Camille Schenkkan is a theatre management professional and educator, passionate about career development for artists & arts managers.

Archive for June, 2011

LA’s Art Deserves Great Criticism

Originally written in 2009 for graduate school coursework.

Within a week, the LA Weekly got rid of Steven Leigh Morris’ position as Theatre Editor and the Daily Breeze laid off Jim Farber, their arts & theater critic. These are huge losses for the Los Angeles cultural community; however, like many others on the LACN & BCT listservs and commenting on the Times coverage of the layoffs, I’m feeling powerless to do anything about it. The LA Weekly is a free publication and I don’t get the Daily Breeze, so I can’t cancel my subscription to either publication. There’s a movement for arts organizations to cancel their advertising in the LA Weekly, which seems to be pretty much our only recourse for this devastating loss of two longtime patrons & friends to the arts community.

When I’m not working for Arts for LA, I’m working for Circle X Theatre Company, one of the 99-seaters that owes much of its continued success to Morris’ intelligent reviews. He was one of the few critics who approached each of our shows with knowledge of the company’s production history and mission. Throughout the years, he critiqued us when we strayed from our mission and applauded our successes, all with tremendous wit and understanding of the 99-seat community and contemporary theatre in general.

Who will critique our work? Who will guide people to the good stuff and point out the differences between showcase theatre and artistically substantive offerings? Who will keep us honest, give us feedback, know & appreciate the differences among Open Fist, Sacred Fools, Theatre of NOTE, Circle X, Evidence Room and all of the other small theatre companies, and write with the 20 years of knowledge that Steven has? We know a lot depends on how a play is reviewed: good reviews = get audiences and break even, bad reviews = no audiences, no money. It’s a simple formula that will become even more tenuous as we lose our best reviewers to the poor economy.

Last May, I posted the following article about the need for a strong, educated group of arts critics in Los Angeles. It’s still getting daily hits, so I thought I’d re-post it here– especially as it seems sadly relevant given the loss of Morris and Farber.

I end the article with this sentence: “Educated critics result in educated patrons. When Los Angeleans and visitors can trust our art critics to give an intelligent, informed opinion, guiding us to the good and weeding out the bad, we can begin building LA’s reputation as a nationally recognized center for arts and culture.” It didn’t cross my mind that less than a year later we’d be losing two of the city’s best critics, with more layoffs imminent. As an arts advocate and a theatre administrator, I’m wondering what we can do as an arts community to speak out against these cuts and/or find an alternative venue for arts criticism. If anyone has ideas or suggestions, please leave them in the comments.


The elimination of the full-time dance coverage position at the LA Times generated healthy discussion within the LA theatre community about the inconsistency of our own coverage. Big Cheap Theatre, a Yahoo! Group for theatres in the 99-Seat Equity Waiver community, became the forum for lively debate about local critics and their reviews. Some members bemoaned reviewers’ tendencies to indulge in snarkfests for first-run shows at small theatres, arguing criticism should take into account the size of the company and whether or not the play is a work-in-progress.

