Field Archaeologist or SurveyorProject Assistant or IllustratorBAJR is here to support you
Archaeology students in their final year may look beyond their final exams to see an even more challenging prospect - finding a job in the industry. About 1,000 people graduate in archaeology-related subjects every year. Most of them will never get their first archaeology job. Of those that do, most leave archaeology after a few years (in 2010 the average age of professional archaeologists in the UK was 38). It has been estimated that 100-200 people join the profession and make it their long-term career - everybody else either doesn't try, or tries and fails. Commercial archaeological contractors employ 90% of archaeologists. You can read more about Profiling the Profession here: http://www.archaeologists.net/profession/profiling
We have also produced a handy Guide ( BAJR Guide to a Career in Archaeology ) you can download in pdf format
So if you are in this situation, and you want to try to start an archaeological career, what steps should you follow?
All of these should appear on the first page.
You shouldn't lie on your cv. But you should highlight if you have relevant knowledge, skills or experience. (if you have the chance to fill some gaps before leaving, now is the time to do it). Keep your CV and covering letter relevant to the post you are applying for. UK companies do not need to know you were a Barrista in 2011 for a coffee shop in Melbourne.
Consider purchasing and using the Skills Passport to guide your patchway to a career - most commercial companies now accept this as proof of competance, however, they prefer to see that skills have been completed in a non academic or fieldschool enviroment. This means you should have 'nearly' completed your Skills Passport by teh time you enter the market.
Skills Passports and additional supporting materials can be found here: http://www.archaeologyskills.co.uk/
The recommended core skills
With these skills also benefiting an applicant
There are over 100 main archaeological employers in the UK. (Over 72 CIfA Registered Organisations). It is a waste of your time and theirs if you approach them all. Choose the ones you want to work for, find out what they are doing at the moment, and note the names of the key staff. Find out whether anyone at the university has links with them which could be used. There is a new system that shows information on the largest 50. http://www.bajr.org/Compare/ContractCompare.asp
Most organisations have centralised recruitment, so don't approach individuals directly, but you should tailor your submission to emphasise areas of their work you could complement.
Job vacancies are advertised on BAJR Jobs Page and the CIfA Job Information Service. Most most job vacancies aren't advertised at all. What tends to happen is a company is told it has got a contract and the race is on to bring a team together in a matter of days. So don't wait for an advert: apply anyway.
Some companies are careful to maintain a list of people who have approached them in case things come up, some just delete on receipt.
Having a degree in archaeology is no indication that you would be an asset if employed. Most companies will ignore any applications from people without 6 months of paid excavation work under their belts (though often the 6 month experience bar is a way to pre-filter applications) or a document (such as the Skills Passport) that can show competance.
So how to get a foot in the door? Be prepared to spend some time learning the practical skills you will need. With any luck if you hang around, a paid post will turn up.
Think about the future
The most valuable asset in your career is the good opinion of your current and future employers. So don't mess them about.
Look at the skills you have and what more you can learn. Keep an up to date CPD Log and keep in touch with what is happening where.
Read this Guide: BAJR Guide 33: a Career in Archaeology
and learn how to write a good CV/Covering letter to go with your application here: https://dougsarchaeology.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/tips-for-an-archaeology-resumecv-if-you-just-graduated/ and this http://urban-archaeology.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/cvs-for-fieldwork-jobs.html
"Good luck " David Connolly (BAJR) ...