Graduate Interviews Series: Recent Alumni talk about how they got their jobs

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Credit: Glasgow Guardian / Rosie Wilson

Selena Drake & Harry Vizor
Deputy Editor & Features Editor

Emma Smith talks to the Glasgow Guardian about how she found employment following her Master in Museum Studies

In this week’s interview we speak to Emma Smith who did a part-time Museum Studies MSc in 2014-16. She talks to us about how she got her position at the Imperial War Museum and what tips she has for soon-to-be graduates.

1) How old are you?
27

2) What is your job title and can you give a brief summary of what you do?
I am an Exhibitions & Interpretation Manager. I initiate, project manage and deliver temporary exhibitions at the London branch of Imperial War Museums. Duties include building and leading project teams, managing project schedules and budgets, advising on interpretation and shaping content for exhibitions.

3) How long have you worked there?
I’ve been working here for 8 months.

4) Can you give us a ballpark of your salary?
I make £35,000 (inc. London waiting time).

5) Why would this job appeal to students yet to graduate?
This job presents an opportunity to inform the way the stories of our past are told in innovative, creative and relevant ways, preserving them for current and future generations.

6) How did you get the job and what was the process like?
I worked my entry-level job whilst studying for my MSc at Glasgow part-time which stood me in good stead to take the next step in my career. The best sources for jobs in the sector are www.museumjobs.comandwww2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/JobsDesk(updated weekly), which is where I saw my job advertised. The application itself included a rigorous written application and face-to-face interview.

7) What are the main perks of the job?
Working with highly knowledgeable and experienced museum professionals in a world-class museum. Influencing how stories from our military past are told to contemporary audiences. There’s also a spitfire hanging in the foyer, it’s pretty to cool to see that every day.

8) Do you have any tips for students entering the job market soon?
Jobs in the Museum & Heritage sector are highly competitive. Often applicants will have voluntary experience working in relevant organisations, and be educated to undergraduate and often postgraduate degree level. Expect to apply for lots of different jobs and receive lots of knock backs. It’s important not to take this personally, learn from the process and persevere. Apply for jobs even if you are unsure if you meet the criteria. Show job applications and CVs to your friends or family, or, better still, people in the industry to check tone, style and formatting.