As a recent graduate with a performing arts degree, I have been reflecting on the topics covered in my seminar classes at Clemson University while I wait to see if I’ll be a grad student in the fall, or if I’ll be joining the Olympic Job Search Team with the rest of my classmates.
I’ve made a list of things that a performing arts graduate should have to market themselves in the professional world that can be applied to any discipline (production, education, performance, etc).
- Business cards- The easiest thing to carry and hand someone. Include your name, contact information, web address if you have one, and list what you specialize in or what you can be hired for.
- Personal website, or some kind of online portfolio- With our technologically advanced world, the internet is becoming a primary source of information. Having a personal website is a great way to showcase yourself professionally, without needing any web design skills. There are a bunch of free website services, but to be more “legit” you may want to purchase your own domain name. I hosted/created my website on Startlogic.com, and I think it pretty much does the job! Here are some essentials for your website:
- Home page: Have your name, your title, a little blurb about you and your site, and some pictures or head shots.
- Bio page: Give a detailed biography of yourself; who you are, what you do and what you want to do, where you are or where you want to be, when you graduated, why you love to do what you do.
- Background/Interests page: List any private study, instruments you play, parts you’ve played, shows you’ve been in, ensembles you’ve performed in, teaching experience, shows you’ve designed, and describe some classes you took in college that may be of interest to readers. Also list any other interests you have that may or may not be related to the performing arts, such as cooking, writing, movies, chemistry, animals…anything!
- Media page, or somewhere to display work you have done: Post photos of you performing, sets you designed, videos, audio samples, writing samples, etc. If you are hesitant to post any original content, consider obtaining a Creative Commons License. It’s free!
- Contact page: List the best way to get in contact with you, most likely an email address. Aim for a professional email address, something with your name at whatever-email-provider dot com. You can always link your professional email to your personal email so that it all forwards to one inbox.
- Make sure any links you have on your website bring visitors to a new window, that way they remain on your site while they explore what they have clicked on.
- Try to balance words/graphics. People don’t want to read an entire site…have something to look at too!
3. An affiliation with at least one social networking site other than your personal Facebook page. Here are some ideas:
- Myspace or ReverbNation if you are a musician and want to promote your music.
- Twitter for connecting with other artists, teachers, designers, etc.
- LinkedIn to make a professional profile, connect with others in your field, upload a resume, and keep in touch with past employers.
- Youtube to showcase any performances.
- A blog, such as WordPress or any blogging site to post your current projects or thoughts on your specific discipline.
4. An updated resume. Always keep your resume up to date so you aren’t scrambling when you need to submit it to someone!
Of course, these are just suggestions, and there are many other things performing arts majors can do to market themselves in addition to these four things. Since our major is more creative and interactive, we need to market ourselves in more creative and interactive ways.
I hope you find this helpful! Let me know if I can assist you with any of these things!