Topic ID #22768 - posted 8/29/2012 11:15 PM

Advice for a newcomer--tips for landing a first field tech position?


Hey everyone,

This last spring I received my BA from one of America's top universities, graduating magna cum laude with a double-major in anthropology and history, focusing on archaeology.  While in college I also attended a six week-long field school over one summer.  Since May I have been on a fruitless hunt for field tech positions, sending a cover letter and CV out to any group or posting I seem half-qualified for.  Is there any advice any of you could give to me for how I might find a first fieldwork gig?  Anything I should be stressing in my CV that might not be obvious, or any crucial skills I would need to obtain elsewhere?  

Thanks for all the help!

Post ID#19751 - replied 8/30/2012 10:56 AM


Welcome DD,

If you haven't done so already it is best to meet face to face with fellow archs, esp. Principal Investigators. You dont necessarily have to sell yourself at the meeting; rather interview the company. Ask how they work, what their research interests are, how busy they are, what they are looking for in field crew, then you tell them that you are available, what your research interests are, etc.

Also, spend time with the local or regional archaeology society or historical society, and attend their annual meetings. Often there will be a notice board or corporate booths to solicit info from, or hand your resume to; there are too many resumes floating on corporate desks, and not enough faces to go with them. If I have to select from a random resume I'm probably going to go with the one I met the owner of.

Cheers, and good luck,


Post ID#19752 - replied 8/31/2012 3:15 AM

Jennifer Palmer

Hi DD. Welcome to Good advice from FireArch as usual! You may also want to consider volunteering to beef up your resume. Your local archaeological society may be able to point you to some projects in your area. If you can travel, many federal agencies offer volunteering projects. A few places to browse are and If there are federal lands near you, it may also be worth inquiring about possible volunteer opportunities even if they are not advertised.

Let us know how things go, and please share anything you find helpful along the way. There are many others who have been down this road. You may also find it useful to browse through other messages here in the discussion forum for some ideas. Here are a few places to start:


the job hunt

field tech discussions

Hope this helps. Good luck,


Post ID#19753 - replied 8/31/2012 9:19 AM


I think the above advice is pretty spot on but in addition, I'd recommend...

1) Getting a hold of the SHPO's consultants list for your state and then sending a resume & cover letter to every one of them.

2) Contact local CRM firms and tell them your situation.  We're constantly in situations where we run into personnel shortages for local, non-per diem projects, or need somebody to help out in the lab -- 99% of the time, these are unadvertised jobs.

3) Talk to your professors or TAs and network as much as possible.  Somebody is bound to have some kind of CRM contact.

4) Go to your state archaeology society meetings, with a stack of resumes in hand, and be prepared to shake a lot of hands and ask questions.

Good luck!

Post ID#19754 - replied 8/31/2012 11:00 AM


All good ideas so far - but most important is to do whatever you can to get some real experience - volunteer, talk to you field school prof about tagging along again - or better yet see if there is any specific research project you can do - etc.  

A couple of things to keep in mind about the market right now to keep you from getting distressed that its YOU that is the problem.  With the economy the way it has been, archaeological work is down as well.  I know lots of folks with years of experience that are just starting to get back to work.  Good Companies will be looking to hire those folks first.  On top of that, there are not only a lot of other new BA/BS folks looking, but a lot of Masters and Doctorate newbies out there as well.  So the competition is pretty stiff at the moment. 

Still archaeology is often like any sports team.  A good company wants those stars and proven veterans to insure they have a steady base - but many also look to add in a few rookies to keep their costs down (expect to get paid less than those with more experience).  The key is to be able to show that even though you are new, you can be counted on - thus the suggestion to get whatever experience you can in the field.

Good Luck

Post ID#19755 - replied 9/1/2012 12:40 AM


Thanks for the feedback!


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