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Moments Omitted from my LinkedIn: A Cover Letter

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<ul>Sophie Penkethman-Young</ul>


<ul>04xx xxx xxx</ul>




I wish to apply for the position of XXXXXX  XXXXX at XXXXX XXX. Over the last decade I have dedicated my career to the support of new and emerging artistic practice. I have studied and worked in academic, institutional, governance and curatorial contexts as well as in my own art practice, and I possess a rigorous commitment to building relationships with audiences and artists alike. I would enjoy bringing my experience and passion to XXXXX XXX. Please find my experience below using a slightly deviated version of the S.T.A.R (Situation Task Action Result) method to show personality.

During my time in the sector I have worked in a variety of roles that have taught me the importance of centering artist care, within and outside of institutional contexts. Most notably of these was as a Santa Photographer for XXXX in Belconnen, Canberra. In my role as Santa Photographer (AKA Santa’s Helper/Elf) I worked in close collaboration with the externally contracted artists (Santas) who would be performing long durational works to a variety of audiences (children). I would vet each participating audience member with a brief pre-interview and then feed this information on to Santa. This project truly taught me the importance of having strong attention to detail as each Santa’s ability to engage with the child was directly impacted by my proficiency in extracting information quickly and passing it on seemlessly.  

The needs of the Santas would often be at odds with the needs of the audience, which required me to work in an agile manner to balance the competing priorities of the multifaceted piece. I prided myself on understanding the needs of the Santas in this role, and could quickly anticipate which Santas were more likely to need a cooling fan close by and which Santas needed regular bathroom breaks (my mum once mentioned that the latter of these Santa’s use to be a well known weed dealer, so I also made allowances for that, I’m sure they’ll get the idea from the term bathroom breaks).

During these Santa breaks I would augment programming for the audience, including performing product demonstrations which added to visitor engagement and audience experience, and also aligned with wider commercial goals. This role taught me the importance of balancing audience and artist expectations and working in a fast paced environment with competing priorities.

My interest in family programming continued throughout my career, later taking on the role of DJ at XXX XXXX, Sydney. XXX XXXX as a multidisciplinary, immersive, experiential design centre, which featured wall to wall trampolines, inviting viewers to engage in improvised collective movement. As a DJ at XXX XXXX my job was to elevate this experience on weekend evenings (from 6-10pm), through the curation of live mixed music. In order to best succeed within this role I developed a methodology of playing three early 2000’s hip hop party tracks such as ‘Get Low’ to every one remix of a movie or television theme song. This approach led me to discover that the most effective audience connection could be established at the intersection of these two programmatic themes, for example the ‘Men in Black’ theme song mixed with Outkast's ‘Ms. Jackson’ would have nostalgia for parents and a novelty jumping beat for children. My experience in this role taught me the importance of creativity in devising public programs and activities to meet the needs and interests of visitors. It also taught me that DJing sober sucks.

In my career I have been lucky enough to work in both the performing and visual arts. During my brief tenure as Visual Merchandiser at organic food store XXXXX XXXX, Bondi (now defunct) I worked with the wider service team to deliver  cohesive and engaging brand experiences to viewers. My duties included stacking shelves and finding produce reaching its use by dates, and arranging it into enticing displays at key traffic points. I would work with the inhouse technology to print signs to fit within the brand guidelines and offer assistance to the public with their organic food concerns. In carrying out these duties I exhibited outstanding organisational skills and a good working knowledge of  Adobe Suite. Unfortunately my time at XXXXX XXXX was cut short due to over extension of the business and a series of layoffs due to a strategic pivot (bankruptcy), however this brief role taught me the importance of visual communication and wage theft and unionisation.

In addition to these roles I have worked both within and outside institutions, in a freelance and contracted capacity, however the messiness of how we make money is slightly unseemly, and it is better to just list a few roles than expose your underbelly of side jobs, cash in hand moments and confidence shattering dismissals.

Instead I’ll finish with yet another line taken directly from the job description saying something like:

My experience as outlined above has shown me the importance of being collaborative and versatile when delivering quality and meaningful work,  demonstrating my suitability for the role of  XXXXXX  XXXXX at XXXXX XXX.

And humbly thank them for their time.

Thank you for considering my application.

Sophie Penkethman-Young