EMPs (Emerging Museum Professionals) know the struggle of creating a stand out resume and writing cover letter after cover letter. What would it look like if we really said what we meant on our museum resumes?
What my resume says: Interned at Art Museum
What it should say: Can now successfully make a visor out of foam paper
— Mary Kate Roper (@Mkrs19) July 5, 2017
Museum education is:
☑️5% inspiring kids
☑️5% inspiring adults
☑️50% stacking chairs
☑️20% lifting boxes
☑️20% moving tables to other rooms
— Ashleigh Hibbins (@aehibbins) July 4, 2017
We teamed up with Ashleigh, one of our blog writers, to put together an Honest Museum Resume:
Your Name Here
We both know the answer to this: To get a paid job in a museum. Any job. Please. This is getting ridiculous. At least give me an interview; this is the 20th job I’ve applied for.
Hopefully Heard of This University
BA in History, just like everyone else
Or This University
MA in This Is Required For All The Job Descriptions I’m Looking At
Postgraduate Certificate in This Might Make My Resume Stand Out
My Paid Job – Not a Museum Inc
At my office job, I organize and file data about our clients. I like to tangentially relate these skills to archiving, donor database management, and visitor experience.
Volunteer Role – A Museum!
Long Commuteville, USA
I volunteer at a historic home dating back to colonial times. A dead president once visited here. I’m hoping that the unreal amount of hours I’ve put in wearing uncomfortable period costume will attract attention and get me a full time job.
Campus Art Gallery
Museum Education Internship
Mostly moving tables around and acting as a human shield between small children and priceless paintings.
Another Art Gallery, but bigger
I thought this fixed-term internship might actually lead to a permanent position. I was so innocent back then. Hopefully it makes me look more experienced.
A Historic House
Visitor Experience Internship
“We closed 10 minutes ago, Sir. Please make your way to the exit. I haven’t seen my family in weeks.”
Relevant Museum Skills
- Working on weekends
- Chair stacking
- Carrying heavy and awkwardly-shaped objects
- Juggling multiple part-time jobs
- Smiling until my face hurts
- Answering the same questions over and over but acting like I’m still interested
- Blocking out the cries of children
- Being on my feet all day
- Explaining my job to people who don’t work in museums
- Taking lunch at weird hours
- Tweeting and Instagramming, no really
- Attending unnecessary meetings that could have been emails
- Writing job applications
While it’s not practical for job seekers to create resumes like this, it is important for job postings to get a little more honest. Many have said job descriptions, and even job titles, are full of buzzwords and generally described responsibilities, often culminating in the dreaded idea of “other duties as assigned.”
Between broad job descriptions, and often unrealistic experience requirements, museum job seekers are often left frustrated during the job hunt.
What do you think? What’s missing from job descriptions and what can museums do to get better at writing them? Let us know in the comments.
Did you know we have a jobs website that gathers awesome museum jobs all in one place? Check it out at Museum.jobs! Job seekers can find the best museum jobs in the US, UK, and Canada, and museums can post their jobs for free.