However–as others were quick to point out–quality is not proportional to budget. As theatre producers, we can’t expect an audience member to think, “This is excruciatingly boring, plotless, and aesthetically insipid, and these folding chairs are really physically uncomfortable; however, this company clearly has no money, so I’ll forgive them.” A bad play is a bad play. A small theatre producing trash shouldn’t be producing anything at all.
A more legitimate complaint addressed in the BCT forum was the general inconsistency of review quality among the LA publications. Although LA is home to a handful of outstanding critics such as Charles McNulty, Terry Morgan and Steven Leigh Morris, the overall quality of local criticism is offset by the many amateur, inept or petty reviewers writing for both large and small publications throughout the city. As theatre managers, we pray we’ll be assigned a “good critic” instead of someone who will either write a plot outline resembling an eighth-grade book report or an indecisive, poorly informed article betraying their limited understanding of theatre as an art form separate from television and film. While critics like Morris, McNulty and Morgan ground their reviews in a deep understanding of the theatre field, connecting each review to a larger discussion of contemporary performance on a citywide and national scale, many local critics seem to lack a basic knowledge of contemporary theatre. According to one BCT member, a reviewer commented on his company’s decision to mount a play as a musical when the play was written to be a musical and did not exist in any other form. While this anecdote represents an extreme example of critical ignorance, the theatre community cited countless reviews betraying critics’ insufficient knowledge of theatre on the local and national levels.
One blogger remarked that he often reads a review, sees the show and then wonders if perhaps there were two shows with the same name running in LA. Indeed, many arts patrons have seen a show based on a critical recommendation and wondered if they’d attended the wrong production. Seasoned LA patrons know a production receiving glowing reviews from certain publications and/or critics may in reality be a trite, uninspired showcase production with the sole aim of making money or attracting agents for aspiring television stars. LA’s problem with showcase theatre seems to be lost on many reviewers, who fail to recognize yet another production of Closer, Proof or Burn This as a self-serving vanity project that should be judged with a different critical vocabulary than artistically substantive “theatre for theatre’s sake.” New LA theatre patrons directed to sub-par productions by glowing and uninformed reviews could feel reluctant to attend future theatre events in the city, mistrusting even the most complimentary reviews because of their negative past experiences.
Unfortunately, there is little opportunity for the theatre community to blacklist bad reviewers and encourage potential audiences to trust only the handful of educated critics without sounding (or being) overtly self-serving. In truth, specific negative reviews probably inspired many of the BCTers’ complaints about critics, and one has to assume many of those reviews were justifiable given the abundance of bad theatre in the city. We all experience failure, whether it’s a single performance gone wrong, a poor choice of play or an entire season of mistakes. It’s a critic’s job to explain what went wrong and why, with respect and honesty. It is not appropriate, however, to call a production “crapola,” as one critic from a small local newspaper did according to a BCT member.
The Los Angeles theatre scene, like the city itself, is decentralized: there are a multitude of companies and venues stretched out over miles of fragmented neighborhoods. A company producing in Hollywood might as well be in a different time zone from a company in Long Beach. In recent years, many companies have moved from their original locations or chosen to become nomadic due to rising space costs, contributing to the difficulty of keeping track of who is producing what and where. The small army of critics needed to cover so much ground and the widespread itinerancy of theatre groups results in a lack of sequential criticism: a company’s artistic track record isn’t taken into account by the majority of reviewers, who treat each production as an isolated event instead of the next step in a company’s creative growth. This results in a lack of recognition for small companies consistently producing challenging, high-quality work, and enables artistically poor showcase companies to continue taking audiences’ money year after year. LA theatre thus lacks natural selection, the sheep-from-the-goats quality control that comes from a critical body educated about companies instead of individual productions.
Where could we send our critics to receive specialized training in writing and editing for theatre journalists? Los Angeles. Since 2005, LA has hosted the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theatre and Musical Theatre at the USC Annenberg School of Communication, a ten-day workshop for journalists. Although several of Los Angeles’ seasoned critics have participated as guest faculty and lecturers, none of the 100 participants have come from LA. Starting this August, arts journalists will have the opportunity to receive more in-depth training: according to a May 1st press release, USC Annenberg is developing the workshop into a 9-month master’s program in Arts Journalism. Program Director Sasha Anawalt says, “USC Annenberg offers this new degree out of a conviction that quality arts and culture journalism today requires subject matter expertise, advanced reporting skills and knowledge of how new communication technologies are changing the ways that people learn, think and behave.” Perhaps Los Angeles-based journalists could receive tuition breaks or scholarships to help develop these essential critical skills in USC Annenberg’s home city.
Educated critics result in educated patrons. When Los Angeleans and visitors can trust our art critics to give an intelligent, informed opinion, guiding us to the good and weeding out the bad, we can begin building LA’s reputation as a nationally recognized center for arts and culture.


What Happens to a Job Application

This is another blog written for arts management job seekers.  It was originally published on ArtJob.

I believe the best way to become a better job applicant is to be in charge of a hiring process. The more applications you read, the better you understand what gets a cover letter noticed and what puts an application straight into the No pile.

This is my seventh consecutive year reading applications for a summer internship through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s Arts Internship Program. Last year, my organization, Circle X Theatre Co., received eighty applications for one paid, ten-week internship. This year, we’re on track to exceed last year’s number of applicants.

That’s nothing compared to many full-time, paid jobs. I know of one mid-level management position in a Los Angeles arts service organization that garnered over 300 applications.

I empathize deeply with job-seekers, and was moved to write this blog after seeing a handful of easily fixable issues pop up over and over again in applications.

Below is a step-by-step breakdown of how I review applications and what makes one stand out from the pack. Although I’m using examples from the search for an entry-level employee, I’ve been involved with hiring for managers, professors and consultants, and have approached each process similarly. I hope this is a valuable window into how applications turn into interviews, and I encourage those on both sides of the process to respond in the Comments section.

I spend roughly two minutes looking at each application.
I’m a volunteer staff member with Circle X, so I have to look through this flood of applications in the evenings and weekends. Sometimes I need less than two minutes (usually a bad sign), and sometimes I’ll get intrigued and linger over a cover letter. After I’ve seen enough, I send an email to the applicant acknowledging receipt, and use the Gmail Labels feature to categorize the application as Group 1, Group 2 or No.

I will probably never look at the applications in the No category again, and may never click on Group 2 either. Group 2 is where I put job seekers who don’t stand out as amazing candidates, but who aren’t clearly unqualified or wrong for the position. When I’m ready to schedule interviews, I may go back through Group 2 and pull a couple of applicants from there if my Group 1 doesn’t feel particularly strong.  When there are dozens of applicants, the chances of that happening are slim.

Sometimes, I’ll email a candidate and request additional information. Usually this happens when I can tell someone is highly qualified but I don’t get a good sense of who they are from their cover letter; more on that later.

The process is pretty harsh, and trust me, as someone whose family has dealt with long-term unemployment, it does not feel good to put someone into the No folder after a two-minute glance at their materials.  However, I estimate I’ve seen over 800 applications in all of the hiring processes I’ve been a part of, and keep in mind I’m only 27 years old.  You have to learn to identify competitive, qualified applicants quickly so you don’t waste your or your organization’s time.

As a note, I strongly prefer online applications. Hard-copy materials are more difficult to share with other staff members, and emailed applications are easier to track.
Here’s where my eyes go when I open an emailed job application for the first time.
I prefer a brief, polite note in the body of the email, with the resume and cover letter included as attachments. I don’t mind the cover letter in the body of the email as long as it’s also attached. If it’s not, I’ll have to copy/paste it from the email into a Word document, save it with your name, and tweak the formatting before I give it to other staff members to review or print it before an interview.  It adds an extra step, so you’d better be a pretty darn strong applicant if you do that.

Are there six attachments, even though the job description specifically asked for just a cover letter and a resume? My least favorite extra attachment: A headshot. If you’re not auditioning for a role, do not send a headshot. It makes me think you don’t actually want the job I’m hiring for—you want to act.  In my mind, you should do what you want to do, so I’m obligingly not going to hire you.

Are the attachments named appropriately? When I see something that says “Formal Resume” it makes me suspicious; what does your “Informal Resume” look like?

Also, beware mislabeling, which is more common than you would think. When I see “Resume for [Company other than mine]” as a document label, it makes me mildly annoyed and suggests the applicant isn’t very thorough. My favorite formatting is just Your_Name-Resume and Your_Name-CoverLetter, as either .doc (not .docx) or .pdf attachments. I open them in Google Docs, and other document formats are more likely to give me problems.
Cover Letter
I always open the cover letter first and give it a quick visual scan.

Is it a form cover letter? If yes, the whole application goes directly into the No folder.  If you don’t care, I don’t care.

Did the applicant take the time to format the letter? Is the writing professional in tone, word choice and punctuation choice (no gratuitious exclamation points), without seeming dry or distant?

I skip long paragraphs about the applicant’s theory of The Stage or overly glowing compliments about my organization. Referencing theory is a very risky move in a job application. You don’t know if the person doing the hiring majored in theatre, or music, or film– even if they did, they may not remember the difference between ‘poor theatre’ and ‘theatre of the oppressed.’  I think these applicants are trying to sound mature and knowledgeable, but unfortunately this type of academic name-dropping has the opposite effect. So does overt flattery, especially if you’re only basing compliments on a quick read of the organizational website.

I’ve had applicants say things like, “To quote Avatar, I see you,” and “The stage is the glorious backdrop to the pageant of my life in Art.” Don’t risk making the hiring manager giggle.

I zone in on anything that tells me who the applicant is. Do I want to meet this person and find out more about him/her? Do I feel like this position would utilize his/her experience but would provide new challenges?

Career goals are especially important information. If I’m hiring for an arts management job, someone with stellar academics who wants to be an accountant isn’t as strong a candidate as someone who hasn’t done very well academically but wants to be an artistic director.

But don’t lie. If you tell me in your cover letter that you want to be an artistic director, but when I get to the resume I see a lot of accounting experience and no theatre experience, I feel like you’re trying to pull a fast one on me. Be honest about your career goals.

I want to know why you’re drawn to the organization, why you’re qualified, and enough personal information to help me remember your application. Even a well-written cover letter from a highly qualified applicant goes in Group 2 if I don’t see your humor, your passion, your creativity—the things that make you an asset to an arts organization.
Examples of cover letter information that helps get the applicant an interview:

  • I saw your last production and enjoyed the writing and evocative scenic design. I ended up writing a paper on the playwright, and am happy to see another of her plays on your 2012 season schedule.
  • Your organization’s commitment to arts education and social justice corresponds with my own interests, especially as I see you hosted Bob Jenner, one of my favorite professors, as a visiting artist last year. Bob’s work in Venezuela inspired me to travel to South America last year to participate in a similar workshop with rural youth.

Evidence that you have any connection to the organization is a plus, especially in an arts field. I’m especially drawn to people who can connect their own work history and interests to the organization’s.

  • After spending six months teaching drama in Guam…
  • I took a semester off between junior and senior year to take care of my father…
  • I’m equally committed to my two passions, animal rights and theatre, and have spent time working for nonprofits in both fields…
  • After college, I spent a year doing community service with my church…

This information serves two purposes: It’s fascinating and makes me remember you, and it explains something that otherwise would be confusing on your resume, like a year with no work experience or work history in a different field.

  • I’ve been able to hone my skills in development as a Grants Associate at Education Organization Z, and am looking for the opportunity to grow and apply those skills within an arts setting.

Double whammy: specific job-related experience + why this job builds on and utilizes that experience.

Make sure you address the specific requirements of the job. You can talk all you want about why you’re drawn to the organization, but if you’re applying for a Marketing position, you’d better tell me what draws you to marketing. This is especially important if you don’t have relevant experience in a particular field.

Do not parrot the job description in the cover letter. This year’s internship job description calls for computer-savvy independent workers with a strong interest in development and theatre operations. I estimate that half of all cover letters say something like, “I’m an independent worker, well-versed in computers, and I’m looking forward to learning about development and theatre operations.” How do I distinguish one from the other?

The best cover letters address the specifics of the job description through showing, not telling. Instead of “I’m an independent worker,” which only tells me you’ve read the job description, I respond to sentences like, “In my current position, I manage three to five youth art projects with limited supervision, and enjoy being ultimately responsible for the success of each program in my portfolio.”

The exception would be if the job description calls for a specific skill, such as teaching artist certification or working knowledge of DonorPerfect. A simple sentence acknowledging your competency is appropriate in this case.

Now on to the resume.
I notice immediately if certain information is missing. I need to know what applicants are majoring/majored in, graduation year (that speaks to experience and maturity level), work experience, and any affiliations, special skills or certifications. If any of that information is missing or buried, I’m less likely to spend a lot of time examining the resume.

Things I barely look at: GPA and references. I only notice GPA if it’s very low, and probably would never notice if it were omitted. I can get a sense of aptitude from the writing style, work experience and any honors/awards listed. I like “References Available Upon Request,” so if we get to the interview process I can ask for them but they’re not cluttering the resume.

If you have little or no work experience—even if you’re still in school—there had better be a good reason for it, either in the cover letter or expressed in the resume. That’s just the nature of a competitive job field.

For the Circle X internship, college student applicants that go into Group 1 nearly always have a solid work history. If I don’t see summer employment (or an internship, or a volunteer project), I picture the applicant playing Xbox in Mom’s basement for three months while other applicants were gaining job skills and learning what working 9-to-5 really means.

If you don’t have work history, tell me why. Maybe you took some time to find your path.  That’s fine. Maybe you were hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, working on a novel, or caring for your child. Maybe you were struggling with unemployment—that’s all too common. None of these things are marks against you if you acknowledge them and make it clear you’re now at a place in your life when you’re ready for employment. Just don’t cross your fingers and hope a hiring manager won’t notice gaps on your resume… we will.

Use the work experience section to convey specific skills and experiences. Some resumes look like this:
Organization Z, 2009-2010
Marketing Manager

… I have so many questions.

Did you work there from December 2009 to January 2010 or January 2009 to December 2010? Those are VERY different stories about how substantive the experience was, and how committed you appear to be to one organization/business. What did you do? What did you accomplish, in a quantitative sense? I have specific tips on resume blurbs in my previous article on resume & cover letter writing.

A note on job titles: unfortunately, they matter. If you’re contemplating a career change and have told your boss about it, it’s worth asking for a title change if you think it might be beneficial to your job search. Aside from the salary element (Directors make more than Managers, Associates make more than Assistants, etc.), the difference between Publicity Manager (specific) and Marketing Manager (broad, inclusive) could be major if you’re looking at a Development & Marketing position.

