SOKY JobSeeker Tools for Success: No. 3 Nailing the Interview

My education background is a fairly unique one. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Performing Arts with a concentration in Musical Theatre and a minor in Performing Arts Administration. My expertise is in the whole singing/acting/dancing thing. So how does Performing Arts relate to the “normal” job world? There actually are a whole slew of correlations. As a matter of fact, having a theatre background greatly prepared me for when I entered the non-theatre job search after I moved back to Southern Kentucky after a few years in New York City.

Not only are the skills I acquired great for me, but they are perfect for any job-seeking, interview-going individual. How? Let me tell you a few…

Preparation: Not only is preparing for a role CRUCIAL in getting ready for a production, the same goes for preparing for an interview or starting a new job. If you aren’t ready, believe me, it shows. If I walked onstage without rehearsing my lines or preparing my songs, I was in trouble. If you walk into an interview not knowing what position you are there to discuss or what the company even does, you also are in trouble. With information literally at our fingertips, it’s quick and easy enough to Google the company and get a little history. What do they do? Who are their clients?  It makes for an impressive interview when you can go in and speak directly to why you would be interested in working for their company specifically. Plus, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you’ll be.

Improvisation: On the flip side of being prepared, it’s also critical that you can roll with the punches and improvise. In theatre, there are plentyof situations that call for improvisation – a missed cue, someone forgets their line, props break. In those instances, you have to roll with the punches all while keeping your cool and acting like the scene is absolutely, positively supposed to go that way. In an interview or new job setting, sometime unexpected circumstances arise and you’ll need to handle them as cool, calm, and collected as you can. We all know the saying, “Fake it ‘till you make it.” Or as us theatre folk say, “The show must go on.”

Looking the part: As a character in a show, your costume can help make an impression to the audience. That impression can be a good one, bad one, scary one, funny one, or one to keep you guessing. The same goes for an interview or job – you must look and dress the part if you want to be taken seriously. You want to leave the interviewers with the impression that you are undoubtedly their next hire or promotion. Let your costume leave the impression of confidence and be sure that it fits the role.

Being a team player: When in a show, being an actor is only one portion of the production. Stop and think about how many other people it takes working together to put on a production: director, stage manager, costume designer, technical director, set designer, lighting designer, choreographer, music director, prop master, crew, and countless others. And what about the folks that promote the show and sell the tickets and pass out programs? There are so many integral parts to the production as a whole. The exact same thing goes for the company that is hiring. Every hire, every employee, every staff member is vital to keep the business going and most, if not all the time, it’s because everyone is working together to make it happen. The way to prove yourself in an interview or while active in a position is to show that you are a team player and that you are willing to work hard and well with others to make the company succeed.

I am so thankful for my Performing Arts education and how it prepared me for the business world. I hope it helps you, too. Break a leg!

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