Five Quick Tips for Getting a Music Industry Gig

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Is music industry job-hunting a waste of time?

The flip side of all of this disruption is that many talented people are out of work, and out of possibilities.  And, a large number have simply gotten ‘real jobs’ outside of their real passions.  But if the Digital Music News Job Board is any indication, some jobs still exist, often from major employers.

That includes positions from Apple, IODA, Universal Music Group, and the Orchard, just to name a few.  But how to impress these companies and get a gig, besides being eminently well-qualified?  Here are five quick tips from the employers themselves.

(1) Research the company well, and customize the application.

HR staffs see lots of generic applications that were obviously mass mailed.  So, research and customize the companies you really want to work for. “When I am reviewing submissions, the candidates who have done their research on our company, understand what we do, and let us know why they care about our industry or are passionate about the opening… are the applicants who typically stick out for me,” Liz Angelucci of INgrooves told Digital Music News.

“Like a hunter, know your target,” Randall Kennedy of Mack Avenue Records added.

(2) And you are? Get a referral.

Cold calling – or blind resume sending – is sometimes the only possibility.  But whenever possible, get an insider to deliver the application.  “That’s how I as a recruiter fill most of our postings,” one hiring executive at Universal Music Group relayed.

(3) It’s an employer’s market.  So be flexible.

In this environment, most employers are flooded with applications, often from very well-qualified candidates.  Superstars can make lots of demands, but others need to consider the extreme competition.  So, those willing to bend on salary, travel, and location stand a better chance.  “Sometimes I can find something in another department or location for the right person, that is, if they are flexible,” another hiring executive relayed.

(4) Know the Industry… of 2010.

Chit-chatting about cassingles and Wham marketing plans is not a recipe for successful interviewing.  Read Digital Music News, develop opinions about the emerging industry, and know the disruptive players and companies.

But what about people with heavy pre-digital experience?  According to one executive, lots of “old school experience” can be a double-edged sword, for obvious reasons.  But those that have the ability to successfully mesh the traditional business with digital distribution and fresh technologies are well-qualified indeed.

(5) Don’t see a post you like?  Make one up.

This plays into the dynamics of how companies generally search for applicants.  After identifying a needed role, managers typically network both inside and outside of the company to find good matches.  Only after those channels are exhausted are listings publicly posted, according to hiring managers interviewed for this article.

That opens an interesting front-end possibility.  Those that research the companies they want to work for can typically spot holes, and suggest positions or possibilities to executives.  This type of insinuation – if done well – can put a candidate first in line if someone quits or if an expansion materializes.  It also shows clear interest in the company.  So, put yourself ‘on file,’ before the masses.