Job Hopping

By: Edna Landau

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Dear Edna:

Although my question is more of a general workplace question than a musical one, I am writing in recognition of the many years you spent at the helm of an artist management agency in hopes that you will give me an honest reaction based on your personal experience. I am a flutist with an undergraduate degree from a school of music. Because I wasn’t drawn to apply for orchestral positions, I decided to take a job in the Dean’s office, just out of school. After one year, I saw an ad for a position in a public relations agency and decided to apply for it, since I have often been told that my writing skills are excellent and it paid more money.(I also didn’t see any opportunities for advancement at the school.) I got the job and have been there for one and a half years. Although I like the people I am working with, I am not enjoying writing press releases and calendar listings nearly every day. Opportunities to actually interact with the press are rare. I recently noticed a job for an assistant artistic administrator at an orchestra in a city where I already have many friends. I have read the job description and I believe I have the necessary qualifications. I think I would love working for an orchestra but I’m afraid that they would be reluctant to consider me, as it would be my third job in three years. Do you have any advice for me? —D.R.    

Dear D. R.:

When I worked at IMG Artists and reviewed a resume that listed several jobs spanning a brief time period, it certainly did catch my eye. It did not stop me from calling someone in for an interview if the resume looked interesting, but I listened very carefully to what they had to say about it. If their reasons sounded justifiable and normal for someone just starting out and trying to find their professional way, it certainly wasn’t a strike against them. In speaking with them, I tried to determine why a job with IMG might hold the potential to attract them for a considerably longer period of time. I also called their references to verify that the information they gave me was true. If their former employer indicated that they were sorry to see them go but that they totally understood their reasons and felt that the departure was handled thoughtfully by the employee, it counted for a lot. If you decide to apply for the orchestra job and you feel comfortable telling your current employer that you are looking at other opportunities, they might appreciate your honesty. This could work in your favor if they are willing to be called as a reference. (However, if you think they will greet the news by showing you the door, don’t take the chance!). If you are called in for an interview, make every effort to express your total enthusiasm for the orchestra job and why it would mean the world to you to have it. It would also be helpful to indicate your readiness to settle into it for a considerably longer period of time than you spent in your last two positions.

In researching this subject on the Internet, I came across an article that offered good and comprehensive advice. It’s a little long but you will get the essence of it in the first three sections. All the very best of luck!

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©Edna Landau 2012

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