Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, Head of Communications, Wessex Archaeology tells us his 5 top tips for getting your first job in archaeology
Don’t wait until after final exams. Follow these simple tips while you are at university and give yourself a head start!
- Get archaeological experience
Start with projects run by universities or local societies. There are volunteer opportunities available all over the country during the summer; having experience on a range of digs will help your CV. Working in a museum or record office also provides valuable experience. This work experience is likely to be unpaid, but it helps the organisations and shows employers you are interested and committed.
- Get the right range of experience
Try to work on different types of projects and do different things. If you are on a dig, go beyond the trowel and work with the environmental samples and finds processing. Making records, whether it is through planning, filling out record forms or surveying, is particularly important. Understanding why things are recorded and the significance of those observations is vital. Don’t be afraid to ask to do this — supervisors will be pleased you are taking an interest.
- Get your Driving Licence
Most permanent jobs in fieldwork require you to drive as part of the job. It is hard to fit in lessons if you are away from home digging, so be sure to so plan this into your vacations. Tell your parents or guardian they need to invest a teeny bit more in your future sooner rather than later! If you have a disability that means you cannot drive, you should look at this issue carefully.
- Make sure your CV is strong
Most projects and jobs will ask you to send in a completed application form or a CV. This CV is about your employability, not just your educational achievements. You need to tell people about your archaeological experience, your transferable skills such as graphics, and your soft skills such as team working, presentation and communication skills. Summarise these skills and experience in a covering letter.
- Look at joining the IfA
The Institute for Archaeology has student membership which gives you access to information and training about professional practice. Joining the IfA will help show employers that you are serious about the profession.