Networking Tips for Archivist Jobs
Education and networking play a large role in your search for archivist jobs. Most archivists have earned graduate degrees in history or in library studies and have taken courses in archives and document management. Networking may begin with the connections you make in school but should grow from work placements or job-related functions. Networking can make you aware of different archivist jobs you didn't know about. Networking can also provide valuable references that secure for you the archivist jobs you want most. The following tips can help you develop your professional network.
Network with Classmates
Your classmates offer a helpful networking source. Contrary to popular belief, not all of your classmates are going for the same positions: Some plan to work for themselves, while others will work in another state or only in museums. You may find still others who are already employed and need more education to secure a promotion. Your classmates can support you since they also understand your work search challenges.
Pursue Internships and Summer Jobs
Even if you can make more money for college by waiting tables, you should spend your summers and as many extracurricular hours as you can working in archives, special collections or museums. Look for positions that require skills also applicable to archivist jobs; such skills include document management, digital storage and preservation, and public presentations and education. All of these skills will transfer to a permanent professional workplace, and your supervisors at these temporary positions can comment on your skills in the reference letter or telephone references later.
Your colleagues in these positions may also offer advice and experience from other positions in archives and information management. They can give you tips and advice and introduce you to other professionals with the power to hire you for permanent archivist jobs.
Join Professional Associations
Professional associations can provide many networking opportunities, from members-only listserves and newsletters, to conferences with job fairs. At live events, you have an opportunity to meet with other archivists and information specialists who can give you information about various archivist jobs. Many professional associations also provide specific events, such as resume-writing presentations, that you can use to help you find work in the profession.
Professional associations, such as the Society of American Archivists, will also host at least one large annual meeting each year. The breakout sessions, networking events and job-finding resources are meant specifically to help you network into a professional archivist position.
Write Articles and Present at Conferences
If you are asked to write an article for a publication or submit a post to a blog that will give you named writing credit, take the opportunity and do an excellent job, even better than you would for your schoolwork. If you are invited to present at a conference, put together a presentation, or even just apply to present.
Why would you take time away from work and school? Many supervisors in the information industry will also take the time to search the names of candidates in a search engine, to find out about the candidate's professional background and online presence. By writing for others and presenting to the profession, you gain more opportunities to make contacts with people. At conferences especially, you can meet people because many attendees will ask questions about your presentation at the conference. This contact may lead to an opportunity to exchange business cards and discuss available archivist jobs at their institutions.