So halfway through my University degree, I found a passion for arts management as well as performance. I think this came about due to the amazing internship positions I was able to do during my 1st and 2nd year.
The world of Arts management stood out for me as I love to be organised and be creative. And this career path seems to answer to all of that. I didn’t want to be stuck at my desk 24/7 I wanted to be meeting companies, going to see exciting new work and then crunching budget numbers at my desk. I wanted a job that would be varied and challenging..
In my final year I started looking at the possibilities of an Arts Management masters degree. But soon after crunching the numbers I realised doing my masters immediately after my bachelors degree wasn’t going to be a possibility.
So I decided to gain practical experience, and the most direct way of doing this was to get a job as an arts administrator for a theatre. I thought due to my degree and all of my voluntary experience it would help me kick off my Arts Management career. (Over confident in retrospect)
I was told by one of my university lecturers that employment after University would be hard for me.
1. Because I was from the creative/arts world
2. I am female
3. I’m black
Now the above may seem very cold and not PC advice, but not only did it prepare me for job hunting. It gave myself as a graduate a kick up the bum, and to show you that graduate recruitment isn’t all that rosy. It made me all that more determined to get where I wanted to be. And it was one the best pieces of advice I ever got from University.
After making over 150 applications to various theatres and creative companies and a few disappointing interviews. I started to realise this was not going to be as easy as I thought!
Here is what I should have done
– Taken another internship or volunteer role specific to arts administration
– Created a portfolio of my work
– Started my blog much earlier
– Made more connections
So for 6/7 months I sold my soul to the exciting (monotonous) world of recruitment. In all honesty I saw it as a quick way to save money for my masters. Although to do date it has been the worst job I’ve done so far I did learn a few things:
– Be more assertive
– Don’t take shortcuts
– Affirmed my decision to be in a creative job
– Not to change my personality for anyone!
So I handed in my notice, moved back to London with no job. To most adults this seems like a very stupid idea. But now more than ever I knew exactly what I wanted. And due to my brief experience in recruitment I had more of an understanding on how to structure a CV, interview and market myself. Within a month I found a new job as an Event Co-Ordinator for a Christmas grotto company for a 6 month contract.
Working with that company was a challenge mentally and physically. There was many late nights, heated discussions with management and a crazy workload.
I learnt that
– Getting along with your co-workers makes a MASSIVE difference
– How to handle a busy workload
– Be creative and organised with lots and lots of deadlines
– Handling a difficult management team
Most importantly it gave me the experience I needed to finally get a job as (drum roll pleaaaaaase)
Assistant to the Chief Executive and Administrator
So sum all of this up no graduate will get anywhere without hard graft and a few tears along the way. But whatever you do after University make sure you gain something from the experience. Don’t just sit back and wait for opportunities to magically happen! Take risks!!
Over the next 6 months I will be posting on how my first Theatre job is going, also projects I’m working on.
Watch this space everyone!!