Happy World Theatre day.

I am a theatre and film grad and have taught acting for over 20 years. Moving into job search strategy didn’t feel like that much of a stretch because there are common elements to both.

They are both about communicating a message to an audience, exploring the motives and actions of a character and using action to move the plot forward.

Here are three theatre conventions that you can use to enhance your job search.


When an actor is working on their lines a popular ask from the director is to “find the action.” That doesn’t mean the action of the play, but the action behind every line.

Every line in a play, and in real life has action behind it. We can say “hello” and the action can be welcoming, or we can say “hello” and be threatening. It depends on who is saying it and the situation.

When you are networking, pay attention to the action behind what you are saying, and what you want to be saying.  Are you saying it to convince or connect? How does your tone need to change to make that happen?

Pay attention to the action behind your words, especially in the elevator speech. If the entire monologue is just explaining, it can bore the listener. You want to break it down line-by-line to make it interesting. Like this:

I’m Kerri Twigg (introducing) I help people use their stories to land ideal work (explaining). I do my best work with clients who are looking for a change but struggling to land interviews or job offers (explaining). Clients land jobs that not only pay better but are great fits for them, I am happiest when I help to make this happen (inspiring). How did you land your job? (connecting)

It takes time to work this out. It is worth it and makes you interesting and memorable.

Uta Hagen’s Three Minute Exercise.

This is a classic exercise when studying acting. It is useful to slow down and focus on the actual work you do on a regular basis. Often in job search, you forget the details of how you work. It becomes an issue in the interview when you speak about your work generically, instead of in specifics. This exercise helps you to see what to do. It slows it down so you can explain it in better detail on your resume and in job interviews.

If you are unemployed, think back to some tasks you did on a daily basis and try to recreate them.

  1. Select a three-minute activity. Be mindful of a task you do daily that takes about three minutes.  As you do the activity, take note of specifically what you do. For example, if every day I walked into my office, grabbed my checklist and reviewed my day, that would be my three minutes.
  2. Pay attention to the step-by-step action of the task.
  3. Re-enact it in your workplace a second time. Noting everything that you do.
  4. Re-enact that activity at home.
  5. Write down step-by-step every action you did and the intention behind it.
  6. Craft a bullet point about that action to use on your resume or in interviews.

Consider the Audience

The audience is considered in Theatre. The actors, director, playwright, set designers, etc, all think about the audience’s experience.  It is easy to think only of your skills and your job desires, but it can result in a slower search. Having a clear objective is great. It gives you clarity and a target. But then consider your audience and their experience with you.

Here are some questions to consider when thinking of your audience (which will be recruiters, hiring managers, HR)

  • Can they quickly tell how I would be a good fit based on my resume?
  • Do I present the most relevant material clearly for them to understand?
  • How do I want them to feel after interacting with me?
  • What is their biggest problem and how can I best present myself to show them I can help?
  • What is their favorite method of being approached?
  • Do I leave a memorable impression? How could I improve that?
  • Am I paying attention to their preferred communication style?

Play around with these three theatre tricks to add good drama to your search.

Kerri Twigg

Career Coach | Mindfulness and Stories Training for Career Contentment

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