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To gain employment as an archivist, you will need to create a CV that highlights your key skills and abilities as well as detailing what marks you out for consideration as an individual.
By using a freely available archivist CV sample and a pre-made CV template, you will have accessed invaluable tools that provide tips on the type of information it is best to include, along with the right sort of formatting that is appropriate for the role. The subsequent sections also boast easy-to-follow guidance on how to make each part of your archivist CV stand out. We’ll run through:
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Sample archivist CV
22 Pippington Place, Bristol BS1 0HG
Accurate archival management professional accustomed to working with rare, fragile and priceless items. Leverages attention to detail and focused preservation techniques to manage archival documents.
March 2020 – Current
Bristol Museum – Bristol
- Directed volunteers and employees engaged in cataloguing, designing exhibits and recording artefacts.
- Streamlined usage by creating organisational systems for newly digitised records and documents.
- Researched and recorded origins, provenance and historical significance of archival materials.
January 2013 – February 2020
The Council – Bristol
- Classified archives in categories and arranged for appropriate storage and preservation.
- Prepared relevant materials for public access, including descriptive and contextual copywriting.
- Planned for and designed a new business classification scheme to improve efficiency.
- Archival record prep
- Digital file formatting
- Data storage methods
- Data archiving
- Excel proficiency
- Database management
- Information management
University of Bristol Bristol – 2012
Bachelor of Arts English Literature
Choosing the right format for your archivist CV
Although there are two types of CV formats widely accepted in the UK, only one is appropriate for archivist positions – the reverse-chronological CV. Thanks to the role’s technical nature, employers demand tangible work experience over an emphasis on transferable skills, as found in the skills-based structure. As the name indicates, the reverse-chronological format involves listing your employment background, starting from your current or most recent position.
Depending on the career, you might find the qualifications and work history sections in different places. We recommend spotlighting your academic achievements above your employment background because the role requires an undergraduate degree (preferably in a related subject) and a postgraduate qualification in Archives and Records Management. Highlighting this information near the top confirms your suitability and saves hiring managers precious time scanning through ineligible applications.
How to write a CV for an archivist
Creating an archivist CV doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply tailor your application to the position you’re applying for, substantiate skills with statistics, and pepper your prose with plenty of positive words.
Need more help learning how to write a CV? Keep reading as we cover:
- How to add contact details to your archivist CV
- How to write a personal statement for your archivist CV
- How to present your work history on an archivist CV
- Skills worth having on your archivist CV
- Outlining education on an archivist CV
How to add contact details to your archivist CV
Despite sounding obvious, you must include easy-to-read and up-to-date contact details at the top of your CV – otherwise, how will employers arrange the next steps? This section runs through:
- Full name
- Email address
- Phone number
Most importantly, ensure all information is professional. It’s shocking how many NSFW email addresses find their way into recruiters’ inboxes!
Example of contact section for an archivist CV
20 Any Lane
Anywhere-by-the-sea, AN72 7DP
How to write a personal statement for your archivist CV
You can stand out against equally experienced and qualified applicants by paying attention to your personal statement. It’s typically the first thing an employer reads when opening your CV and an unmissable opportunity to summarise your most desirable qualities and proudest accomplishments.
While we don’t want to frighten you, most hiring managers won’t read on if your personal statement doesn’t immediately grab their attention. Our top advice for this section includes:
- Use the third person – it sounds more polished and professional
- Lead with positive adjectives – like “passionate”, “cheerful”, and “enthusiastic”
- Replace “responsible for” with action verbs – such as “pioneered”, “spearheaded”, and “orchestrated”
- Keep the information relevant – condense key details into three to four sentences maximum
Lastly, substantiate your expertise with figures and try to be as precise as possible. For example, instead of saying you “managed the electronic records archives”, explain how you “successfully developed the electronic record archives, improving access to essential documents and boosting efficiency by 39%”.
Example of personal statement for an archivist CV
Highly qualified archivist with plenty of professional experience and a thorough working knowledge of archiving procedures in both the public and private sectors. Familiar with all aspects of record keeping, and have a proven track record of providing efficient access to the correct information when needed to support decision making.
Resourceful and organised archivist with experience providing records on a timely basis for operational purposes, as evidence for policy reviews and litigation support, where appropriate. Well-versed in the procedures required for retaining both paper and electronic records. Frequently designed new business classification schemes, helping to improve corporate archival systems in several businesses.
How to present your work history on an archivist CV
Now, we’re onto the work history section. Employers spend a lot of time here, poring over information to assess your aptitude for the role. Alongside gaining a thorough understanding of your strengths, they can also evaluate your reliability (by noting how long you usually stay with a company) and your weaknesses (via the information you leave out).</p
If you’re a recent graduate, you would’ve had to complete internships, apprenticeships, part-time work, or volunteering as part of your studies – treat these like any other full-time, permanent position.
Starting from your current or most recent job, outline:
- Company name and location
- Dates of employment
- Role title
- Summary of duties
- Additional information – like promotions, work awards, and notable achievements
It’s paramount to inject a little personality throughout this section – or you’ll come across as robotic. Avoid regurgitating responsibilities from the job advertisement, and think about what truly makes you unique. Were there any times you went above and beyond expectations? Can you offer real-world examples of innovation? These personal details will give you an edge in a highly competitive industry.
Before sending your archivist CV, double-check your work for repetitiveness. It’s easy to fall into the trap of including the same duties for each position. However, this doesn’t show decision-makers the scope of your capabilities. For instance, if you’ve mentioned “generating reports” underneath one career, focus on “long-term research” in another.
