I was 15 years old when I decided to pursue a career in the music industry. I did not have any connections at the time and I was not your typical teenager who wanted to sing on stages (although I did want to be a Spice Girl for a short period in my life, but then again, who didn’t?).
My desire was to learn about the business — the producers, musicians, and label executives who were responsible for my favorite hits. I began reading the insert booklets that came with CDs, watching music documentaries, and inhaling every magazine article I could get my hands on. During these years, social media was just on the cusp of notoriety so if you wanted to learn about someone you had to dig four or five Google pages deep in your search before you found a crumbled photograph with a two sentence caption about them discovering your favorite artist. As social media began to rise, I combined my efforts of traditional research with the new age methods. Slowly my mental Rolodex of people, projects, and resources began to form.
In 2012, I was in college scrolling on Twitter and came across a digital issue of an industry magazine. As I continued to read, I saw a feature story about a powerhouse music executive. She was a former Sony Music VP and the current CEO of a marketing and promotions firm. The article boasted of her company and the 34 award nominations her clients received in one year – thirty-four. Yet, to my surprise, I had never heard of her.
I immediately combed the internet, looking for more details and found very limited information before turning to the king of social media platforms: Facebook. By this time, I was so accustomed to reading about the industry that I did not even mind delving into her personal life. I always heard that most successful business people are willing to share advice, so I took a shot and sent her a Facebook Message.
About a week later she replied: "Email me".
That was it, but I ran with it. Two months later, I was a full-time marketing assistant in her company that didn't advertise they were hiring. How did I go from a Facebook message to my own office? Keep reading.
Research shows that the average person will spend five years and four months of their life on social media. This translates to 116 minutes every day that we spend scrolling through our news feeds. Why not use some of that time to land a new job? Here are a few tips that can help:
Research The Field
In addition to researching, I also interned and volunteered at industry events. Not only was I able to put that experience on my resume, but I started to interact with the very same people I read about as a teenager. Because I consumed so much content over the years, I was able to express that I was a fan of their work without acting like a “fan girl”. When I came across people I never heard of, I researched their projects, the record labels they worked at or the era they worked during, and my mental Rolodex was able to build a connection.
The more you know, the smaller the field gets and it is very important to learn the jargon associated with your field of interest. Subscribe to the newsletters, sit in on the webinars, and follow those people who you may be one tweet away from “coincidentally” running into at an industry sensitive event.
Be Genuine – Don’t Come Empty Handed
Have you ever hosted a party where everyone was supposed to bring something and that one person who shows empty handed still reaches for a plate? That’s exactly how others feel when you ask them for a job without considering who they are and expressing how you can add value. When I first contacted my future boss, I did not ask her for a job, I asked her for advice. I introduced myself and waited patiently for her to reply, accepting that she may never answer back. When all she told me to email her, I still crafted my email with consideration for who she was. Once we moved past the casualties, she offered me a phone interview and I immediately accepted. It is important to understand that your talents can add value to others, so don’t show up without bringing something to the party.
Go For It
NHL Hall of Famer, Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take”. Once you have researched and understand your value, do not be afraid to move from admiration to execution. Put yourself out there! Make that introduction, send that email, and pitch yourself. Do not be afraid to take your shot.
With all the technological advances, your dream job is literally at your fingertips. Whether you desire to freelance or land a position in a corporate office, know that you can do anything with a little faith and some Wi-fi.