The career exploration project has helped me determine the main qualities of a job that I would most enjoy, find a position that combines a significant portion (if not all) of those qualities, and outline a rather detailed plan of how I would go about securing that job in the future. As the first step of my career exploration project, I took the Strong Interest Inventory test that is aimed at helping people discover their “work personality.” Indeed, the Strong test helped me identify the key areas of my professional strengths, namely interpersonal communications and digital humanities.
This knowledge immediately narrowed down the list of jobs I could consider. Taking into account my previous job experiences, I was able to find positions that combined my strengths with what I knew I enjoyed doing for my previous jobs. Thus, I decided to look at art and/or film curator positions at higher education institutions. I used various platforms (i.e. indeed.com, LinkedIn, SimplyHired) in my search. After looking through numerous job listings, I found a position as a photography curator at Stanford University.
The job requirements include having a Master’s Degree in Library Science and/or a graduate degree in Art History or a related field with specialization in the history of North American photography and with a firm grounding in a broader knowledge of the medium. While I had already planning to continue my education after Carleton, this requirement pushed me to look for specific programs that would allow me to secure the photography curator position in the future. In my exploration of the relevant graduate programs, I came across the Information School at University of Washington–Madison. At the Information School, the students are able to pursue five different concentration areas including librarianship, digital archives, UX & information technology, data/information management & analytics, and organization of information, all of which are pertinent and applicable for the position I plan on pursuing. Another appealing aspect of the program is that it provides substantial merit-based financial aid and various employment opportunities, which can be used to cover the cost of tuition. In order to qualify for it, I will need to submit three references and iSchool-specific materials, including a statement of purpose, a professional resume, and a transcript.
In order to find out more information about the field of library sciences, I reached out to a number of Carleton graduates who are currently working in the field. Thomas Hyry, who is the Director of Arts and Special Collections of Harvard College Library Houghton Library, immediately agreed to speak with me over Zoom. Our conversation was extremely useful to me as he described in great detail his education and career path, talked about the benefits and challenges of the job, and inspired me to pursue this career.
The most valuable thing I have learnt during the career exploration project is that I need my future job to bring me a sense of fulfillment and purpose, while also utilizing my professional strengths and experience. I also leant that reaching out to those already working my position of choice is of my paramount importance for gauging whether or not the job is right for me.