Expanding Career Possibilities for PhDs
Modern Language Association of America Annual Convention, Austin, TX
Friday, January 8, 2016, 8:00-9:45 a.m.
Exploring Your Options
Libraries and Archives
Although a master’s degree in library science or archives is generally the recommended entry point for a career in either field, an increasing number of positions list an advanced graduate degree in a related subject field plus experience as an acceptable alternative (example1, example2). Note that a “love of reading” is probably the least important skill to bring to the job interview, however!
- American Library Association
- Society of American Archivists
Grantwriting and Fundraising
Many non-profits need experienced writers to assist with grantwriting and fundraising. It is also a good option for freelance and consultant work. Before you consider doing freelance grantwriting, however, familiarize yourself with the ethical issues involved, particularly around setting rates.
- Association of Fundraising Professionals – http://www.afpnet.org/
- Code of Ethics – http://www.afpnet.org/Ethics/EnforcementDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=3261
- Consultant Directory – http://fundraisingconsultantsandresourcedirectory.com/?navItemNumber=545
- American Grant Writers Association – http://www.agwa.us/
Facilitation and Strategic Planning
The skills learned in teaching are similar to the ones used in event facilitation and strategic planning. You may want to take some special courses to get a grasp on the jargon and tools of the trade, however. Many universities offer continuing education in management topics, often associated with their business schools, which are good places to start (example).
Finding clients can be challenging; check for posted Requests for Proposals, although often contracts under $5000 are not posted.
Freelance Research and Consulting
In addition to full-time careers in libraries and archives, it is possible to freelance. In this capacity, you may work directly with libraries, archives, and museums on special projects, often funded by grants. To find these types of opportunities, it may be worthwhile to attend professional conferences and join subject interest groups.
You could also assist others with their research. Some archives maintain lists of proxy researchers for hire (example1, example2); you usually need to get an orientation to the archives before you are eligible to be a proxy.
Legal Considerations for Consulting and Freelancing
- Sole Proprietorship Basics (Nolo) – http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sole-proprietorship-basics-29694.html
- Being a Consultant, Freelancer, or Contractor: Pros and Cons (Nolo) – http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/being-consultant-freelancer-or-contractor-29593.html
- Also the Nolo book Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants by Stephen Fishman, J.D. (9th Edition, February 2014) (find it at your local library or purchase it at http://www.nolo.com/products/working-for-yourself-wage.html)
- If you decide to create an LLC, see the Online LLC Package from Nolo ($), with state-specific forms – http://www.nolo.com/products/online-llc-tccllcus.html
- IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center – http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed
- U.S. Small Business Administration Guide for Self Employed & Independent Contractors – http://www.sba.gov/content/self-employed-independent-contractors
Resources for Consultants and Freelancers
- Freelancers Union (free!) – https://www.freelancersunion.org/
- Contract Creator – https://www.freelancersunion.org/contract-creator/
- Insurance options – https://www.freelancersunion.org/benefits/
- Blog with helpful tips – https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/
- Lifehacker.com blog
- Tom Ewer, The Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating Freelance Rates – http://lifehacker.com/5994064/the-complete-guide-to-setting-and-negotiating-freelance-rates
- Jeremy Gordon, A Completely Subjective Dos and Don’ts Guide to Freelancing – http://lifehacker.com/a-completely-subjective-dos-and-donts-guide-to-freela-1246125254
- Paul Jarvis, An Experienced Freelancers Guide to Finding Clients – http://lifehacker.com/an-experienced-freelancers-guide-to-finding-clients-1610357303
- Articles tagged “Freelance” – http://lifehacker.com/tag/freelance
Consultant Directories and Freelance Job Boards
- Society of American Archivists Directory of Archival Consultants – http://www2.archivists.org/consultants
- Library Consultants Directory – http://www.libraryconsultants.org
- Librarians Yellow Pages – http://www.librariansyellowpages.com/
- Special Libraries Association CONSULT Online – http://hq.sla.org/consultonline/index.cfm
- Museums USA Vendor Directory – http://www.museumsusa.org/vendors/
- American Alliance of Museums Museum Marketplace – http://museummarketplace.com/
- People per Hour – http://www.peopleperhour.com/
- Upwork – https://www.upwork.com
- Lance List (curated list of freelance job boards, some $) – http://www.lancelist.com/