Top tips for Graduates and Interns
I graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2019 with a degree in Contemporary Dance and have since embarked on a career in community dance and education. For the past year, I have been working in Trinity Laban’s Learning and Participation department as a Graduate Intern. Here are my top tips for a new dance graduate and being an intern:
· Get involved with everything you see relating to what you’re interested in
One of the reasons I was offered my current role was because of the experience I’d accumulated in a range of settings during my degree. When I graduated one of my lectures told us the advice she was given when she graduated, ‘Apply for everything!’
The dance industry is small, and everyone seems to know everyone. Having more contacts means hearing about more opportunities. Fortunately, even if you don’t think your great at networking, like anything, it’s a skill that can be improved and developed.
· Don’t be ashamed of getting an unrelated job if you need it
We’ve all got to eat! Almost everyone in the industry at some point has had to take a job in a bar, restaurant, or office. It doesn’t mean you’re not good enough or not trying hard enough. Identify the skills you learn in these roles and use them when applying for the jobs you do want. Worked in a hectic restaurant? You’ve worked in a fast-paced environment and have experience interacting with the public. Worked in a bar with rowdy customers? You can work flexibly and deal with complaints.
How to get the most out of an Internship (but applicable to most opportunities):
· Ask questions
You may feel irritating, or embarrassed, but really, if you don’t know- ask! Getting the opportunity is one thing, but making the most out of it is your job. Use other people’s knowledge and experience. Asking questions is the quickest way to learn something for free.
· Be indispensable
Show off the skills that you’ve spent so long working on. If a team member is looking for help on a project offer yourself, offer to take the minutes for a meeting, or if a colleague has a heavy workload see if they have any tasks you can do. During my internship, I’ve worked with colleagues who I wouldn’t have if I didn’t offer my time to or volunteer to do a task.
· Know what you’re interested in
It can seem surprising when you enter a dance career how many career options there are outside performing and choreographing. It can be tricky to know what you are interested in doing, but as soon as you know, go full steam ahead to get it! Be clear with lecturers, employers, and your contacts what you’re interested in working on. If you’re really specific, the next time an opportunity comes along in that area, your name might spring to their mind.