Journey to becoming an Archivist/Preservationist

Post Grad Job!

It finally happened! I’ve secured my first post graduate job. The job is in the archive field which is what I wanted however it is in a corporate archive which is not something I have any experience with, however I’m a fast learner and I am excited about the idea of learning new things. I started applying for jobs in April of this past year, but I didn’t graduate until August. Depending on how you look at it, it either took me 7 months or 3 months to secure a job. Typically it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year from what I’ve been told so I count my self VERY lucky especially since I didn’t have to take any old job and volunteer while I continued to apply for jobs.

For the remainder of this post I will add on some information about resume’s and I have decided to make pages on the website that will include full lists of resources so I don’t have to have extra longs posts due to links!

Your resume along with your cover letter can be the hardest part of applying for jobs. This is one of the reasons that looking at job posting early can be really helpful. I have looked at tons of sites and information, webnairs ect that talk about resumes. Granted I am new in the profession I do have a bit of experience I had a job before I started college and that I maintained until I transfered schools and two more jobs plus an internship that I held as an undergraduate one of the jobs and the internship relate to archives. During grad school I held on to a previous job and started my assistantship I eventually let the job go and continued with the assistantship and volunteered prior to graduating I completed another internship. I have four positions plus a volunteer position that I did that are all relatable but to make my resume to be the coveted one page that everyone says you must stick with I have a total of three positions listed on my resume however depending on the job I tweak my resume to show experience such as customer service or museum work and such. Having a few versions of your resume is actually very helpful and you can tweak them throughout the job application process. Another thing to look out for which I will discuss in another post is the CV. For those wanting to work in the academic field a CV is a must!

Ok we talked about experience so what else should be on your resume? I have two formats for my resume one being sectioned and another being linear. There are debates on what type of layout is best however with pdf formats being standard for most application process I find that my sectioned resume is one different than most applicants whom opt for the linear resume format and when converting to a linear format my resume is actually 3 pages long, but by sectioning it, it can be condensed to one. The first and most standard section is your headline.

A headline includes your name, phone number and e-mail. If you choose to you can put your address on it as well. I originally had my address on it as well but the more information I gathered the more people kept pointing out that few employers will send you snail mail and when they have to your address would be on your application and in hiring forms. The next section is debatable typically this would be your objective statement.

The objective statement used to be where you put what your objective goals is. However, most employers get that your objective is TO GET A JOB. Therefore most agree not to use this anymore. Now you can take this out altogether and create more space for your experience or you can use it in a way such as highlighting your career goals or special skills that you have. I used mine as a highlight to discuss the types of materials, settings (since I don’t have my museum job on my resume I use this space to mention working in a museum and some of the related skill that are not mentioned in my resume and ones that are that I want emphasized i.e. if thy want someone who can catalogue I mention it here and in the position where I did most of my cataloguing. This is just one example of how to utilize this space. Others use it as more of an attention grabber such as why they are interested in this particular position or employer.

Following this it is customary to list your education for those of you that have high degrees it is important to list those here. Another topic of debate is listing an associates. Personally I have an A.S., B.A. and MLIS I do not list my A.S. simply because it takes up more space and its not really something employers are interested in they just need to know that you have the Bachelors and Masters. I do however mention it in my cover letters and applications. Also do not include your GPA unless it is a 3.0 or higher. Some opt to leave it out. If you had a minor or concentration its good to list here too. My minor was information science which relates to my career field and therefore I prefer to mention it but say you have a B.A. in history and the job has to do with Medieval Manuscripts. While if your concentration in your B.A. was Medieval history it would be good to put that in.

Next up is your experience this is where you list your jobs, internships, volunteer experience ect. You can use several methods title, position, location, dates held and bullet points or description. Any of these are acceptable ways for your resume. Make sure to check your spelling, Use full sentences even if using bullet points and make sure it makes sense. This is where you want to point out what you did in each position. The next section is skills.

Skills can be a number of things databases, time management, phase boxes, knowledge of copyright laws or patent laws, customer service ect. Next for us newbies would be related courses. Having an MLIS is a diverse degree and I learned a lot more than just archives and preservation. I took course on academic and special libraries tech courses, database courses, records management ect. So make sure to include what is relevant to the position or your concentration.

Next up is honors or awards usually deans list, presidents list, most improved and other recognition would be good to list if you have if not leave it out and there are many other options you can use. Last but not least are organizations. As new professionals it is important to be a part of organizations such as American Library Association and the Society of American Archivists also include if you are a member of any school organizations i.e. alumni association, school library associations and sorority or fraternity associations and honors associations.

These are just a few ideas you can also include things such as certifications, publications and other things that you want to make sure the people viewing your resume know. Make sure to make your self look your best and to stand out against other candidates.  This can be difficult I understand I have a friend who we were both in the MLIS program took most of the same classes and both worked in the same assistantship and our main differences were we did our internships in different locations and she graduated a few months before me and had a part-time temporary job and I had a previous internship and my museum experience but other wise on paper we basically looked the same and this was true with some of the other people in our program so it is necessary for us especially when we were competing for the same jobs to make ourselves stand out as not being all the same.

As I stated before I will make a new page for the links and resources for resumes and as always let me know in the comments if there is anything that you want me to cover, add, or put your own input in!

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