OPPS #ONSCENE about New Year, New Application SZN!
Sketchy resolutions that no one actually plans to follow through on — that is what most people associate with the start of a new year.
For young people in the arts though, a new year often means the beginning of a new application cycle for internships, year-long apprenticeships, jobs and even grad school. If this is you, here are some tips to make putting yourself out there a little less painful!
1. Find the similarities!
Take a few minutes to look at the list of requirements for every opportunity you’re applying for. Note the overlaps between applications, such as a résumé or a list of references. Spend a few hours perfecting those items and you’ll be much closer to finishing multiple applications. Not only is this productive, it makes the whole process feel more manageable.
2. Make a list or a chart — just write something down.
You may think you’re the kind of person who doesn’t need lists to succeed, and you might be right. BUT when it comes to applying for multiple opportunities in a short period of time, there are too many moving parts to risk forgetting something. At the very least, make a list of the opportunities you want to apply for, and cross them off as you finish. You should also make a list of opportunities you’re interested in but aren’t sure about to circle back to later. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make a chart tracking your progress. You will definitely thank yourself later.
3. Enlist a knowledgeable second (or third, or fourth…) pair of eyes!
You’ve written that cover letter or personal statement, but you’re not sure whether you’ve struck the right balance between humblebragging and aspirational. Let’s face it: It’s impossible to be objective about your own work. That’s why it’s important to run your writing by someone else, especially someone who has experience reading, writing and/or evaluating applications. Professors, mentors and former supervisors are all sure to give you some helpful feedback.
4. Think big picture.
If you’re having application writer’s block, it can be helpful to step back and take a look at the big picture. What do you hope this opportunity will lead to? What do you see yourself doing in a year, or two years, after completing this internship or job? These are tricky questions, but it’s important to answer them, especially if you feel stuck.
5. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
If you’re anything like me, being loud and proud about the things that make you an ambitious and accomplished person feels borderline impossible. That being said, if there were ever an appropriate time for bragging it’s now! Show off those extracurriculars, that high GPA, that super successful play you stage-managed or that project you executed the hell out of at your last job. If it gets you the opportunity, the discomfort of being a little flashier than you’re used to will be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT worth it.