The school’s 2016 job fair was held the last weekend in February and attracted recognizable
names like Cirque du Soleil, Disney Global Entertainment, Disney Cruise Lines, Busch
Gardens and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. It also brings in representatives from dance
companies and opera houses; major lighting, Broadway design and scenic companies;
leaders in the entertainment and special events industries; and even summer camps
from right here in North Carolina. (See the full list of companies in attendance below.)
The weekend starts with a symposium, where guest professionals and students have an
open discussion about entering the job market, followed by portfolio reviews and interview
Upon arriving, each company receives a resume book produced by the School of Design
and Production. The resume book includes a schedule for the weekend along with the
name and resume of each graduating student, organized by concentration. It also includes
an overview of each concentration’s curriculum so employers can get a broad overview
of students’ skill sets.
Both employers and students are also given “dance cards” to schedule appointments
during the allotted interview times with prospective employees and employers, respectively.
Scheduling takes place on Saturday, with lightning style interviews taking up the
bulk of Sunday.
“It’s kind of like speed-dating,” Call Blankinship says. “Each of the appointments
lasts 15 minutes.” The result, she adds, is that students (and employers, for that
matter) have to make every minute count and consider how to best represent who they
Students fill out "dance cards" for interview appointments with prospective employers.
Alumni Turned Employers
Fortunately, many of the interviewers have themselves been in the same exact hot seat.
Of the representatives from each of the 41 companies at the 2016 job fair, almost
half were Design and Production alumni. These interviewers have a unique perspective
on just how beneficial the event can be for graduating students.
Adam Goodrum is a 2005 graduate of the Technical Direction program who works as the Production Manager at Flat Rock Playhouse in Flat Rock, N.C. He knows firsthand the power of the job fair; he got his first job out of college through it. He’s been attending as an employer for eight years.
“I come to the job fair to hire good employees,” he says. Flat Rock does much of its
hiring for summer internships at the fair. “I know what I’m getting at UNCSA. I know
who’s teaching the students and that they are trustworthy and hardworking.”
As a 1997 graduate of the Lighting program, Al Crawford, founder and CEO of Arc3design in New York and lighting designer for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, missed
out on the first Design and Production job fair by one year. But, like Goodrum, he
appreciates the power of the UNCSA network.
“After I graduated, I relied heavily on the network of UNCSA alumni,” he says. “It
was a huge piece during my career transitions and it’s important to all students.”
The job fair, he adds, has in some ways organized that alumni network into “an opportunity
that is incredibly efficient for potential employees and employers.”
by Corrine Luthy