Can I get into heritage at 33?

Jen has tried different careers and is now looking at heritage

I am 33 years old with a long background in hospitality and a PGCE. I came out of teaching last year and went back into hospitality. The teaching was stressful and totally uncreative and uninspiring for me.

I'm really unhappy in my work at the moment and disappointed I haven't been able to make the transition from bar-tender to professional. I have had to re-assess this year and now have been looking into the creative industries.

Heritage appeals but I have no idea where to start. With no real practical experience in this areas and limited funds I find myself scrabbling around trying to figure what the best route would be for me to take.

I'm worried I won't have a competetive edge as I am older too.

Any advice? 

I have English degree, MA in Cultural Astronomy and PGCE in RE & philosophy.  

— Jen

Expert answers

Susanne Buck's reply:

Hi Jen, 

Thanks for sending in your question, I think it’s a really important one. There are lots of us in our 30s who find ourselves reassessing what it is we want to do and rather than being too late, it’s the perfect time to take stock of all the experience we have gained and see where it might lead us next.

A good way to start would be to find a few jobs that interest you then have a look at your CV and re-write it to demonstrate how you have fulfilled the criteria. Your experience in hospitality translates into a customer facing role, plus the ability to work in a fast paced and often hectic environment - much like a busy museum. 

You also have teaching experience and understand the pitfalls of the way the profession is sometimes managed, turn this around and you have an invaluable insight into the needs of teachers and pupils. If you are looking for a creative role perhaps museum education might be a path to explore? 

If you have any gaps in your experience then think about how you might fill them. Volunteering is a great way to gain hands-on experience and potential recruiters will look for it on your CV. If there are places you would like to work then search their websites for volunteering opportunities and you will not only gain experience but contacts in the industry which will be useful later on. 

There are various recruitment agencies who specialise in the cultural heritage sector so you could do a search for them and register or even ask for a meeting. If you are willing to take an entry level job it will get you in the door, and yes there will be younger people doing the same thing, but they are unlikely to have the same knowledge, experience and drive as you, so see this as an advantage!

I really hope you manage to make the move and wish you luck.

All the best


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