Returning to archaeology after a break

There is information to help people returning to the sector here It includes information about training and about 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. There are details of wages, roles and terms and conditions of some companies on the BAJR website On page 20 onwards in this BAJR guide there is a list of archaeological staff roles and expected grades
  • 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 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 go to 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 you can find more information here

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.  You can find out more about Professional Pathways here


[Returners group to suggest questions so that FAQs can be created]

[Case studies and images from the returners]