Ways Into the Field                   The Alphabet Soup of Cultural Management

Cultural Management

Work Search Strategies

On this page:

Tools to help you get prepared

So, you want to get into a career in cultural management, but you don’t know how to get there. This part of the website offers three types of material that may help you reflect on what you have to offer, and then turn around and sell yourself as a cultural manager.

In this section, you will find:

  • A tool to help you reflect on your own experiences and describe them to a potential employer.
  • Suggestions for finding a position in the field.
  • Specific information on résumé writing and cover letters, including samples.
  • Coaching to help you prepare for an interview.
“I adore the fluidity of this work – I literally cannot predict what I will be dealing with from one day to the next. What I most recommend for those coming into this career is to follow your passion: the work is too hard and the hours too long to stay in a job you hate. Find out what you most want to support, and find a way to build a life around it.”
David Cheoros, General Manager, Theatre Network, Edmonton

PD portfolio: your skills and experience

Whether you are starting out to find full-time employment or moving into a new area of work, it is very helpful to take a look at what you have done so far by completing a professional development portfolio. Don’t worry about the fact that you may not have a lot of experience or training; particularly if you are a high school and university student - just focus on what you have done and learned. The time taken to reflect on your experiences – the good and the bad – will be of great help in deciding where to go next.

The advantage of putting together your professional portfolio is that it encourages you to examine carefully previous learning, work and volunteer experiences and describe them to yourself ... and therefore to a potential employer. Use this information to figure out what your next career objectives are. Once complete, your portfolio will become your reference document for developing your résumé, writing cover letters and preparing for interviews.

Sample résumés

Sample résumés

MS Word format

Sample résumés

Sample résumés

PDF format

Finding the opportunities

With the diverse paths to becoming a cultural manager, searching for work can be overwhelming. Here are a couple of tips to guide your search.

Network your way to work.

Most people get their first job through a contact, for example, an acquaintance who knows about an unadvertised job or where work can be found. How can you make these very important contacts? It’s easier than you think. The answer is – make yourself visible. The only way people will know about you is because you’re already working, either through your school projects or your volunteer work.

Here are some useful tips for building a network:

  • Be an enthusiastic worker. If you’re willing to try anything and enjoy w will remember you.
  • Be curious about others. Your network is not just about you. Have a ge others do and enjoy learning from them.
  • Stay in touch. Relationships need constant work. Give your contacts a them how they’re doing. Tell them what you’re up to.
  • Target organizations that are of interest to you and offer to volunteer.

Go online:

Here are a few websites to visit for your work search:

  • The Cultural Human Resources Council’s Cultureworks.ca website
  • The Conseil Québecois des ressources humaines en culture (French only)
  • The Cultural Careers Council Ontario job board
  • SaskCulture job gallery
  • Charity Village (a website dedicated to supporting charities and non-profit organizations across Canada.
  • Many individual cultural organizations – including umbrella groups that support other cultural organizations – offer job posting on their websites.
  • Government websites—the federal government has several job listing sites, and your provincial/territorial government may also have sites with information about work in your community or region. Visit www.workinfonet.ca for links to all federal provincial and territorial government sites.
  • Company websites – some companies post current job openings with detailed information about positions and their requirements.
  • Specialized job posting websites – sites where companies advertise openings with detailed information about positions and their requirements.

Résumés: putting your best foot forward

Your résumé is often the first impression that an employer has of you, so it’s important to have a good résumé.

There is no one right way to write a résumé. What is important is that your résumé express your uniqueness and highlight your skills and competencies.

What do you say - key information to include in your résumé

  • Indicate your career interests and goals.
  • Put your best foot forward by listing your specific experiences and achievements in your field of interest.
  • Include relevant part-time work, summer jobs, internships, self-employment and volunteer experience.
  • Emphasize those activities that relate to your career objective and also show other types of work you’ve done.
  • Indicate other specialized skills that could be useful in cultural management.
  • List your educational achievements, starting with the most recent and working backwards.
  • Demonstrate the range of your interests.
  • Get permission from your references ahead of time to make sure you can give out their names, addresses and phone numbers if requested.

