Written by Glyn Jones, Careers Consultant at UCL Careers.
As part of Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Themed Week, we held an event on Careers in Cultural Heritage on 14 November 2019. Four panellists joined us for a Q&A discussion, sharing their insights from the experiences they’ve had during their time in the industry.
Here are the top tips that we took away from the event:
1. Pursue your passion
Tellingly, each panellist told us why they love what they do. They were passionate about various things including research, history, volunteering or arts and literature, all of which allow them to contribute to the industry in which they work. Pursuing your passion will not only contribute to your drive in the workplace, but means you’re more likely to enjoy your role. Make sure that you can demonstrate this passion, through attending relevant talks and events, carrying out research or even going on to do a postgraduate qualification.
2. Find a skill that you are good at
Having a desirable skill that you are good at, which you’re able to evidence during an application process, can give you an advantage when applying for opportunities. Some of the panellists mentioned how they utilise particular skills that they are good at and tailor this towards opportunities for which they are applying. Demonstrating your suitability for a role through this particular skill allows you to carve out your own area of expertise within an industry.
3. Gain relevant experience
Relevant experience can be crucial in job applications. Through this, you’re able to demonstrate your understanding of the sector, the day to day responsibility required for the role and how you are well equipped to do this. Work placements as part of a Masters are excellent opportunities to gain these experiences, as are internships and volunteering opportunities.
4. Be adaptable
Show that you can turn your hand to multiple tasks to demonstrate your adaptability and broad skillset. Panellists highlighted the importance of being able to work with a range of different collections, taking on more management responsibilities through their roles and juggling multiple projects across different locations. Whatever the work involves, showing a can-do attitude and being able to adapt to changing circumstances is a valuable skill for this sector.
5. Make the most of development opportunities
The Cultural Heritage industry seems to be fiercely competitive, therefore panellists were keen to emphasise the importance of making the most of developmental opportunities when they come around. This could be gaining further experiences within your organisation, taking part in training offered by your employer, pursuing further education or undertaking a
traineeship. All these opportunities will enable you to further your knowledge as well as giving you valuable practical experience.
6. Push yourself
All panellist spoke about the importance of working hard and showing a commitment to the work that you do. Push yourself; this commitment can lead to the opportunity to take on more responsibility and gaining further skills, which may prove useful later on in your career. The panellists said this with the caveat that with a long career ahead of you, you should make sure to avoid burnout.
Networking can be important in many different sectors. Building contacts and professional networks can be crucial in getting valuable insights and hearing about future opportunities within certain industries. The picture painted by our panellists was of a highly competitive industry that has stiff competition for each vacancy. Through your networks, you will be able to set yourself apart to gain valuable insights that can give you the edge when applying for vacancies.
You can read our other post-event blog from Museums, Arts and Cultural Heritage Week: Careers in Museums
If you want to speak to one of our Careers Consultants about your career, please book an appointment via MyUCLCareers