Industry Insights: Careers in Museums Recap

On Thursday, November 5, the Education, Nonprofit & Government Career Community at DePaul hosted a panel discussion with current professionals in the museum industry to speak about their roles and experiences working in museums. The panelists shared their journeys of how they ended up in this industry and provided some insights for students on how to break into the field. 

Panelists were asked questions around different themes, including overviews of their roles, recommended hard and soft skills to have for this industry, advice for students and alumni to break into the museum industry, and more. 

Our volunteer panelists included:

  • Madeline Shearer, Assistant Director of Institutional Relations at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Lorien Yonker, Curatorial Associate for the Arts of Africa and Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Molly Butler, Marketing Coordinator at the Field Museum
  • Catherine Anchin, Acting Associate Director for Advancement and External Affairs at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC

How One of the Panelists Started Her Museum Journey

“When I was a senior in undergrad, I started reaching out to museum professionals whether on LinkedIn or email and just saying, “Hi I’m a student and I’m really interested in your job, do you mind chatting with me for half an hour?” That way you start to really build a network, because museum jobs are few and far between, especially now. The more relationships you have and connections you build can really give you a leg up when those decisions open up.”

Interested in setting up an informational interview? Check out this resource in our career library!

Important Advice for Succeeding and Advancing in Museum Roles

“Be prepared to advocate for yourself. In my experience, our work is quite a bit more fast paced than people imagine and we’re on from one project to the next continually. So, if you do get your foot in the door and want to advance, you really have to get comfortable putting yourself out there and advocating for yourself. I know that doesn’t always come naturally to people, myself included, so it’s something I really had to work at and practice in other areas of my life. That really served me well in advancing to the kind of position I was hoping to get.”

Check out the full recording of the event below!

3 Ways Your Career Advisor Can Help In the New School Year

The start of a new school year can bring about a lot of change. After several months off we’re getting accustomed to new courses, a shift in the weather, and all-things pumpkin spice. It can take some time to regain one’s footing, but when it comes to career advice at DePaul, we can help right off the bat.

Every student has a designated career advisor at DePaul based on your major—including those who are currently undecided and exploring. This allows us to not only answer general career questions, but also offer a deeper dive into your post-graduate career plans.

If you think you might want to visit with a career advisor, but are unsure of how we can help, here are a few ideas based on your current student status.

Freshmen: Career Exploration

One of the most common ways that career advisors help first-year students at DePaul is with career exploration. This can be done in a variety of ways. For students who are still exploring their major and career interests, we offer free career assessments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory, which can serve as a helpful guide in finding career paths based on personality preferences and interests. Some students have a clear idea of what type of job they want after graduation, and so we work backwards to determine which types of internship opportunities, majors, and/or minors would help students reach that particular goal. Whatever your concerns might be regarding career paths and opportunities, we can help bring your options into greater focus. It also helps to meet consistently with your academic advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate, and to see if you can fit in a double major or minor that might aid in reaching your post-grad career goals.

Sophomores and Juniors: Gaining Experience

While every sophomore and junior who comes to the Career Center will have a different set of needs, one common thread tends to be an interest in internships. This is the perfect time to begin pursuing these opportunities, as you will already have a few classes under your belt and can begin exploring a particular career path in a hands-on way. If you take on an internship and love what you’re doing, we can help you identify similar opportunities down the road; if you have the opposite reaction, we can work with you to identify what might be a better fit and help you to pursue those options. For many students, applying to an internship—whether it’s your first, second, or sixth—can be a daunting task; your career advisor can help to lighten the load by offering insight on how to tackle this process with greater confidence.

Seniors: Applying to Jobs

Graduating seniors most often seek out career advising to gain greater clarity around applying to full-time jobs. Given that each industry has a different hiring season—some industries, like accounting, make their full-time hires much earlier in the year than other fields—it’s a good idea to meet with a career advisor early in the year to develop a plan of attack for the application process. This plan may include an internship, identifying networking contacts, or diving right into the full-time search. Ultimately, the process itself will vary from student to student, but meeting with your career advisor sooner rather than later can ensure that you are ahead of the game regardless of your post-grad career goals.

Keep in mind that the above suggestions are just a few ideas for visiting with us. Some of you may have questions about pursuing graduate school, teaching abroad, and/or volunteer opportunities—we can hep with that! Similarly, you might find that you have slightly different needs than those outlined above; maybe you’re a freshman ready to dive into your first internship, or a senior who wants to explore career paths. The good news is that we can help you with every step of the process, and where ever you’re at in the process. Classes and the weather may change, but strong, student-focused support from the Career Center will always be our top priority.

Communication & Media Degree: Career Possibilities for Every Interest

By: Brittany Wierman, DePaul University communication & media major ‘20

Few things are as frustrating to a communication and media student as being asked the ultimate, inescapable question, “what job are you going to get with your major?” Some students have their career goals cemented, but for those of us who are still unsure of how our major will lead us down the path of success, have no fear—the communication and media program is equipped to prepare you for a career in whatever niche fuels you.

So what exactly does a major in communication and media look like? Michael Elias, career advisor for the College of Communication explains, “the major itself was designed so students could experience classes across the entire curriculum in the College of Communication.” Essentially, students in this major can explore all different types of communication avenues including film, journalism, public relations, advertising, broadcasting and more to discover which field suits them best.

…Michael suggests that students reflect on their personal interests and skills to narrow down possible career paths.

Since the field of communication is so broad, Michael suggests that students reflect on their personal interests and skills to narrow down possible career paths. As a communication and media major, you can consider seeking career paths as a reporter, press agent, communication coordinator, event planner, human resources manager, and even a disc jockey, all depending on what peaks your interest.

The possibilities are expansive, which means taking different courses to help you uncover your interests and choose a concentration is key. Even if you have a hard time choosing just one specialization, don’t fret; at the end of the day the development of good communication skills through this program will benefit you in your future professional life. Michael elaborates, “[communication] is the foundation of how we relate with one another… it’s what makes us who we are, the ability to express ourselves.” In other words, whether you’re in an interpersonal, intercultural, mass media, or professional setting, the ability to communicate effectively is fundamental to your success.

For more information on specific career paths, major advising and career planning, check out these major and career guides, and stop by the Career Center to connect with your career advisor.