Job Search Tips for Archivist Jobs

Archivist jobs are diverse, involving different types of records and skills. As archivists progress in their careers, they tend to specialize in one of the streams of the profession. To a degree, this specialization may narrow the range of job choices.

Job Search Issues for Archivist Jobs

Archivists have a basic problem with job searching: Few suitable jobs exist in each type of archive work. The range of archivist jobs may include the following:

  • Corporate
  • Technical
  • Informational
  • Librarian
  • Historical
  • Data and processing
  • Military archivist.

These jobs represent a menagerie of records systems, record types, vintages and degrees of efficiency. They also have many different archival requirements. The historical and military archivist jobs are for experts, and the positions involve important preservation methods and specialist knowledge. The only general archivist jobs in the preceding list are the corporate archivist and librarian archivist, which are covered by statutory and professional record-keeping requirements and practices.

The movement from hard copy to digital records has also created some problems in archivist jobs, because you create and access digital archives differently. Consequently archivist jobs may now require expertise in the many different systems used for digitization. To avoid wasting your time during your job search, you must concentrate on the specific functions of the archivist job you want.

Narrowing Your Hunt for Archivist Jobs

To narrow your search, you may observe these tips:

  • Specify the type of archive systems you want.
  • Use the genre of archives as a qualifier.
  • Avoid any broad search terms.
  • Use types of employer, sector or employment as search qualifiers.
  • Use professional websites in preference to job boards.
  • If you do use job boards, consider signing up for an alerts system. Although the same search problems will occur, you'll also receive current information from the job boards and therefore reduce your search time. 

Other Types of Job Searches

In your hunt for archivist jobs, you may wish to try one of the following techniques.

Cold canvassing: Experts in particular can search more effectively in their fields by targeting preferred employers. Cold canvassing is a particularly useful approach because expert archivists are relatively few in most academic, military and historical fields, and archivists can both express interest and learn about job options with these employers.

Private collections: Some of the world’s most important archives are actually private collections operated by nonprofit organizations or special-interest groups. Public figures and high-profile organizations often keep extensive records dating back hundreds of years. For some archivists, these collections offer unique opportunities, real dream jobs. If you’ve been interested in one of these collections for a while, consider it a job option too.

Consultancies: Archive work is an actual science. Experienced archivists will be aware of the role of consultants in preservation and archival efficiency studies. One of the effects of digitization has been to create a demand for better systems of archiving. Organizations may need better structure in their digital records, some of which are haphazard at best. Consultancies may represent genuine opportunities to those searching for archivist jobs.