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How to Get a Job at a Cemetery
A cemetery is a complex entity. While visitors might never see another person, many people must work together to keep the cemetery safe, attractive and well-tended. Because there are many ways to work at a cemetery, there's no single formula for landing a cemetery job. Instead, the right steps depend on the specific job you're pursuing.
Evaluate Job Options
Cemetery job options vary depending on the size and historical significance of the cemetery. Almost all cemeteries need groundskeepers, and such a role demands the ability to maintain plants, remove trash and keep the cemetery looking pristine. Large and often-visited cemeteries may employ security guards, and many cemeteries hire administrative professionals such as secretaries. If the cemetery at which you want to work has historical significance, it might employ tour guides or historians.
Get the Right Training
For most cemetery roles, you'll need specific training and experience related to that role, and that experience doesn't necessarily have to be from a cemetery. If you want to be a groundskeeper, consider apprenticing with a landscape company or pursuing a certification in groundskeeping. Security guards need security training and experience and -- depending on the state where you live -- may also need to be licensed. If you want to work as a tour guide or secretary, though, a familiarity with the area coupled with good customer service experience may be all you need.
Build Your Resume
Your resume should be specific to work in the cemetery, not a general overview of your previous achievements. Find ways to make each item on your resume relevant. For example, a degree in history could be ideal for a tour guide. A history working in customer service shows that you're prepared to deal with a wide variety of people, while time spent as a college counselor could show that you're prepared to talk to grieving people. If you're pursuing a position that requires specific skills or a license -- such as a security job -- list this information under your educational history.
Once you've gained the skills you need and built a resume, begin applying for jobs. If the cemetery is small and locally owned, you may have better luck visiting the cemetery in person, because doing so gives the employer an idea of your personality. During your interview, you'll need to highlight your sensitivity and respect for the dead. For example, a groundskeeper should know not to remove decorative -- but perhaps not conventionally attractive -- items that children might place on a father's grave.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.
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