Being a fantastic Dance Teacher is useless without a place to share your gift and talent with others. In order to get great dance teaching jobs, you need to know how to make a great first impression, and interview well. So many times, dance teachers miss out on great teaching opportunities because they miss the mark early on in the recruiting process. Don’t let that happen to you! Check out the five steps below to ensure that you get your foot in the door, and get the opportunity to share your creative skills and abilities with some new dance students.
The Top 5 Secrets Every Dance Teacher Should Know To Get Hired:
1) Always Present Your Best, Professional Self.
This includes a number of things. Here’s a list for you:
a) Be Reliable. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you’re going to call or send an e-mail, or whatever, follow through.
b) Be Early. If you say you’re going to be there at 2 pm, get there by 1:45 pm. It’s better to always plan to be early because that way, worst case scenario, you’ll simply end up being on time.
c) Be Yourself…but dress appropriately for the occassion. If you’re going in for strictly an interview, I would recommend dressing business casual. If you’re going in to teach a demo class, wear clean, professional-looking dance attire, that’s appropriate for the class you’re about to teach. If it’s a Hip-Hop class, you should definitely express your personal style and personality in your dance clothing. For technique classes like Jazz or Modern, I recommend wearing clothes that are form-fitting like leotards, yoga pants, jazz pants, etc. You should steer away from baggy sweats and t-shirts for these types of classes, especially during the hiring process.
d) Do not use sexually-suggestive music or music with inappropriate language when teaching a demo or guest class (or in your regular classes either, for that matter.). This can obviously be a huge turn-off to a potential dance studio owner employer, even if the kids love the music.
e) Approach the topic of salary and benefits at the right time, and with the right tone. Don’t be pushy or overly obsessive about the pay rate too early on. That should be one of the last conversations that you have with a potential dance studio employer, at the time that they make the job offer to you.
f) Be upbeat and positive. Be sure to keep your personal life, personal. Have a bad day, or a crazy commute? Have an argument with your significant other? Have a headache? Keep it to yourself. Focus your energy on the positive, and bring that positive energy into your interview, and into the dance studio.
2) Give Employers Exactly What They Ask For.
Follow directions. When I was recruiting teachers for my company, and constantly conducting phone interviews, in-person interviews, and pre-screening for our clients, I had to constantly weed out the candidates who didn’t fit the bill right off the bat. One way I did this was by making very specific requests from potential candidates, then simply weeding out the ones who didn’t follow our directions. For example, we typically requested that interested candidates e-mail us a headshot, resume, bio, and two references.
Now, in some cases we would e-mail those who didn’t send us all of the requested information upfront, but for the most part, if they couldn’t follow directions this early on, then we knew that they probably weren’t going to be a good fit for our company. So, it’s very important to follow directions, because something this simple, can cost you a job that you really want.
3) Go Above and Beyond The Call of Duty.
Bring hard copies of your headshot, resume, and references (with their contact numbers and e-mail addresses), and a dvd of your demo reel if you have one. Are just coming in for an interview? Bring your dance clothes with you, along with some music, and be ready to dance or teach, if asked. Offer answers to questions that the employer may not even ask. For example, share what your personal mission, purpose, and values are as a dancer and dance teacher. Explain why you teach dance, and how you connect with your students and help them to grow as dancers, and as people. Go the extra mile, make a lasting impression.
4) Always Follow Up After An Interview, Just To Say Thank You.
A thank you e-mail or card is always well-received, and can really establish a unique connection with a potential employer, because, chances are, most people aren’t going to do this. It’s just your way of saying, “I appreciate you taking the time to interview me, I enjoyed meeting you, and I hope to have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to your organization in the near future.” Doesn’t that sound nice? Even if you don’t get the job that you applied for, you never know what opportunities may arise down the line. It’s always great to make a memorable first impression, and leave your potential employer feeling very positive about their interaction with you. Believe me, this is something that will always stick in their minds.
5) Do your research.
Google is your friend! Check out the information that’s online about your employer’s organization or dance studio. Have they won any awards? Have they gotten news coverage? Anything exciting happen lately? Every employer loves to hear things from YOU about their business. It shows that you’ve taken the time to get to know more about them, and shows that you really have a vested interest in working for their company. Additionally, the more you know about the dance studio, school, or arts organization, the better questions you can ask during your interview. Remember, the interview process isn’t just for the employer to get to know you. It’s also for you to get to know them, learn more about the culture of their organization, and get a feel for what it might be like to work for this person.
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