Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Internship

Personal news first; just a few days ago, I secured a volunteer position for myself as an assistant archivist at a local history museum. This will allow me to update and refine the archive’s catalog, conduct research, and even vet publications that have requested to use the museum’s images and photographs. It’s volunteer, as I said, but its work that I’ve always been interested in and it allows me to fill a gap on my professional resume.

Which brings me to today’s blog.

If you’ve ever seen curriculum vitae, you know that they can be pretty terrifying for both the reader and the writer. Imagine a resume, but a resume created by a very zealous police detective after two hours spent in the station’s basement interrogation room. “Where were you between 2007 and 2009 in your professional career? Can any superiors verify your story? Why’d you really go to community college, bub?”

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets that cold feeling in the pit of their stomach when a CV is mentioned. I have enough experience to fill out a one-page resume, but I’ve read that the more detailed CV usually exceeds five pages. This provides space to list doctoral work, internships, and published writing. Currently, none of these really apply to me, so whenever I get the chance to extend the page count, I take it.

In the museum world, the more hats you can honestly claim to have worn during your career, the better. Management, education, funding and development, and archives; the more boxes you tick, the better your chances of getting hired even to a mid-career position. This is especially true this age of decreased funding and increased efficiency. Having spent my undergraduate years working in an on-campus cafĂ©, I may be a bit behind when it comes to the breadth of my credentials, but I’m working hard to make up the difference.

Sometimes I wonder whether it might be a good career move to go back to school, get an even more advanced degree, and start the job hunt fresh in a few years. But who’s to say that this wouldn’t just be postponing the problem? These days, when the economy is lousy and everyone seems to be going back to school, is it better to follow their lead? Or to keep slogging along and accumulate real-world experience?

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Are you the police detective who told me about resume keywords? Do you have nightmares about being naked in front of a group of curriculum vitas? Any comments on professional development, or the pretty new template for my blogger profile, can be left in the space below.

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