Applying for Government Jobs

So, I took a couple of days of doing nothing to take my mind off of the general stresses of being unemployed; trying to change careers from academia but staying within the arts…  Oh, yeah, that’s why so many artists cling to their professorships so defiantly…

I vegetated, tired of TV very quickly, read, exercised, played a really dumb computer game that I’ve also tired of, and other comparable things.

Yesterday, however, I got back up on the job searching horse.  Luckily for me, living as I do in the DC metro area, the government supports some very large and very wonderful cultural institutions.  It’s also fortunate that the arts are disenfranchised enough that as far as I know none of the non-profits focused on them are political fronts for ideologues, which is more than we can say for all of the non-profits in this town.  So, jobs come up.

As that goes, I’m once again spending my days writing essays for job applications.  Here are some of the questions I’ve responded to over the last couple of months (the ones I’ve saved my responses to), otherwise known as addressing the KSAs:

  • Ability to work with diverse populations, particularly Native American constituents.
  • Knowledge of administrative, service and budget procedures, and ability to arrange meetings and coordinate travel and logistics.
  • Knowledge of writing and editorial skills, with good command of the style and grammar necessary for preparing clear, concise, and informative reports independently or in a collaboration with others.
  • Knowledge of archival practices and collections.
  • Ability to manage information for multiple, simultaneous, and overlapping projects.
  • Knowledge of Photoshop, HTML, MS Excel, PowerPoint, and other computer programs.
  • Ability to communicate in writing in order to perform functions such as creating and producing reports, documenting new accessions, conveying written information on projects, and similar materials for internal or public dissemination.
  • Knowledge of American art history.
  • Please describe your specific experience, education, or training that demonstrates your skill in developing creative and innovative educational programs.
  • Please describe your specific experience, education, or training that demonstrates your knowledge of African American history and culture sufficient to develop educational programs.
  • Please describe your specific experience, education, or training that demonstrates your ability to collaborate with internal and external museum staff.
  • Knowledge of current educational trends and learning theories.
  • Ability to plan strategically for the continued development and growth of multiple-visit museum education programs.
  • Skill in written communications.
  • Ability to analyze problems that arise in managing an active tour program for a museum in order to implement effective solutions.
  • Skill in compiling data on audience response for reporting purposes.
  • Ability to implement community outreach strategies related to an educational exhibition.
  • Knowledge of the history of European and American art and basic art historical research techniques.
  • Knowledge of museum collection management, exhibition and publishing procedures.
  • Knowledge of personal computers and Microsoft Office or similar software and skill in using automated databases and on-line resources for project coordination, creating special reports, duplicating photographs and scanning materials.
  • Skill in office and information management and performing administrative support activities.
  • Ability to communicate with a wide variety of people, verbally and in writing, with accuracy and in a diplomatic and tactful manner.
  • Knowledge of knowledge management theories and practices.
  • Ability to create and organize knowledge bases.
  • Knowledge of needs assessment theories and applications.
  • Knowledge of management practices, such as continuous process improvement, strategic planning, performance measurement and evaluations, and logistic management.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in writing.
  • Ability to communicate orally.
  • Please describe your specific experience, education, or training which demonstrates your knowledge of training and/or education to design and implement programs for museum and off-site, non-traditional settings.
  • Please describe your specific experience, education, or training which demonstrates your knowledge of Native American cultures and histories of the western Hemisphere.
  • Please describe your specific experience, education, or training which demonstrates your ability to plan and manage off-site training workshops, conferences, presentations, and special meetings.
  • Please describe your specific experience, education, or training which demonstrates your ability to communicate with native peoples, museum professionals, tribal representatives, scholars, museum colleagues, and the general public.

Eeek.

Double eeek…

And I thought applying to teach at community colleges was bad (it is)

Sure, I enjoy writing.  I mean, I have a blog.  But, this is hell.  It seems to me to be part of an HR strategy that loads a ton of work on the applicant up front, as some sort of filter. The thing is that in a highly competitive field, and in a highly competitive sector like government cultural institutions, an unemployed job seeker can’t really afford to put undue limits on his/her job applications just because they eat all of your time. (Time seems to be what I have, right?)  But, that also equals a whole lot of effort trying to drum up inspiration for writing what are otherwise pretty dull short essay responses.

Then, of course, someone presumably has to read all of these things.  Someone in HR that is; most likely not the expert in the field who may be your next boss.  Those poor souls.

On top of that, most people I know say it usually takes at least six months to go through a government hiring process, if you ever hear anything from them at all.  I’ve been dealing with the USCIS (Immigration) for my wife for years now.  (Being married to non-citizen is a red flag for some government work, but not the jobs I’m applying to.)  And, if applying to other agencies is anything like dealing with the Immigration Service, I’ll expect them to contact my next of kin for an interview offer long after I’ve died of old age.  Still, this is one of two of my likely options.  And, the govt. jobs I’m qualified for often pay double the meager wages of the non-profit jobs I’m applying to.

Tomorrow, I hope to go kayaking on the Potomac in Georgetown.  It apparently only costs $8/hr, which makes it the only thing in Georgetown I can actually afford.  So, if you see some guy out there paddling away, pity him, for that will be the only sunshine he sees for another week.

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