for the humanities that fall under the following categories: “Career Advice for PhDs,” “Career Exploration,” “Career Paths Data Collection,” “Intellectual Leadership and Resources for Graduate Programs,” “Scholarship on Career Paths,” and “Stories of PhD Career Paths”

Helpful Readings

ChronicleVitae from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Although this website is largely focused on careers within the academy, several articles focus on alt-ac and career diversity.

Humanists@Work from the University of California’s Humanities Research Institute

Their homepage provides useful links to resources, articles, and videos on stories from the field, resumes, internships, interviewing, and more.

Rethinking Humanities Ph.D. Resources” from the Council of Graduate Schools
This resource page provides a collection of links to resources that fall under the following categories: “Career Advice for Ph.D.s,” “Career Exploration,” “Career Paths Data Collection,” “Intellectual Leadership and Resources for Graduate Programs,” “Scholarship on Career Paths,” and “Stories of Ph.D. Career Paths.”

“Why Wait? Early Explorations of Career Paths for Humanities Ph.D.s” by Rebecca Lippman
This four-part blog series focuses on engaging with alt-ac possibilities and learning about how to prepare for applying to such jobs.

“From Ph.D. to Life: Meaningful Careers for Ph.D.s”
This page contains over 50 interviews with Ph.D. graduates working in alt-ac jobs.  These interviews come from Ph.D.s in humanities and science fields and are a great place to start learning about the career possibilities from tangible stories.


So What Are You Going to Do with That? by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius
This book provides insight into the ways in which Ph.D. students can explore alt-ac jobs, think through the possibilities, transform a CV into a résumé, and succeed in job interviews.

Navigating the Path to Industry: A Hiring Manager’s Advice for Academics Looking for a Job in Industry by M. R. Nelson
This book is written from the perspective of a person with a background in biomedical sciences and informational technology. Although this background informs how the way the author thinks through career diversity preparation, much of the book is still applicable to those who fall outside of science-related fields.

Next Gen Ph.D.: A Guide to Career Paths by Melanie V. Sinche
Despite the book’s focus on STEM fields, it provides a useful point of reference for Ph.D.s in all fields.

Books Recommended by the MLA:

Bolles, Richard Nelson. What Color is Your Parachute? 2015: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers. Revised, updated edition. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2014. Print.

Blaney, Dorothy G., and Ernest R. May. Careers for Humanists. New York: Academic Press, 1981. Print.

Brooks, Peter, and Hilary Jewett. The Humanities and Public Life. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014. Print.

Kelsky, Karen. The Professor is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. into a Job. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2015. Print.

Newhouse, MargaretOutside the Ivory Tower: A Guide for Academics Considering Alternative Careers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Office of Careers, 1993. Print.

Peabody, Rebecca. The Unruly Ph.D.: Doubts, Detours, Departures, and Other Success StoriesNew York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Print.

“Quit Lit”

Essays from people formerly in academia that tell of why they left academia, even after being quite successful and sometimes gaining tenure.

"Why So Many Academics Quit and Tell"  by Sydni Dunn

"Life After Academe: My Blazer Is a Cardigan" by Jocelyn Dawson

"Help Is Right at Hand" by Melissa Dalgleish

"Thesis Hatement: Getting a literature Ph.D. will turn you into an emotional trainwreck, not a professor"  by Rebecca Schuman

"Alt-Ac Isn't Always the Answer" by Jacqui Shine

"No Tenure: Ends, Futures, and Transforming the Academy" by Kathleen Fitzpatrick

"What's the Point? The Dissertation as a Process and Not a Product" by Alexandrina Agloro

"All in Favor of Quitting" by Kelly J. Baker

"Quitting While Black" by Fatimah Williams Castro

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