So you want to work in museums...

MP workshops offers advice to early career professionals
Early career professionals have been advised that being able to listen is one of the most important skills that will allow them to progress in the museum sector.

The advice was shared during an MP workshop, So you want to work in Museums, on the second day of the Museums Association (MA) Conference & Exhibition 2015.

“There are no easy answers, as the sector is tough at the moment, but there are opportunities,” said Jess Turtle, the programme coordinator for Transformers, the MA’s mid-career professional development programme. 
“Being able to listen is the number one thing that will allow you to move your career forward. It takes constant practice but if you nail it, it can help you in interviews, help you form better relationships and become a valuable part of a team.”

Charlotte Holmes, the MA’s museum development officer, who co-presented the workshop, also offered advice for people looking to start or develop a career in museums.

“One questions to ask yourself is what difference you want to make,” she said. “That will give you the flexibility to consider whether a job will be appropriate for you and focus on the bigger picture.”

Holmes suggested that once people have a long-term vision for their career, they can start to identify the key steps they need to take in the short to medium term to reach that goal.

“Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, and be honest about what skills you need to improve on that will set up apart from the competition,” she said. “Two gaps that we see are in IT skills and business skills.”

She also recommended joining networks, such as the Group for Education in Museums, setting up peer learning groups, and finding a mentor.

Turtle and Holmes will both be speaking at Moving On Up: Taking Control of Your Museum Career, a one-day conference for early museum professionals taking place on 2 March 2016 at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool.