During my travels I tend to run into two types of folks:
1. Gig hunters - These are primarily artists, freelancers and other creative types who are looking for short term opportunities to display their skills.
2. Job hunters - These are the ones (who typically ID as an arts administrator or artist/administrator) who want full time employment. They are either are looking for a job or want to switch jobs and work someplace else.
I want to talk to the job hunters for a second.
First, there is no shame in wanting stable, full time employment. I know a lot of folks are preaching the "opportunity is yours/funemployment/start your own business" thing but not everyone is built for the lifestyle that comes with being self employed.
With that said, it's important to understand that the traditional job hunting process (online application, send in resume, interview, etc.) is designed to put almost all the leverage and power in the hands of the employer.
This is true during a "good" economy and it is especially true during a "bad" one.
Sidenote: I completely understand why the employers want that power. If you're the person trying to sort through hundreds (thousands!) of applications for one position then you need to be a bit ruthless.
If you're job hunting your first (and only) task is to break the traditional process. If you don't then you're just like the woman walking into the casino and getting comfy with a slot machine . . . you are relying on luck . . . and I assume you want more then luck on your side.
You break the traditional process with one of the following hammers:
1. Your connections - If you have done great work in the past there should be people willing to stand up and testify about that work. If you don't have people willing to testify then you haven't done great work.
And if you haven't done great work why should anyone hire you?
2. Your platform - Google your name. What comes up? If the answer is "nothing" or more likely a worthless Facebook/LinkedIn page, we have a bit of a problem. If you want to remove yourself from the cattle call hiring process then there HAS to be a place where I can see examples of your work, or at least get a sense of your point of view about various career topics.
If you want to get into fundraising (for example) then I should be able to see examples of great fundraising proposal you have written OR examples of great fundraising proposal you would make if given the chance OR your point of view about the future of fundraising.
If you don't have those things then an employer can easily (and fairly) assume that you have nothing to say about these things . . .
Which makes you just like everyone else, just another person looking for work . . .
Which lands you in the cattle line . . .
Which makes you just like the lady at the slots hoping she catches three cherries.
Here's what you have to remember.
People can lie on a resume.
People can fake an interview.
Employers know this, that's why very few jobs worth having are filled just because of a resume and an interview.
But the work speaks for itself.
Everything changes when you can send in a resume AND the names of three respected people willing to rave about you on demand.
Everything changes when you can direct an employer to a website or blog filled with your thoughts about the industry.
Now you're not just someone who needs a job. You're someone who can do great work and now just wants to do it for Employer X.