If you have found this blog I’m going to assume you are one of about three options. One, my friend or family member. Two saw a post about it on Instagram or Facebook. Or three you are a sound designer and engineer who is entering the field or has been in the field for a little while but is feeling a little lost and alone when looking for new jobs. And if you aren’t in any of those 3 options I’m surprised and totally happy you are here! No matter who you are, how you found my blog, or why you decided to keep reading past the first five sentences… I am happy you came across my blog and I hope you gain something from reading this blog.
Today’s blog will be a little different than my future posts because I need to lay out some foundational information to make you understand why I decided to write this blog. First off, my name is Elizabeth Calandra and I am currently in the final semester of my degree in theatre with a minor in dance. I originally went to college to perform but then found sound design and absolutely fell in love with it. With graduation just around the corner, I am starting the absolutely terrifying process of applying for “real world” jobs as a sound designer and audio engineer. In starting this process over the last few months, I have often thought how amazing it would be if I could go on a website or group chat of some kind and see that other people in my specified industry were struggling in the same ways I have been. So, when I saw the opportunity to create that myself… I couldn’t say no.
This blog will be different than the other blogs on SoundGilrs no doubt. The chance I know something you don’t know about the technicalities of sound is possible but not what I am setting out to teach or talk to people about. I am simply going to narrate my final semester of school applying for jobs and then my first six months post-college in the industry and hope this makes someone feel a little less alone.
So let’s get started and talk about January. This month I have reached a total of 33 jobs that I have applied for. This includes sound designer, engineer, and assistant jobs for regional, professional, and children’s theatres, as well as some event companies. In this first blog I am going to focus less on the jobs applied for and more so on advice, I have gotten or wished people told me on this journey. So here are my top five tips when starting to job hunt.
My first piece of advice when newly starting to apply for jobs is to keep a list of places you have applied to, and places you want to apply to once their applications open. If you don’t keep a running list of the jobs you apply to, you are relying on your memory alone, and trust me you will apply to the same place more than once because you forgot you already applied. I know because I did it. Also, if you keep a list of places you want to apply to, you can check their websites weekly for new job openings they might have posted.
My second piece of advice is to set aside time each week to look for jobs. There are new jobs posted daily in this industry, especially in January and February for summer work, the more you check the more opportunities there are available for you. Like I said prior, checking all the websites of the theatres or companies you have on your list for new job postings is one way. As well as various websites, live theatre technician posting websites include offstage jobs, playbill, USITT, and even right here on Soundgirls. You can also check indeed and various Facebook groups that are more geared to your specialty. I check all of these places weekly and apply to the jobs I see and think would be a good fit for me.
My third piece of advice is to not apply for all the jobs you see posted that are in your field. Just like when you apply for a job, the company is seeing if you are a good fit for them, so it is important to know if they are a good fit for you. Before applying to a company always look at their website, reviews on google, and social media accounts to get a feel of the kind of theatre or company they are. If it is a larger company I definitely suggest looking at reviews and googling what the work environment is like. Now you do have to take these reviews with a grain of salt. However, they could draw your attention to something in an interview you didn’t like, which you might not have thought about it if you didn’t do prior research.
My fourth piece of advice is to know your self-worth. We are often told in this industry that sometimes we have to settle, which I don’t disagree with. However, I think this can be misinterpreted to mean settling for being treated poorly and that is not what you should do. Never ever let an employer make you question your self-worth or what you deserve in a job. Sure, entry-level positions aren’t the end goal and aren’t glamorous, but that doesn’t mean anyone has the right to mistreat, belittle or harass you.
My fifth piece of advice is to not be afraid to ask for help. Looking for jobs in this industry is absolutely terrifying. You are not alone. Even if it feels like it, you at least have me who’s going through it with you. I vent to my friends, my professors, and my parents more than I’d like to admit about my job searches. However, this has also led me to some of the jobs I have applied to. My professors recommend theatre’s all the time for me to apply to. As well as my friends, when they apply for a job at a theatre they tell me to apply there too. Even my parents have pointed me in the direction of opportunities and they have almost no connections in this industry, or so I thought! My point is to lean on the people around you and if you are reading this that includes me now as well.
To conclude I just want to say thank you for starting this journey with me. I promise it will be a crazy year to follow along with. What I can’t promise is that my year will end happily because I am not going to lie on this blog. I won’t say I got a job if I didn’t and I won’t say I’m happy if I’m not. So, if you are looking for a happily ever after blog this isn’t the one for you.
If you have questions about me or want to contact me for advice or help finding jobs or even just to talk to someone going through what you are going through, my website should be linked to my blog page. There is a contact me tab on my website that any of my readers are more than welcome to fill out. I hope to hear from you soon! Thank you for reading and talk to you in February.