Though the professional dance world has more auditions than it does career fairs, it is just as important for dance artists to build and maintain professional identities as it is for anyone else. Here are a few rules dancers should keep in mind while applying for jobs, although most of them are universally applicable.
1. Be aware of your web identity and the image it projects about you
Many people use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to joke with their friends, while others use them for professional networking. Be aware of the version of yourself that you project on such websites, and filter your friends/connections on those sites accordingly. Pay attention to the privacy settings offered to you by each website, and use them to your advantage. As a general rule, avoid posting anything profane or offensive, because once something is on the Internet, it exists in cyberspace forever.
Try Google searching yourself and analyze your results. What kind of image does the Google search project? Is it representative of you as a professional?
Another good website to check out is Pipl.com. This site searches the deep web for information about a person after his or her name and state of residence are entered into the search bar. The amount of information that the site finds is kind of overwhelming, but it gives an accurate picture of just what kind of personal information can be found with a simple web search.
2. Build your own website
Building a website allows a person to completely control the professional image he or she projects online. For dancers, this site should include an artist’s statement, a biography, a professional resume, a performance resume, a head shot and other performance photos. This formula can be altered based on the dancer’s professional goals; my personal website, for example, features clips of my writing in addition to the pages listed above.
Though website content will differ among dancers, good design elements should be present on any page. Keep the following notes in mind:
- Use boldface type to emphasize important words in your text.
- Be sure to edit your text thoroughly; have someone else proofread your work before you post it and/or read your text aloud before posting it. Doing these things should help you catch any grammatical mistakes.
- Use SEO, or search engine optimization, to your advantage by tagging your posts with relevant search terms, if possible. This is easier to do with blog posts than it is to do with websites.
- Be sure to include photo credit for any photos you post on your website. You don’t want to infringe on copyright laws!
- When choosing photos for a page, use the rule of thirds to pick compelling shots. To do this, draw a Tic-Tac-Toe grid on a photo and aim to align the main point of interest with one of the grid’s four intersections.
- Assess the direction of the photo when deciding where to place it on the page. The goal is to have the subject of the photo facing into the center of the page; this directs the reader’s focus to the text alongside the photo. If the subject of the photo is facing right, put it on the left side of the page, and vice versa.
- People naturally read in a Backwards Z pattern in print publications. Put the most important information in that pattern on a page.
- Online, people read in an F pattern, starting in the upper left-hand corner, and then reading sideways and downward on the page.
- Be aware of different screen sizes when you design your site. Page layouts display differently depending on the size of someone’s computer/phone/tablet screen.
I’ve got a lot more to say, but I think this is enough information for now. I’ll post Part 2 sometime during the next week!