You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Front and center!

Front and center! Photo credit: Michael Forster Rothbart, SUNY Oneonta

Those of you who know me personally know that being still is not a strength of mine. I am always moving, always going forward, and (hopefully) always growing. It’s my pleasure to announce that I completed the requirements for my degree this past weekend in Cooperstown and was awarded with a master’s in Museum Studies. Awhile ago I told myself that I would dedicate my thesis to chocolate covered espresso beans, but my MA gets more than that. In two years I have…

  • Driven from Chicago to Cooperstown 8 times
  • Taken over 25 courses in Museums, History, Art, Collections, Admin, Ed, & Exhibitions
  • Worked with 10 organizations across the country
  • Drafted a thesis over 15 times
  • Bonded, challenged, embraced, and was inspired by 48 classmates
  • Visited the brewery Ommegang enough times that I can’t share

So what now?! I have another degree. I have officially made the move back to Chicago. I have submitted quite a few applications. I have made phone calls. I have interviewed. I have new business cards. I have pondered the difference between “job searching” and “unemployed”. I am trying to be patient. I know that the right fit will come to me.

So all of you emerging museum professionals, what tips do you have for job searches? I know I’m not the only one out there that has become best friends with the job boards. Share your secrets for the good of the group and I’ll pass along your wisdom to the masses!

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About catebay

Informal educator working in the world of art. Interests in public programming and community advocacy. Loves learning about people, collecting blue mason jars, and consuming Swedish fish.
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One Response to You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

  1. Amanda says:

    Congratulations!

    I did my own post grad school job search this past fall, and there were a few things that I found really helpful.

    The first is the website askamanager.org and the two publications available there – one for purchase on job-searching, and a free one on interviewing. I also haunted the cover letter and resume tags in the blog for additional advice.

    I spent a while really fleshing out my LinkedIn profile and collecting my portfolio, linking to everything, documenting everything, and really getting a handle on how to find everything I’d done and how to present it.

    I wrote and rewrote my resume a few dozen times and had a very long CV style resume that I pulled from whenever I applied for a new job. I’d look over the job description with a fine-toothed comb and then match my resume to what the job descriptions were looking for. Same for my cover letter – there were a few phrases I really liked that described me, and those made it into most of my cover letters, but other than that I went line by line to tailor for each job opportunity. I also made sure that key words or phrases from the job description/advertisement made it into my cover letter so I would echo what they were already looking for.

    I also used my network to get background information on jobs once I made the interview stage. The museum world is very small, and with one or two discreet inquiries I was able to have conversations with people who had experience at the institutions I was interviewing with. That helped me to have thoughtful questions for my interviewers and in one case to be much more wary of what the job would actually entail.

    Last but not least, I used my network and let them know I was job hunting – and then that I had accepted a new position. I thanked them for their help (even if they hadn’t referred me anywhere, everyone sent encouraging words!) and let them know where to find me in the future if they needed anything from me.

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