Example of work experience for an archivist CV
Senior Archivist | Waterfront Museum | Cardiff – June 2010 to present
- Responsible for meeting all the legal obligations for the creation and retention of paper records.
- Developed a conversion process to shift paper record keeping to digital formats.
- Improved operational efficiency by controlling the number of records created and stored.
Assistant Archivist | The Council | Swansea – September 2003 to May 2010
- Responsible for generating reports to the senior archivist.
- Planned for and designed a new business classification scheme to improve efficiency.
- Interacted regularly with senior board members and company directors.
Skills worth having on your archivist CV
The most effective CV skills sections blend hard skills that are specialist and job-specific with soft skills that reveal more of your personality. Examples of the former include “record keeping”, “archiving material”, and “manuscript acquisition”. The latter might focus on “time management”, “problem-solving”, and “organisation”.
We suggest incorporating around 6-12 skills in total, split evenly between the above – this will cover as many of your talents as possible. Plus, choose qualities that make you stand out. Most people are “friendly”, but you might be an “empathetic listener who understands the needs of every user.” Ultimately, the more personalised the content, the better!
Struggling with ideas? Take a look at the following essential and desirable skills:
Essential skills for an archivist
- Analytical thinking – can understand business processes rapidly and adjust archiving systems to meet them
- Technology embracing – comfortable with IT systems and packages and fluent with the common office applications
- Flexible worker – able to keep up with different aspects of record-keeping and document storage
- Phase Three ARA Overall Competency Framework
- ARA Function and Competency Requirements Organisational Area
Desirable aptitudes to set you apart
- First aid trained
- Full driving licence
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Naturally curious and research-driven
- Able to work well as part of a larger team
Outlining education on an archivist CV
Education underpins experience, and it’s even more essential for archivists. You cannot break into the industry without an undergraduate degree, preferably (but not essentially) in a relevant field, such as History, Information Science, Law, or Languages (including English). On top of that, you need a postgraduate qualification in Archives and Records Management accredited by the Archives & Records Association (ARA).
Alternatively, you could complete an Archivist and Records Manager Apprenticeship – but there’s fierce competition for the places. The courses are usually run in partnership with universities, ensuring a high quality of training and education.
Why is it so difficult to become an archivist? Quite simply, you’ll manage the only copies of historically, culturally, and legally significant documents. Without you, this information could easily become lost to the passage of time – no pressure then!
When discussing your qualifications, mention the following:
- School, college, university, or other awarding body
- Study dates
- Subject title – not relevant to GCSEs
- Qualification level – e.g. GCSE or undergraduate degree
- Final grade
Example of education for an archivist CV
Example University | 2002 to 2003
Information and Records Management Postgraduate
Diploma/MSc | 2:1
London Metropolitan University | 1999 to 2002
BA (Hons) in English Literature | 2:2
London Bridge College | 1997 – 1999
A Levels: English (B), French (C), and History (D)
London High School | 1992 – 1997
8 GCSEs at grades A to C
Top tips for archivist CV writing
Pair your archivist CV with a cover letterA well-structured cover letter is the pièce de résistance of your application. Above all else, tailor the content to the job description, show enthusiasm by embodying the company's values, and keep information concise.
Cite your specialismsThere are many branches to an archivist role. Although the responsibilities are similar, the types of documents vary dramatically. One archivist might curate maps and parchment, while another catalogues government materials. Mention your specialisms in your personal statement to avoid confusion.
Demonstrate innovationThe way organisations store and record information is changing all the time, meaning archivists must be highly adaptable. Even better, they identify problems before they arise and offer practical solutions to user accessibility. Of course, this means IT literacy is paramount. Describe how you embody these traits throughout your CV.
Prioritise hard skillsAs this position is so technical, we recommend leading with hard skills, like “using archive management software” and “digitising records”. Much of the knowledge you'll need to succeed can't be developed outside of an academic environment, which is why a degree is critical to the role.
Mention core qualifications near the topEmployers and recruiters are busy people, so list your core qualifications near the top of your archivist CV. Not only does it make their lives easier (there are plenty of unqualified candidates to sift through), but it'll illustrate your suitability from the get-go.
Your archivist CV questions answered
What's the difference between an archivist and a curator?
It’s easy to get confused between an archivist and a librarian (which we covered above) and an archivist and a curator. Concentrating on the latter, a curator often works exclusively in a museum or gallery, designing the exhibitions and overall experience. In contrast, an archivist may or may not work in a museum or gallery – if they do, they specialise in categorisation over interactivity.
How long does it take to become an archivist?
An archivist apprenticeship usually takes around 36 months, whereas the university degree route lasts approximately four to five years (depending on your undergraduate subject). Most undergraduate degrees are three-year courses, and the postgraduate qualification in Archives and Record Management is nine months long.
Is being an archivist stressful?
Any job can be stressful. However, if you undertake the relevant training, you’ll be fully prepared for your brand-new venture. Caring for priceless documents puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders, which is why the qualifications are so exhaustive. After nearly half a decade of studying and countless internships, you’ll have nothing to worry about!
Do archivists make a lot of money?
Archivist salaries vary depending on experience and industry. According to the UK government website, starter archivists earn £21,000 annually, while experienced archivists receive up to £60,000.
Support your job hunt with a winning archivist CV
This archivist CV sample is one of many that can be found, providing examples of the key insights needed for a successfully written CV. People seeking archivist jobs should also look at the tools and CV builder on this site for additional guidance.
In our toolkit, you’ll find persuasive CV examples to inspire you alongside pre-made CV templates. Combined, they’ll help you to create an awesome application that won’t simply end up in a recruiter’s archives.