How do you say it - tips for writing a résumé

  • Keep it short – generally no more than 1-2 pages.
  • Ask yourself what qualities the hiring manager is looking for in a job applicant. If you have those qualities, make sure you include them.
  • Make sure that your résumé is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Include information that can help an employer reach you.
  • Provide reference contact information; don’t expect a potential employer to look up the information.
  • Don’t send a photo.

Each job is different - target your résumé

In today’s highly competitive job market, you cannot simply use the same résumé for every position. Think of your résumé as a portrait of yourself—one that you have to re-paint for each position that you apply for. Customize each résumé by tailoring your career objective section to the organization and the position you’re interested in. Then write your résumé in such a way that the information reinforces your objective.

Get the facts - do some research into the organization or company

To help you emphasize skills, experiences and attributes required for the position, do some research. Ask the prospective employer if it is possible to receive a copy of the job description and be sure to cover off as many key points as you can in your résumé. On their website, look at things such as their mandate or mission, their program(s), and the language they use to describe themselves, and then use some of that language in your résumé or cover letter.

Sample cover letter

Sample cover letter

MS Word format

Sample cover letter

Sample cover letter

PDF format

Cover letters: making a great first impression

Almost as much thought needs to go into the cover letter as into your résumé. It is essential to tailor very carefully your cover letter to match the job. Doing so increases the likelihood that a prospective employer will call you for an interview.

Tips for writing a good cover letter

  • Organize your letter – help them see your skills and experience.
  • Present yourself well – a clean and clear document is important
  • Be brief – the cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page.
  • Make sure your letterhead supplies information so you can be reached easily.
  • Address your cover letter to the hiring manager by name, spelled correctly, even if it means a phone call to the organization. Employers are interested in candidates who show initiative.
  • Produce an error-free document.
Professional Development Portfolio Chart

Professional Development Portfolio Chart

MS Word format

Professional Development Portfolio Chart

Professional Development Portfolio Chart

PDF format

Interviews: Closing the deal

If you want to impress your prospective employer, make sure to prepare thoroughly for the interview.

Research, and research some more

The more you know about an employer, the more you will be able to demonstrate your interest and knowledge to the individual or committee doing the hiring. How can you find out about a specific organization or company? Check out its products, visit its web site, and call and ask for brochures and annual reports. Get as much information as you can.

Answer three crucial questions

Why do I want this job?

Think carefully about an organization you’ve targeted and why you would like to work there. When you know the answer, you’ll be able to answer some important interview questions, such as:

  • How did you become interested in this field?
  • Why did you submit your application to our company/organization?
  • What are you general career interests?
  • What do you see yourself doing in five years?

What do I have to offer?

Employers want to know why they should hire you. To find out, they often ask questions that will help them find out who you are:

  • What skills/strengths do you bring to this position?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How will you contribute to our organization?
  • What was your most important job accomplishment?
Interview Tip
Prepare carefully for all interview questions. Based on what you know about the organization, think up possible questions – including ones that are hard for you to answer – and write out answers and practice them on your own with family and friends. If you have a copy of the job description, use it to test yourself for the knowledge, skills and abilities they describe for the job. Remember that many employers will ask some behavioural questions – for example, “how would you handle a situation where …” – and it is important to prepare for those types of questions, too.

What else do I need to know?

One of the final queries you could asked in an interview is: “Is there anything you would like to know about our organization or the job?” It’s a good idea to prepare some questions to ask at the end of your interview. Here are some topics to explore:

  • The company’s goals and challenges.
  • What supervisors look for in employees.
  • On-the-job training or other educational programs.
  • Who you would be reporting to.
  • Number of people you would be working with.

And don’t forget the thank-you note

A thank-you note is a great opportunity to show appreciation and make a good impression. It should include:

  • A statement of thanks for the opportunity to meet the interviewer.
  • A sentence that re-states your interest in the job.
  • A sentence that re-affirms your belief that you’re the right applicant.
  • An offer to provide further information to the organization as necessary.