Luck is a big part of hiring, so please don’t get discouraged.

This sunk in when I was part of a casting process for a theatre company. Many incredible actors gave fabulous auditions, had excellent resumes, and weren’t cast. Sometimes it was as simple as a height issue: the male lead is usually cast to be taller than the female lead. Just as actors can’t control things like height, sometimes there are factors at work in a hiring process that have nothing to do with your strength as an applicant.

For example, I know I respond to people who grew up in rural areas like I did, and those who attended my alma mater. That’s never a conscious choice, but seeing my college on a resume or reading about another country kid’s experiences can make me spend more time on an application, which might result in a Group 1 categorization instead of Group 2, an interview, and a hire. That’s not fair. It’s not logical. I try to be aware of it, but it happens.

This is just one hiring manager’s process and certainly doesn’t reflect that of the field as a whole. However, I hope the article will help you avoid common mistakes and present yourself in an optimum light as you look for employment.

If you have any questions about what I’ve mentioned in this article, please leave them in the Comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them promptly.

Best of luck, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t nail the perfect job right out of the gate.  It takes time, persistance, and attention to detail.  You never know which application will be the one that gets you hired!

Resume & Interview Tips for Arts Managers

This is one of a series of blogs on job tips for arts managers.  This has been published online on a few sites, including ArtJob and Arts for LA.

In 2009, I had the honor of acting as a Learning Community Hub Leader for a group of 12 arts management interns through the LA County Arts Internship Program. Many of them had just graduated from college and were curious about arts management best practices when it came to applying, interviewing and looking for jobs. I developed the following advice based on their questions and conversations. Feel free to leave a comment if you have another tip or best practice to share!

These are just my opinions, not industry standards. The Internet is strewn with conflicting resume advice. However, these tips have held up through multiple hiring processes in several related fields. I’ve been on the hiring committees for an acting professor, two manager positions, nine arts management interns and seven teaching positions, have seen literally hundreds of arts resumes and sat through almost as many interviews. Times are tough, but going into an interview fully prepared will give you an edge on the competition.
Cover Letter Tips
  • Write a new one each time and never send a form letter. Employers look at your cover letter first. When you’re sifting through a hundred applications, resumes all start to look alike, especially for people in our age group who don’t have a ton of work experience. If you’re using a form cover letter, it’s immediately obvious and really hurts your chances of being called for an interview. Use your cover letter to tell the employer who you are and why you want the job.
  • Please, please proofread it. Every year I get an application for a Developement Intern.
  • Do your research. Spend time on the organization’s website before you write the cover letter. Ask yourself why you want to work with them and what makes you excited about the work they’re doing. People get into the arts because of passion. They’re looking for employees who care about the work they’re doing. Read their mission if they’re a non-profit and reference that in your letter. If an applicant doesn’t tell me why they want to work with my organization, I’m not sure why I want to work with them.
  • Address it to the correct person. Things that get thrown away: “To Whom it May Concern,” “Dear Ms. Skenkken” or anything else that shows me the applicant hasn’t actually read through the job posting.
  • Articulate your skills, strengths and interests. Don’t use flowery language, but do let them know what you’ll bring and what you want to learn from them. I’d also stay away from espousing your theories on drama and modernity and pathos and humanity.
  • Do not start with “Hello, my name is __________.” I see that. I opened your email and can see your signature at the bottom of the letter.
Resume Tips
  • Keep it to one page. It looks more professional and is easier to read. Use a legible font that isn’t Times New Roman or Arial. You can be a bit more creative with your name, especially if you’re a visual artist. Use nicer paper but please keep it white or off-white.
  • Include arts-related volunteer work. Don’t include Burger King.
  • Do not send your acting or artistic resume if you’re applying for a management or administrative job or internship. I don’t need to know you played Hermia in 9th grade.
  • Don’t list the classes you’ve taken unless it’s something the employer needs to know you can do. I.E., if you’re applying for a job that requires Dramaturgy skills, you can mention Dramaturgy courses. Even then, I’d put it down in the Skills section instead of a separate Courses section. It’s never appropriate to list all of your college arts courses.
  • List technical/computer skills relevant to the job, group memberships, special accomplishments (Successful grants: NEA, LACAC, Flintridge Foundation) or honors (National Merit Scholar). You can also choose to incorporate a separate Honors section or something specific to your discipline, such as theatre affiliations, galleries where you’ve been shown or film projects.
  • Try not to say “I” or “Applicant” in work experience descriptions. Start with verbs such as “Developed,” “Administrated,” “Created,” “Organized,” etc. See below for example.
  • Quantify your duties at each job. Instead of:

June 2007 – August 2007: Summer Program Manager, Onstage Arts Academy

Managed summer arts program for junior high school students. Looked for funding and organized activities. Trained counselors.

