Like the MLA, all professions have an umbrella trade organization for networking, offering resources, organizing conferences or conventions, building industry case studies, driving best practices, and highlighting innovative research. Some even serve as watchdogs for the profession, ensuring best practices of members or legal aid. These organizations also offer invaluable professionalization for those trying to enter the particular industry or profession they represent. Many of the articles and posts on the Connected Academics site suggest that PhD candidates or postdocs translate their graduate school experience into skills identifiable by professionals outside the academy. Shannon Lujan, in “Preparing for a Future in the Humanities as an English PhD,” explains how PhDs can reimagine “their skill sets, boundaries, and potential career paths.” I would further suggest that before you begin your job search, you also translate the business practices of those industries that interest you into foundational skills that match your own. The major skills are often clearly identified and defined by the various trade organizations.
For example, I work in the advertising and marketing industry. Each of the disciplines in a typical agency, whether creative, account management, or strategy or planning, require three fundamental skills: research, persuasion, and deadline management—these skills humanities PhDs have in spades. Marketers research data to mine insights about the consumer, the client’s industry, and innovative tactics across the marketing or cultural landscape on which to model our own. They then develop ideas from this research that hopefully persuade our consumer to a desired action. But we also must use persuasion internally before an idea reaches the light of day. Internal management or account leaders in an agency must be persuaded of an idea’s viability before it reaches the clients. Ultimately our clients, before they give an idea the green light to go into execution, must also be persuaded of an idea’s potential effectiveness. They too must often persuade their leadership of an idea’s worth before they invest in it and often employ further research to make their case. All this happens in an environment driven by internal and external deadlines.
Most important, all professions have their own jargon. Identifying and using their key words, phrases, and acronyms is also crucial to making your résumé “scannable” and relevant to a potential interviewer. Like using SEO in a Web site, “keywording” your résumé with phrases and important words to a profession will help you get past the machine-reading level of most human resources departments. Sifting through the trade organization’s various articles and posts will help you identify their jargon.
Below are the major trade organizations for professions most relevant to a humanities PhD. Besides the national organizations, most also have regional chapters in major cities across the country that can afford you further networking opportunities as well as the ability to identify key players with whom to schedule an informational interview.
Marketing or Advertising
American Marketing Association (AMA) is the leading professional society for those with interest in the practice, study, and teaching of marketing. With content coming from unrivaled scholarly journals, like the Journal of Marketing, and award-winning publications, like Marketing News, the AMA offers a robust perspective that understands the expectations on marketers to provide solutions for both today and tomorrow. https://www.ama.org/Pages/default.aspx
Association of National Advertisers (ANA) advances marketing excellence through rich proprietary content, industry-leading conferences, career-enhancing training, award-winning publications, engaging webinars, and marketer-led committees. http://www.ana.net/
Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) provides resources aimed at helping to create more effective marketing and advertising communications. http://thearf.org/
Digital Media Association (DiMA) is the ambassador for the digital media industry that includes webcasters, online media, digital services, and technology innovators. DiMA is the leading advocate for a stable legal environment in which to build ideas into industries and inventions into profits. http://www.digmedia.org
The Center for Communication aims to better prepare students for careers in media by connecting them with the best minds in media and offering free seminars, featuring outstanding media leaders, to inform college students on the ever-evolving media industry. http://www.centerforcommunication.org/
The Paley Center for Media leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. www.paleycenter.org
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) provides professional development, sets standards of excellence, and upholds principles of ethics for its members. We also advocate for greater understanding and adoption of public relations services and act as one of the industry’s leading voices on the important business and professional issues of our time. www.prsa.org
Suggested Alternatives to “#AltAc”#PublicPhD
#ntwrkdPhD (Networked PhD)
#ROIPhD (Return on PhD Investment)
#WDYMBPhD? (What do you mean by PhD?)
The Authors Guild serves as the collective voice of American authors. Our members include novelists, historians, journalists, and poets—traditionally and independently published—as well as literary agents and representatives of writers’ estates. www.authorsguild.org
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is the largest trade association in the United States for the consumer, educational, professional, and scholarly publishing industry. Our more than four hundred member organizations include United States–based multinational corporations, independent publishers, university presses, nonprofit publishers, professional and scholarly societies, and industry service providers. AAP is dedicated to representing American publishing priorities worldwide and advancing the role of publishers in contemporary society. Our work focuses on advocacy at the regional, federal, and international level; digital standards development and monitoring; and statistical analysis and reporting. http://publishers.org/
The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) focuses on the major issues that affect today’s newspaper industry: public policy or legal matters, advertising revenue growth, and audience development across the medium’s broad portfolio of products and digital platforms. http://www.naa.org/
Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) has a twofold purpose: to provide services and leadership that ensure the success of its members and to strengthen alternative journalism through advocacy and education. http://www.altweeklies.com/
The American Association of University Publishers (AAUP) promotes the work and influence of university presses, provides cooperative marketing opportunities, and helps its more than one hundred thirty member presses fulfill their common commitments to scholarship, the academy, and society. AAUP members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, and are innovators in the world of electronic publishing. www.aaupnet.org
The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over three thousand members, IBPA is the largest publishing trade association in the United States. www.ibpa-online.org
Museums and Libraries
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) strengthens and supports the museum community through advocacy and excellence. We support thirty thousand museums, individuals, and companies by developing standards and best practices, providing resources and career development, and advocating for museums to thrive. http://www.aam-us.org/
The American Library Association (ALA) provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. http://www.ala.org
Christopher Martiniano is a PhD candidate from the Department of English at Indiana University, Bloomington, with a PhD minor from the Department of Art History. He is currently freelancing at advertising agencies across Chicago, completing his dissertation on William Blake, and working as an adjunct at Loyola University Chicago and Columbia College. #ntwrdphd