What do I need?
The two jobs considered in part 1 either require candidates to have or desire them to have the following qualifications, which can be roughly divided into the categories of “education” and “on the job experience”:
- A second MA/Concentration in the Humanities
- Evidence of continued professional growth
- C. A.
- C. R. M.
- Excellent communications skills
- Knowledge of Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
- Knowledge of Manuscript Cataloguing
- Knowledge of digital preservation & Conservation
- Knowledge of Management of Confidential/Sensitive Records
- Knowledge of Databases
- Knowledge of metadata & encoding
- 3 years experience
- Supervisory Experience
- Experience with grant writing
- Experience/Knowledge of Teaching and Creative Display making
- Public Service Experience
- Experience with Academic Institutions
- Experience with Archivists’ Toolkit and Aeon
What do I have?
The only of these qualifications that I can be said to currently have is excellent communication skills – thanks to my B.A. in history and my ongoing M.A. work in the same, I have had to become reasonably good at written communication (many, many essays) and also oral communication (many, many presentations). I also have quite a lot of teamwork to my name.
Beyond this, though I do not have my MLIS and my “second MA” in “the humanities,” I feel reasonably confident in counting them as a “have” seen as I am working on them as we speak and will have them when I do enter the job-market. For the Kentucky job, which specifically listed a concentration in Southern history as an asset, my M.A. will make me particularly well suited – my major area of focus is in American history through the Civil War era, and my research is on the experiences and mentalities of Confederate soldiers during and after the Civil War.
How do I get the rest?
The rest of the slightly daunting list of qualifications is made up of things that I do not yet have. Happily, however, they are made somewhat less daunting by the fact that I am in several cases likely to acquire them as a result of things I am already doing. For example, all of the “Knowledge of” qualifications are ones that I expect to acquire as a result of the courses that I will be taking to complete my MLIS. Taking the Archival Administration, Digital Curation and Preservation, Intro to Archival and Library Conservation, and Administration of Historical Agencies courses should go a considerable way to providing me with those qualifications.
What knowledge-based qualifications I don’t get from my schooling I anticipate acquiring and honing while preparing for the Academy of Certified Archivists exam (and possibly the Records Management exam as well). Though I have not yet determined with absolute certainty that certification is something I will pursue, the evidence of these two job postings’ suggests that it could be an asset in keeping me competitive. I also feel that it would constitute the “evidence of continued professional growth” that the Kentucky job was seeking.
In terms of the experience-related qualifications, the obvious truth is that before I can get a more advanced position like the ideal ones I listed below, I am going to need to find an entry level position and work my way up. Ideally, because I do have an interest in eventually holding higher management positions, these earlier jobs should include a supervisory role. At minimum, whatever position I do find will hopefully help me to become acclimatized to the various roles I will need to have some competencies in. It should be mentioned, also, that several of these “experience” qualifications will also likely be answered by my educational pursuits – experience of Archivists’ Toolkit, for example, will almost certainly come about in my archiving coursework, and I know for a fact that grant writing is among the skills taught in the core courses of the graduate history program.
In short, I believe that the skills I am going to need for the kinds of jobs I would like to have are going to come about as a result of me keeping on keeping on, just as I already am. The education I have planned for myself is an excellent start, and after that it is just going to be a matter of getting myself out there and getting the experiences that I need. In the short term, I can already work on those experiences right now, by engaging in volunteering at local archives like the archive of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (where I will hopefully be starting to volunteer sometime next week.)