Some of our readers are hoping to get a job in audio production, either in music or post. Wer an this story a couple of years ago and we know that a lot of college tutors and parents found it helpful.
Here is an updated version of the top five things I tell my kids on how to get a great job, stay hired and get promoted.
Be Better Than The Rest
I’ve sifted through hundreds of resumes, letters of application and interviews and I want to let you into a secret about what happens when I advertise for a job. Recently I advertised on an online site for someone to look after my bookkeeping, it was for one day a month and self employed. I placed the ad at 9:00am and by 10:00am I had 172 applications. I managed to sift that down to 4 in less than 30 minutes… and here is how. The job asked for someone local, qualified, experienced and flexible. Over 100 of the applications were not local, this was not a highly paid post and only one day a month, so they went. Secondly, I looked to see of the 100 or so left, how many of them had the qualifications, less than half, so that now had me to about 40. Then I looked at experience, about 10 were now left. Then I read through them to look for the stars, what I mean by stars is candidates who stand out, that left me with 4 people. I phoned all of them for a chat, of course they waxed lyrically about how brilliant they were - they should do, but one told me that she ran a small company helping creatives to do the things they hated doing. In that moment she described me and she got the job! There’s a lot of people looking for a job, especially in a studio or a post house, so you had better look good on paper and better be good when they call.
As a footnote to the bookkeeper hiring story; I hired Cath in 2012 when I first wrote this article, she has been with me ever since and has been an absolute star.
You Can Have Experience Having Never Worked Before
One myth I hear a lot from those looking for their first job is that they need a job to get the experience. Rubbish!
If you want to leave college and expect to get a great job in a studio or post house, then start planning for that the minute you arrive.
Be top of your class, do stuff in your spare time like recording your friends band, or being the runner on an indie movie for a weekend. Write articles for a blog and if you can’t find one, then start your own. Offer to work for free at a local studio, just for the experience. Have a plan to be the most experienced college leaver your potential employer has ever met.
Do Your Research
The first thing I want to know when anyone asks me for a job is what do they know about me, my business, my competitors and my industry. The more they know, the more I’m likely to listen to them tell me about who they are and what they can do.
If you don’t know any of those things then don’t bother turning up for the interview, which leads me to my next point…
Your Letter Is About Competence, Your Interview Is About Chemistry
One huge mistake people who get interviews make, is that they think that the interview is about figuring out if you have the skill and the experience. If you got an interview those questions have already been answered for the interviewer, the interview is all about two things.
Firstly, it is to iron out any questions from the resume. For example if your resume says that you ran Abbey Road Studios and are now looking for the job of tea boy at Slinky Studios in downtown Lost Springs, Wyoming, then you had better have a good answer. There may be a good story, but make sure you are prepared so it doesn’t come across as BS. Secondly, the interview is about chemistry, do they like you and can they trust you? So don’t use an interview to repeat what you said in the letter and resume, use it to answer any questions they have and to show them who you are.
Sometime people don’t get hired simply because the interviewer didn’t like them, they’ll never say that, but it’s the truth.
I’m going to simply make this a list, rather than string it out, so here is how you make yourself indispensable; turn up early, go home late, shut up and listen. Show initiative, solve problems, find solutions. Have great ideas. Clean up the trash, pick up the phones. Make lists, create manuals. Know passwords, fix computers. Learn how to solder, use test equipment. Read the manuals, find cool sites like this. Stay off Facebook and Twitter, turn off your mobile at work. Don’t friend your boss (or their son or daughter) on social networks. Don’t do drugs, don’t drink during work hours, go out with colleagues but don’t end up vomiting on them or in bed with them, or worse both! Don’t get into fights, be friends with everyone, but buddies with few. Learn how to spell. Aim to be the best person the company has on staff (irrelevant of titles, pay or length of service), plan for promotions and don’t stop until you own the company. FINALLY and this is the most important one - share this list with no one in the company!
Summary - Bad Things Can Happen, But You Should Still Strive For Excellence
Now some people will be reading this and be thinking, I did all that but then I got laid off. Yep, bad things happen to all of us, companies go broke, many of my friends have lost jobs. If it’s the whole company, then there is little you can do except make sure you have all this in the bank for your next job. I was laid off when the government pulled funding from our project and we were all out on our ass, but I refuse to let the possibility of bad things happening from stopping me from working hard at being the best I can be… you should do the same.
If you want to have a great job and to get promoted, then follow these tips… if you already have, then send me your resume.