Returning to archaeology after a break

This page is still being developed - check back for more information

There is information to help people returning to the sector on our Getting started in archaeology page, including information about training and job hunting. There is a shortage of staff in the sector post-Brexit and many companies are very willing to take archaeologists who have worked away from the sector or taken career breaks. Some are offering training to refresh skills or might suggest a place on their employer training scheme.

Tips for finding work

  • Make a speculative application and don’t be put off if you don’t get a response first time or get a rejection.
  • Pick up the phone and ask if there is anyone involved in recruitment who would be happy to meet with you. Then do your research. Find out all you can about the roles that might be available. See the Compare the Contractor section of the BARJ website, where there are details of wages, roles and terms and conditions of selected companies.
  • BAJR's Guide to a Career in Archaeology (PDF) provides a list of archaeological staff roles and expected grades from page 20 onwards.
  • You may have a friend or colleague who can give you a personal recommendation or introduction.
  • Take every opportunity for networking, volunteering and taking part in training workshops. We run regular break time and evening discussion sessions to combine the networking of live events with archaeological topics and help people keep in touch. Dates for upcoming break time discussions are outlined in our events calendar.
  • Take advantage of CPD opportunities through CIfA or free training available through Historic England or FAME.
  • Sell yourself on your transferable skills. These competencies have been gained over years and cannot be quickly learnt, or indeed taught. They underpin the technical skills which can be learnt once you are in work. Look at the job descriptions and person specifications of archaeological jobs. Note those competencies you already have or could be useful to employers such as being a confident communicator or having excellent IT/media skills.

To join - or rejoin - CIfA, explore our joining information. The process has been streamlined and improved, so if you have looked at applying in the past, please go back to the pages and look at the process now - you may find there is considerable change and assistance. If you have questions about applying for a CSCS card, see our CSCS information page.

If you’re already a CIfA member you might find it useful to sign up to Professional Pathways to receive bulletins with extra information about progression through CIfA’s professional grades