Surviving and thriving and getting that professional archives position.

Welcome. If you're here, you're probably wondering how to get some job--maybe the perfect professional archives position or maybe just something you can use as a springboard--and you're seeking advice on how to do that. From searching for advertisements to writing a resume or cover letter to making it through the interview. And hopefully even beyond.

No guarantees, you probably already know a lot of this, but maybe some help from a lot of people who want to make sure that good candidates get good jobs. If you've got better advice? or need further explanation? Please share in the comments.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Okay, I'm hoping at this point we're over half-way through. Okay, more precisely, I hope I'm over halfway through because you would not believe how much time I've spent writing these entries. I promised myself I would start posting the blog entries once I'd written at least half of them so that I could be sure they'd be released on a regular basis and still give myself some ability to walk away from the project for a while if other professional duties got in the way.  [ed. note: And did other duties really get in the way! I feel like I'm time-traveling.  I think I wrote the first draft of this posting in early Feb. Now I find I'm writing nearly daily just to keep on schedule!  Good thing I got that head start.]

Here's my plans for the remaining: a bunch of entries on interviewing and a bunch of entries on more macro topics like how long does a job recruitment typically take and so forth.

Since I am topically at the halfway point I'm going to take a break and reiterate a few things. If none of the specifics I've provided stick with you, I ask that you grasp onto the tailoring and proofreading parts. The odds/statistics/what-have-you on any specific piece of advice are not guaranteed, of course. We're seeing too much discrepancy, perhaps too much individuality? among our respondents. Nobody will conduct a search exactly the same way and you simply cannot be expected to predict every possible ingredient the recruiter might add to the mix.

Having said that, that doesn't mean that you can stop trying to predict, stop tailoring, stop proofreading. Even if you might find the one recruiter who cares nothing about the information you provide so carefully and spend so much time crafting (I think I worked for that guy once) I don't think there's many of that type out there. And if they don't care about you or the information you provide, sure, you might still get the job, but is it a job you're going to want? Perhaps so. I'm--if you haven't figured it out yet--really goal-oriented when it comes to my career. I know what I want to be doing, I know where I want to be doing it, and every move I've made job-wise thus far is working me toward that eventual goal.  Even if a few of them have been lateral passes. You might not feel the same way about a job. You may just be looking for job security and have no particular interest in what the job is.  Here's my thoughts about that: while passion for and interest in the work isn't sufficient for me to hire you, if you don't exhibit it, there's a good chance that lack could take you out of the running especially if I have other equally qualified candidates who are able to express their interest in this exact job. Again, I want somebody who wants the job I have on offer, not just any job. Not all employers will feel the same.

I'll also take this opportunity to thank all of you who have jumped into the discussions.  I'm clearly not omniscient here and so I really appreciate the follow-up questions.  I've only seen a couple of commenters who I'd classify as recruiters so far but a few of them are paying attention and adding their thoughts which I also appreciate (cf. the "not omniscient" thing mentioned earlier.)

On with the show. Ready for interviews?  That's up next.  In the meantime, don't forget to take a look at Amber's resume and provide commentary attached to the post about Amber here.


  1. I've been following closely, but had yet to say anything - just absorbing - A LOT! :)

    I know Amber's resume is up (and the cover letter is too), and you've covered cover letters, and talked about bringing up examples, but this popped up today, and I was curious about yours, or anyone's thoughts. Plus, I didn't want to lost track of it - and this seemed like a decently appropriate posting.

    I was amused, for a number of reasons. They (Yahoo! & this Viscusi guy) claim this is the "perfect" cover letter. It was allegedly (which I think is probably the proper term) written by Da Vinci. Any thoughts?

  2. Um, well, probably not going to get you a job with me! I like flattery as much as the next person, but the "Most Illustrious Lord" a) gets my gender wrong (bad move!) and b) is a little over the top...