… think about what you did, in a very concrete sense, that contributed to the organization:

May 2007 – August 2007: Summer Program Manager, Onstage Arts Academy

Organized and implemented five-week summer arts program for 90 junior high school students from the Chicago inner city. As one of four Program Managers, reported directly to the program’s Executive Director and worked collaboratively to develop academy programming and activities. Coordinated all development efforts, receiving over $8,500 from private and corporate donations within two months, and designed a comprehensive counselor training module still in use by Onstage Arts Academy.

  • I don’t think it’s appropriate to ask an employer to “confirm receipt.” If you sent it to the right place, they received it. You can call a week after you send it to check on progress (unless the job posting said “no calls” or they’ve contacted you to let you know they’re currently reviewing applications and will get back to you).

  • If you have the opportunity to ask why you didn’t get the job, do it. Maybe it’s a fixable issue. I lost a development internship at Actors’ Gang in 2004 because I didn’t have fundraising experience on my resume. In truth, I had done quite a bit of fundraising. I put it on my resume, applied for Circle X Theatre Co.‘s development internship, got it, and am still actively involved with the theatre company seven years later.
The Interview
  • Do more research. You should know who you’re interviewing with, what’s coming up for the organization and what the job duties are. If you have questions, ask them. They’ll appreciate that you did your homework.
  • Be yourself. Your personality is an important part of the equation for an employer, especially if it’s a small organization. You’re going to be working in one another’s back pockets. I always look for sense of humor, kindness and friendliness in applicants.
  • Practice. You’re probably going to be asked a version of the following questions, so it’s a good idea to think through them (if not practice answering them out loud) prior to an interview:
    • Why are you interested in this position/organization?
    • What’s your biggest flaw?
    • What’s your greatest strength?
    • What sort of relevant experience do you have?
    • Is there anything that isn’t on your resume that you’d like to share with us?
    • Why should we choose you?
Informational Interviews
  • Ask cool people out for coffee. An “informational interview” is initiated by someone interested in working for a person or organization, even if that organization isn’t currently hiring. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door and is one of the most common ways arts folks find jobs. I met Danielle Brazell from Arts for LA in 2008 and liked her instantly, so I asked her if she needed an assistant. She told me she might and we set up a coffee date. Three months later, I was hired on a part-time basis and am now the full-time Development & Operations Manager for the organization.
  • Cultivate relationships through networking. Go to art events and when you like what you see, find someone involved and strike up a conversation. Make business cards and exchange them with people you like. Follow up with an email asking him/her questions about the organization or his/her job. If that communication goes well and you’re interested in an informational interview, make the move.
  • Don’t come with expectations. It’s informational on both sides. Maybe there will be a match; maybe the person will be able to suggest another organization that might be better for you. Maybe the two of you don’t click after all.
  • Bring a resume but don’t take it out right away. If they don’t ask for it, give it to them casually at the end of the conversation.
  • Don’t insist on paying for the coffee. Offer, but if they insist, let them pay.  They make more money than you do.
Social Networking
  • I Facebook and Google every prospective employee. While some employers (and many in the arts world) don’t care if you’re a little wild, if you’re uncomfortable with your social networking content, you should change your permissions so no one can see your kegstand photos. Only “friend” your boss if you have no worries about what he/she will think of your photos, dirty notes friends leave on your wall, etc. Personally, unless you’re eating a kitten, I don’t care what’s in your photos. Some bosses will. However, I was hired for a job because the bosses saw MySpace photos of me with cocktails in my hand. They said they wanted to make sure I could relax and have fun.
  • Do not approach prospective employers through Facebook, even if you’re already friends with them. It looks unprofessional.
  • Think before you post and never complain publicly about a specific person in the field. This is a small world and it will probably get back to them.

And finally, if you get a bad feeling about an organization, job or person, run.

Your instinct is probably right and no job is worth misery.

If you get a job and you hate it, quit. It’s not the end of the world.  When you end up at the right place, you’ll know.