Applying and Interviewing
College career offices can give you the basics on cover letters, resumes, and interviewing skills, which you should definitely explore and familiarize yourself with. All of those conventions apply for the museum world. But since museums are not always a field that those offices are super well versed in, here are some specific tips.
Read it. Carefully. Then read it again. Then read it one more time with a fine tooth comb (I’m not sure if that metaphor works here, but you get what I’m saying). Language tutors near me on the https://onlinetutorforme.com/language-tutors-near-me/ choose your personal language tutor. Make sure you include everything they ask for. Don’t have any typos. Don’t include anything extra unless they don’t ask for your resume–always include your resume, even if they don’t say they want it–or, maybe if it’s studio art related, your art portfolio if you have one. Otherwise: keep it simple, keep it passionate, and do it the way they want it done.
If there are no posted internships at the museum you love with all your heart, then take a deep breath, prepare your most professional phone-calling demeanor, give the department you want to work in a cold call (don’t call the receptionist), and tell them you’d love to be an intern for them–very briefly say why you’re interested in that museum, and politely ask if you can send them your resume (definitely leave a voicemail if you don’t get a real person). You might think you can do this by email… BUT DON’T. There is a 99% chance your email will be lost in the abyss that is the generic museum email address, or if it’s lucky enough to make it to a person, they’re less likely to respond to email than they are to a phone call. I know cold calling is scary, but as long as you are sincere and not pesty (i.e.: I don’t recommend continuing to call them), I guarantee it will impress the person on the other end and will probably get you at the very least an informational interview.
Study up on the museum and its programs and exhibitions. Make sure you have visited at least once (that goes without saying, right? Right). Dress as if you were calling upon your very traditional grandmother for teatime (whatever you do, do not wear jeans). Bring a few extra copies of your resume. Maybe bring your art portfolio, or other museum-related materials you’ve created at previous internships. Then take a deep breath, relax, and be yourself. Imagine that the person interviewing you is your favorite professor or advisor at college–someone you’re comfortable with and respect, but not too comfortable with that you start accidentally talking about what you did last Friday night.
And remember: you are interviewing them too. In addition to any questions you might have about the internship, you should absolutely ask them a few questions about their job, too–what’s a typical day like? What is their favorite and least favorite part of their position? And when you’re thinking about their answers, ask yourself: Can you see yourself giving your time to this museum? Do you respect the person who is interviewing you (i.e. your potential supervisor)? Are you interested in his/her job and learning more about it? Do you think you would get along well with him/her? The details of the internship don’t matter as much as the person you are talking to. If you do a good job at your internship with them, they will be your best resource: they will write you recommendations, help you make connections, support you and encourage you, and trust me, they will be so, so thrilled when you one day get your first museum job.
After the interview, write a thank you note (see below)!