Jane Voloboeva: The Theatrics of Search

BA Drama grad performs on executive stage

On any given opening night at Studio Theatre, you will find Jane Voloboeva (‘13 BA, Drama Honours) volunteering at the Timms Centre. But by day, this recent UAlberta Arts grad has a front row seat at the executive board room table. She’s the newest associate at Pekarsky Stein, Western Canada’s leading corporate search and recruitment firm.

How are you going to get a job with that degree?
“Anyone with an Arts degree, especially with a Theatre specialization like mine, can relate to the constant overuse of the question, ” says Voloboeva. “Yet in reality, it is remarkable how useful my theatre background has been in the first few months as an executive recruiter.”

Jane Voloboeva’s top BA Drama degree takeaways:

Effective communication:

I was introduced to this concept standing in a Lamaze-like stance, flailing my arms and yelling into the farthest corner of the room through the top of my head, and I have never forgotten the value of being able to relay one’s ideas and thoughts.

It is also important to know your audience and how you need to alter your method of delivery.  As recruiters, we interact constantly and often are the bridge between candidates and clients. Making those contacts concise as well as engaging increases the likelihood of a repeat interaction.

Understanding the characters:

After four years spent analyzing characters and making meaning of their actions (perhaps when there is none!), theatre graduates emerge from university with a knack for reading people.

As drama students, we often partook in exercises where one particular behavioral trait was exaggerated to the point of mockery and then toned back down to a more everyday level. By way of this exercise, we were trained to notice emotional subtleties. My strong awareness of social situations and body language is extremely useful when assessing a candidate’s fit for a
particular role. Employers put an equal amount of worth on the individual’s ability to fit into their specific corporate culture as they do on their qualifications.

Creative problem resolution:

Theatre majors are no strangers to the art of improvisation so when something goes off-course, we do not see red. We do not shut down mentally. Instead we smile wickedly and continue down the path of the unknown.

The reality of not searching for that ‘one correct answer’ and instead being open-minded and flexible when collaborating with your fellow artists has fostered my ability to think out of the box.

Do what you love. Love what you do:

I found it astonishing that many of my cohorts in other disciplines at the university were complaining about hating their classes. How is it possible to receive good grades let alone spend an entire career doing what you couldn’t even bear for the four years of your undergraduate?

If you are driven by the love of your work, you can create opportunities for yourself.

As William Shakespeare famously stated: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

In my career as an executive recruiter, I have a stage to perform on. I am a search artist. I have a taste for the dramatically different.

Jane Voloboeva is Pekarsky Stein’s newest Associate. Prior to embarking on her journey in the search industry, Jane was involved in the non-profit sector and continues to be an active member of the theatre community in Edmonton through volunteering. You can take the girl out of the theatre but you can’t take the theatre out of the girl.