Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Industry Resume Blunder (And What to Include Instead)

Music business resumes can be daunting to put together, especially if you're new to the music industry and are assembling one to try to get an internship or entry-level job behind the scenes.

If you want a behind the scenes job in the music industry, or any creative industry for that matter, you must remember one very important thing:

You must actually want to work behind the scenes. (You'd be amazed at how many people forget that part.)

Your resume must demonstrate that. Here's why:

If you want to promote your own music career, working for another musician probably isn't going to get you there. You'll be too busy trying to move your own career ahead to do a great job on the tasks that can move your boss's career ahead, and vice-versa.

If you want to be famous, you more than likely won't cut it at all.  

That would be kind of like working for the royal family and thinking that by doing so, you could become a king or queen yourself. Ain't gonna happen, my friend. Not in today's music industry, and especially not on someone else's dime.

As the saying goes, "it ain't about you."

I'm writing about this because more and more, when I review internship applications I see resumes highlighting the person's musical abilities rather than skills they can bring to the tasks at hand. I also meet and get emails from people who think they want to work behind the scenes and ask for advice how to get in, but after a question or two it's clear they really just want to be famous themselves.

That's not what an employer wants.

Approaching a job with that mindset also isn't healthy for you.
Your employer is not going to hear you sing.

If, on the other hand, you're the kind of person who really likes to know--and can handle the realities of--what goes on behind proverbial circus tent, you might have a shot.

You must also enjoy dealing with all that goes into pulling the rabbit out of the hat to make the magic happen*. In a pinch, you might even have to help do some of the hoisting or make a run for carrots when that bunny doesn't want to budge (though if you're good at your job, you already have those carrots in your back pocket just in case).

I love all that stuff. The first time I was backstage at a big show, I found all that frenetic activity far more fascinating than anything my own band was doing. I quit my band the next week and never looked back.

More importantly, until years later when I actually had to do a bio, I didn't include my musical experience in my resume. Instead, I highlighted the fact that I'd managed our band.

Consider that your test if you want to work behind the scenes: do you freak out at the thought of not including your musical experience in your resume? Are you OK with it if the subject never comes up?

Think about it very carefully before you apply for a job behind the scenes in the entertainment industry.

There was a time when an aspiring musician could use a behind-the-scenes job as an entry to his or her own career. With the shrinking of the music industry, those days are over.

No more reality show contestant wannabes working behind the scenes, please. Just people who can deal with reality!**

*No bunnies were harmed in the writing of this post, or at any time during my career. (It's a metaphor, people.) Although there was a guy who ate live crickets onstage...

**No, I'm not hiring. I'm speaking in general terms.