As my year of service with the education-focused nonprofit City Year Detroit comes to a close, I have begun making preparations for what the next steps of my career are going to be following this eye-opening experience.
Back in August before I began working for City Year, I had always assumed that this would involve me re-entering the field of politics. After all, I majored in political science when I attended the University of Michigan and have had a couple of internships in which I have worked in a political office, including one with a member of Parliament in Ottawa.
In spite of this, over the course of the previous seven months, I have come to realize that when it comes to what my career will ultimately be, my decision should not be based on what is expected of me due to what I have done up to now, but what I want to do with my life for the next five to six decades. This epiphany has led me to seriously analyze my interests and what I enjoy doing.
I have come to the conclusion that politics is not what I love. That while it is important and warrants my attention, it’s not what I want to be doing every single day for the rest of my life. No, where my passion truly lies is in the field of history. It just so happens that as I was making these realizations, I came across the opening for the job of Editor at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
I understand that while my resume may not have all of the exact qualifications that the Kelsey Museum may be looking for, I believe firmly that I am strongly suited for this position. The entire reason why resumes are examined in the first place is for the employer to gauge the ability of the potential employee to do the job. Yet, when it comes to a job such as this, there are many intangibles that are necessary for said employee that can’t be quantified on a resume.
Chief among them is having a passion for history. I lay out more thoroughly my love of history on the online resume that I prepared for my application, but I do want to touch on this subject briefly before moving on to my other qualifications for this job.
The subject of history has always been my favorite subject in school. While at the University of Michigan, I took as many history courses as I could and did very well in them based solely on my interest in the material being taught. It has also always been a hobby of mine to learn about history through a variety of medium, whether that meant reading a book or watching a documentary on Netflix.
This love of history has also allowed my father and myself to spend a lot of quality time together over the past decade through us going on historical vacations together to some of our nation’s greatest treasures. We have gone to Gettysburg National Military Park twice, we’ve been to Independence Hall on the Fourth of July, we’ve viewed the monuments and memorials in and around our nation’s capital, and we’ve visited many museums throughout the country. It’s this love that will allow me to put a lot of effort into this job without it feeling like work at all.
Another intangible not measured on a resume is the dedication that a potential employee would put into the job. If hired, I won’t confine myself to my job title. In addition to my specific job responsibilities, I will be more than willing to do whatever work the museum requires of me. From the planning and setup of special exhibitions to increasing the visibility of the museum on social media, I will always be available to go above and beyond my job description in order to help the museum.
While at City Year, I have been working over 50-hour weeks (despite only receiving a living stipend as a salary) in which I am responsible for everything from preparing lesson plans for the students in my classroom to planning and executing special events that City Year holds for the entire school. It is an extremely time-consuming job that requires hours of offsite work as well. I routinely wake up before 6 am and then do not get back to my apartment until after 6 pm, only to continue working once I get there.
Few applicants can point to a period in their careers when such dedication was required of them. I will bring this level of dedication to my work at the Kelsey Museum every day. This won’t just be another job for me. In fact, I would be willing to argue that since what I will be doing is something that I love – at the place that I love (Go Blue!) – I will be even more dedicated at this job than I am at my current one.
With that being said, it’s now important to note the experiences that I do have that relate well to the job description for this position.
The best example of this is in the creation and editing of written content. While no job that I have held has had the specific title of Editor or has included these tasks in its job description, every job has required me to perform them. Both internships, for instance, had me composing emails to constituents on a regular basis. I also proofread everything that my bosses signed as a part of the system that each office had set up to catch any and all errors before the documents went to print. During my internship in Ottawa, specifically, one of my jobs was to edit the monthly newsletter put out by the Conservative Party before it was sent en masse to its members.
Regarding my current position at City Year, just to carry out my most basic responsibilities, I have had to put a heavy focus on writing. For my individual classroom, I have to prepare lesson plans daily explaining what we will be doing and what I hope the students will achieve as a result of the pull-out session, not to mention all of the writing that the lesson itself entails. For the entire school, I compose proposals for events that we hold as a group that have to be in-depth about what will happen during the event, what I need each corps member to do on that day, and what resources I will need to be donated ahead of time.
Furthermore, during my four years at the University of Michigan, I composed numerous papers on a wide variety of topics, ranging from analyzing how the ancient Chinese viewed other civilizations to analyzing why Poland was the first East Central European country to rid themselves of communism. To showcase the amount of content that I produced while recently in college, I have attached a fraction of my essays to a page on my online resume as well as a small sample of my short writing assignments to a .pdf that mimics the biannual newsletter issued by the museum (located at the bottom of the writing sample page).
A more recent writing experience is a 40-page report that I composed for my father earlier this year about the histories of Singapore and Indonesia prior to his business trip to these countries. To complete this project, I took the lecture notes that I took during my History of Southeast Asia course and compiled the information about these two countries into a synthesized narrative that my father could reference in order to learn more about the places in which he was traveling. It was actually through writing this report for my father that I learned that I rather enjoyed taking a wide array of information and bringing it together to tell a story.
For other aspects of the job, such as using publishing and graphic design software, I have been learning how to use these over the years for my classes/jobs as well as when I have used them just for my own personal enjoyment. An example of my ability to use publishing software is the example newsletter that I uploaded to my online resume. With regards to my graphic design experience, I have been using photo editing software for years just for fun and recently used this experience to design a Snapchat geofilter for the Detroit neighborhood in which the school that I am working at resides (since going live earlier this month, it has been used over 800 times, with those snaps accruing over 27 thousand views). And if there is anything that I would be using for the job that I have not yet used before, rest assured that I am a quick study and would be able to learn how to use the software soon after being hired.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, nothing would make me happier than being able to not only return to the city of Ann Arbor, but to also be able to rejoin the University of Michigan community so soon after graduation. As my colleagues at City Year can attest to, there are few things in life that I love more than this university of ours. My father went here, my brother went here – and currently works here at the Alumni Association – my uncle went here, and numerous cousins have gone here as well. In furtherance of the tradition laid out by former University of Michigan football coach and athletic director Fielding H. Yost during a retirement banquet held for him in the 1940s, I have never hesitated to speak positively about my school to whomever I may be speaking with at any given moment. Being able to represent the university once more and being able to contribute to the excellent academic atmosphere that the university provides for its students as well as for the Southeast Michigan region as a whole would be a dream come true.
I know that I will be able to do this job well. While other applicants may have more professional experience, none will care more about the mission of the museum nor will any be more dedicated to carrying out that mission than me. I love history, I love the University of Michigan, and I am willing to put forth whatever effort it may take to make the museum as prosperous as possible. Provided the chance, I know that I would do amazing things for the museum.