Traits of an Extraordinary Applicant

This week, I have been working on a search committee for a local organization.   Being on the hiring side has made me think about how to make our students more desirable as job applicants.  As I read through the criteria and the applications for this job opening, I think about the many qualities we are looking for that are beyond musicianship.  There is the personal skills requirement.  How will the candidate manage time, complex projects, and stress?  Can he or she collaborate as a team player, follow directions, and accept critique?   Equally important is communication skills.  Representing the program to the public at large.  Articulating a problem or a potential solution.  Building consensus. While most colleges and universities provide resources for the most motivated students, the rest of the student body remains blissfully unaware of how crucial these skills factor into an application process.   How might we, as teachers who know our students intimately through one-on-one lesson time, be able to orientate our students?  We have regular access to them.  We are in the unique role of a mentor.  Sometimes we are the only people they confide in.  Could a private lesson syllabus take these “extra-musical” skills into account?  Could our grading policies simulate the breadth of expectations in the real world, and challenge our students in their career development?

©Hsing-ay Hsu 2016