I never thought my previous experiences as a recording and touring musician would somehow inform me in my professional life as an agency recruiter, but it turns out the musician way of networking was onto something. Here are some lessons my creative life has taught me that still ring true for the job search process.
Make It Easy For Someone To Help You
One of the key things I’ve taken away from creative networking is you will stand out if you make another person’s work as easy as possible. If you want someone to listen to your pitch, make sure you have done your research and that what you are offering is filling a need or solving a problem. Make sure your email is succinct, your links are professional, your work is clearly labeled, and you have sent over the best representation of yourself. Not the demo version, but the best version. Believe it or not- the same goes for the world of job hunting! Recruiters dig into search engines and databases to find the right candidates, and believe me, they want that candidate to be you.
When you reach out to someone in charge of filling a job, think about how you can make their life easier. Did you write an essay instead of a resume? Did you clearly label the dates on your job history? Is your resume easy to read and limited to important information? Is your voicemail full? These are all details to consider.
So much of the job hunt comes down to sending an email that is short and sweet, a resume that’s easy to read, and answering your phone.
Do You Know Someone, Who Knows Someone, Who Knows Someone?
Talk to any musician that has traveled the country, and you will hear a story about how a friend of a friend saved the day with shelter, food, and a place to play. Sometimes, we need to ask for help, and that can be tough for our egos. If you ask with humility and without expectation, many times, people are happy to help.
On LinkedIn, you can see the degree to which you are connected to someone. Check out a job opening and see who in your professional network works for that company. Reach out to your connections if you see someone who works for a company of interest. See if they would be open to a quick 15-minute Zoom conversation. Ask them about how they like their job, and see if they have tips for applying or if there is someone they can connect you with at the company. Setting a quick time limit like 15-20 minutes shows that you respect and value their time, and being able to communicate face to face, even on a screen, allows for a personal element that will only benefit your job search.
Get Creative With Your Skillset
While Michael Jackson dabbled in a few instruments, he had no formal composition training and never learned to read or write music. Instead, he built every element of his songs with his voice. He was known for visualizing every part of the song in his head before ever entering the studio, so by the time a session guitar player came into the room, he could recite every note of every chord to that player. It turns out, Michael Jackson didn’t even have to play the guitar to write an incredible guitar part, but he was incredibly proficient with his voice and understood how to communicate his ideas and translate the sound he wanted to any medium.
If you are one of the many people considering a career shift in this pandemic, take an inventory of the work you’ve accomplished and the skills that you have built. What work have you enjoyed the most or had the most recognition? What has brought you the most fulfillment? Are you great at making massive events run smoothly? Do you have a familiarity with contracts and an understanding of tiny details? Are you a pro at remaining calm under pressure? What about building relationships with strangers?
Start building conversations and relationships with people in different professions and compare that information with your skill inventory. You may be surprised to discover things you’re already qualified to do. After that, it all boils down to how you connect and communicate your potential with others.