Museum Professionals: How to Navigate the Job Search Process During COVID-19

JOB_Search_Process_IG_Blog_Post-01.jpgBefore the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us had job security and a fairly optimistic perspective on the job market. But now, as all but essential businesses are still under lockdown, museum doors remain closed, and more furloughs or layoffs are expected, the job market will only continue to get more competitive.

What do you do now? Are there still jobs available in the museum sector? How can you continue to move forward professionally in the museum field or find a new job in the middle of this turbulent time?

In this new world affected by COVID-19, it can be perplexing and nerve-wracking figuring out where to even begin your job search. But do not worry. Whether you’ve been furloughed, let go, or trying to land a new job, we’re here to help transform obstacles into opportunities and get your feet back on solid ground.


Where to Find Your Next Job

Founder and CEO of Talent Inc. Jeff Berger, states that the best strategy to make it through this challenging time is to get creative and focus on short-term solutions. Take an inventory of your abilities and leverage your top skills to fit telecommuting positions in sectors that are presently ramping up their hiring.

75 Companies That are Actively Hiring During COVID-19

60 Best Remote Jobs Websites to Find Great Remote Jobs in 2020

For jobs in the museum sector, consistently check in the “Jobs,” or “Careers” website section of the museums you’d like to work at, and be sure to join and actively follow various museum industry job boards including WMA’s Job Board, AAM’s Career Site, NCPH’s Job Listings, CAM’s Job Directory, the Small Museum Association’s Job Board, and LinkedIn’s Museum Jobs Group.


The New Resume

Yes, traditional one-page resumes are still very effective. However, believe it or not in the time of a crisis, a typical resume and cover letter may not cut it for some employers. You might consider taking your application one step further to truly stand out in the sea of the now unemployed.

Co-founder of Guillaume Moubeche explains in a step-by-step guide how to drop the traditional resume and cover letter to get interviews and find your new dream job no matter where you are in the world during this time of COVID-19.

When it comes to adding skills to your resume, you'll need to know exactly what skills the employer is looking and you will need to tailor your ENTIRE resume to make it relevant to the position. Do not simply copy and paste skills into the skills section. For guidance and on what skills (soft skills and hard skills) to add, and to do so correctly, read through ResumeLab's 50 Good Skills for a Resume & Examples You Should List Now guide.

But no matter if you’re submitting a resume, writing an email, reaching out on LinkedIn, or sending a video, you MUST still take the time to polish your writing (or speech), and demonstrate the value you can bring to the company during these uncertain times.

45 Quick Changes That Help Your Resume Get Noticed

Job Application Email Examples + Writing Tips


The Power of Networking

While the work-from-home experience has isolated many of us and made the job seeking process even more stressful, now is actually the perfect opportunity to network. People in the museum field are not traveling for business or attending conferences, but are instead staying home where you can easily reach out to them by phone or email.

In the article Networking in the Age of COVID-19, Korn Ferry career coaches and executives discuss how to network (and how not to network) during these unsettling times. CEO of Korn Ferry, Gary Burnison, states that “…if you want to be successful at networking, you must keep in mind that it really isn’t about you. It’s about building relationships—and relationships aren’t one-way streets.”


Virtual Interviews

Not only are we now networking from our comfortable couches, we are participating in a variety of digital meetups and interviews. But these remote conversations look and feel a lot different than the typical in-person interviews we’re all used to. Overcome the obstacle of the daunting Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts interview by reading through these simple tips:

  1. Check your tech
    1. Something almost always goes wrong with technology. Check your internet connection, make sure your virtual meeting platforms and tools are working accordingly, and do a few test runs.
  2. Set your background
    1. Remember that what the interviewee sees is a virtual glimpse into your life, so make sure your space is clean, organized, professional, quiet, and well lit. Or opt for one of these professional-looking backdrops.
  3. Dress the part
    1. Just like an in-person interview, you’ll need to be looking your best (but pajama bottoms are acceptable).
  4. Practice and prepare to increase your confidence
    1. As if in-person interviews weren’t awkward enough, virtual interviews can make it even harder to get a good read on the interviewer. To help boost your confidence and assure that you’ll impress your interviewer, take the time to:
      1. Research the company/organization in depth. What is the mission statement? Do they have any upcoming projects or exhibitions? Who is interviewing you and what do they do? How are they responding to COVID-19? Who are their employees and competitors?
      2. Have at least 3-5 job-specific questions in your back pocket. While you’re researching the company/organization, you should be able to come up with a few solid, unique questions to ask. Not sure what to ask? Here are a few examples to get you started.
      3. Rehearse your answers to ALL possible questions.
  5. Be patient and be on-time
    1. If something goes wrong, be patient and understanding, and politely respond to any technological glitches. In terms of being virtually on-time, you still want to be early but only enter your meeting 2-3 minutes prior.

Remember, when all of this has passed, the world will need more museum professionals like YOU who are committed to shaping the future of the field, rejuvenating communities, and helping the world to carry forward with a sense of hope. Take this time to develop your skills further (even if in another industry) so you can come back to a museum job stronger than ever before.


Written by Jessica Noyes, Communications Coordinator, WMA

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Just want to see if you are a robot.