Part of any records manager’s career is getting a job in the industry. Some folks gain experience in a position because no-one else wants it then feel a need to move into a more RM specific position, others find themselves graduating with a records management qualification and seeking employment, still others find records management to be an add-on to their librarian role or what have you. Whichever way we find ourselves on the career path, eventually we’ll need to enter the job market, and this article seeks to educate you on just how to go about that.
First things first. You’ll need to do extensive preparations to get your CV in order. Aim initially for a comprehensive document that covers all your achievements with extensive, but concise details. The first half page ought to cover the title and your personal details. Beneath that, start on your most recent work experience relevant to the position at hand, followed by the next three or four positions.
Mention in each your position, how long you were there for, and chief responsibilities. Don’t forget to provide specifics of how you were able to turn the organisation from a paper-losing haven of compliance breaches to the top of the line paperless office with seamless integration of records management within business processes (chance would be a fine thing!).
If you’re short on records management employment, add any other information-related jobs you’ve had in the past. This might be as simple as cataloguing your DVD collection, but try and use your life-experience to its best advantage.
Next reference any publications you’ve been lucky enough to have had published and finally add your academic qualifications. Add your average grade and the range at the bottom. Further expert advice on writing a CV can be found at Great CV’s.
Once you’ve completed your extended CV – which you can use to tailor two page CVs when applying for positions – it is time to start scouring the classifieds and there are loads of websites with records and knowledge management careers on them. Here’s a short list to start you off:
General records management vacancies
Local and national newspapers are also a good spot for finding advertisements; but it can take a long time going through these and often hundreds of people are applying for the same position.
Once you’ve found a position you’d like to apply for, don’t ever just email your CV to them with a covering letter stating “….I’m applying for XXX position and enclose my CV. Please reply should you require me for an interview.” Unless no one else applies, your application will find it’s way swiftly into the recycling. You’ll need to read over the job and person specifications thoroughly before starting out on a covering letter that provides a friendly introduction and gets down to business on how the skills you’ve learnt can be successfully transferred to providing the solutions the employer is looking for.
No jobs to apply for advertised? Simply apply directly to your dream company for a position. They may review your CV and decide you are the type of person too good to let pass.
Once you’ve written a covering letter, go back to the CV you’ve prepared and edit it down to two pages, ruthlessly deleting anything that doesn’t fall within their specifications. Print both documents out, then fold a rectangle of pastel coloured paper over the top left hand corner, stapling the lot together. Send it in an A4 envelope, and pat yourself on the back for the first stage done well.