Topic ID #35000 - posted 2/17/2015 5:52 PM

First CRM job questions


Hey everyone-

    I just had a few questions regarding finding your first shovelbum gig and what to expect. I graduated this past May, and I'm trying to get ready to apply for technician jobs as the weather gets warmer and fieldwork starts to pick up.

    How do you market yourself without CRM specific experience? How did you land your first job? I have done a fieldschool, as well as an internship at a state park. My internship had a research component, but a lot of the actual fieldwork was geared towards CRM prep- I dug STPs, used a total-station, and played with GIS some. The fieldschool covered most of the basics- mapping, recording, using a theodolite, lab work, etc. The only real downside is that I lack experience on actual CRM projects.

    Along with this, how much non-archaeology work experience should I put on my resume? I actually have a pretty solid work history with lots of responsibility for my age. I am currently working in the accounting office for one of the largest hotels in the area. The pay sucks and I am horrible at sitting still all day, but I am also responsible for several hundred thousand dollars worth of revenue, which looks pretty good on a resume. 

    And finally, what should I bring once I get a gig? I have a decent pair of boots, gloves, and a trowel, but I have no clue what else I would be personally responsible for bringing on a project. Do I bring my own clipboard, pencils, and zip-lock bags?  Should I toss a pbj sandwich in my bag to jam down in the middle of fieldwork? I know these seem like minor concerns, but I don't want to be stuck in the middle of the forest missing something important, or stuck without food for an entire day of manual labor.

Thanks for all of the help!

Post ID#20627 - replied 2/17/2015 6:45 PM


Hi, I'm relatively new to the field, too; I graduated in 2012. I've only worked CRM once, but it was my very first job, and I got it with no real work experience at all. I got it because: 1. I applied for three solid months to any and every job I could find for which I was remotely qualified anywhere in the US, and got rejected A LOT; 2. I was willing to go somewhere that most people don't want to go in the end of February, no less; and 3. Several people the firm wanted to hire ended up not showing up for work, so they hired me off of a kind of waiting list. I don't know if this is typical or not.

When I was beginning, I marketed myself as someone just starting out in the field and put every kind of experience related to archaeology on my resume, including volunteering, internships, and field school. I also stressed that I had a BA and a high GPA. I don't really know how much you should put non-archaeology job experience, since I have very little of that myself, so I'll leave that particular question to others who are more experienced in the field than me and no doubt know better.

As for what to bring, I'd directly ask the people who hire you. Personally, I have a set of my own clipboard, pencils, sharpies, tape measures, line levels, string, and compass (you probably only need the compass if you're doing survey work). When I did CRM, I went through a pair of gloves practically every two weeks because I kept running them over the wire screens, so you might want to get some back up gloves! Definitely bring food; peanut butter is always good because it stays good and has protein and energy. Granola bars are good, too, as are little crackers and things you can eat on the go. But especially don't forget water. Being dehydrated is about the worst thing you can do to yourself in the field. Good luck with your job hunt!

Post ID#20628 - replied 2/18/2015 5:00 AM


SE Anthro:

I have been on the supervisory side of CRM for more than 25 years, and I can offer some advice.

To break in, you really have to work your network.  You should make sure that all your profs, field school supervisors, and internship folks know you are looking.  They should all be eager to assist you.  Early on, when you do not have a huge network, it is important to put a lot of names on your resume.  CRM is still very much a good old boy/good old girl network.  If I am reviewing resumes and see a reference I know, I am more likely to hire you.  

Many firms request three references on every hire.  You should consider getting and scanning three letters of recommendation from your profs and intern sponsor.  That makes my life easier if I can see letters of reference and I do not have to try to chase down your references.  It is not uncommon that out of five candidates, I am down to hiring the one whose reference first responds to my email or voice mail.  

Be a pest, but nicely.  If you apply for a specific job or with a specific company, follow up via email, phone, or in person.  I would say you should be checking back every couple of weeks, unless somebody says you are becoming bothersome.  This shows that you really are eager to work.  Also, a lot of times crews are built in a hurry.  If you contact me on the day we are having to build two new crews, you have made my life easier and I am likely to hire you.  

On resumes of recent grads, I like to see other employment.  I feel reassured that you know how to work, how to act like a professional.  As you build your CRM experience, you will have less need to include non-archaeology work.

I like to see some indication on your resume that you are fit to work.  If you have active hobbies (running, hiking, swimming, whatever), you might include them.  Likewise, if you do outdoor stuff (rock climbing, canoeing, hiking), I get the message that you are less likely to react poorly to cold rain and mud.  

Lastly, your first few CRM jobs can really define you.  So, if you get hired on, work hard and get along with people.  Every job, you are building your network.  It is rare that a recent graduate will find a position and stay with that company for years to come.  Instead, you will be jumping project to project.  You need a strong reputation and good references to be able to stay busy.

The hiring firm should tell you what you need to bring.  Lunch and water will vary project to project.  On testing and data recovery, there will be a water cooler there all day.   On survey, you may be hauling your own water for the half-day or full day.   I would recommend that you buy a compass and get comfortable with it.  Beyond that, boots and a good rain jacket are the other necessities on almost all projects.

Good luck with your job search.  Last field season was very busy, and we expect the same this year.

Post ID#20629 - replied 2/18/2015 9:00 AM


I agree with Spider on everything except on what to bring. While many companies may provide water on data recovery projects and on super hot days, the water jug is usually filled in the bathtub of a hotel room. If this bothers you, bring your own water an lots of it. I don't know how many times this past summer and fall I thought I had enough water but ran out around 2. I recommend a clipboard that you can also store paperwork in, some companies supply a binder or something, but some don't and it is always better to be over prepared and leave something back at the hotel. On the topic of gloves, I have found that gloves geared to auto mechanics tend to hold up for a season and if you add up how much you spend on replacing cheep gloves it will balance out. One last thing for the field, TOILET PAPER, TP, mountain money! If you don't have it, you WILL need it and you can't just assume someone around you will have it, I also recommend baby wipes but that is more of a comfort thing. Non field stuff, your own pillows, hotel pillows suck! Crockpot or portable grill, take out and restaurants gets old and expensive after a while. Ear plugs, roommates snore. And extra socks, you can never have enough socks when in the field especially in the fall. Good luck with the job hunt!


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