Getting in the door by Chris Parker

Hi! I’m Chris. I’m a Herts Music Tech grad, now working as a touring sound engineer. After I graduated, I found myself in the usual predicament of finding a job, which can be a daunting task. While I work in the live music industry, I think some advice holds relevance no matter what industry you’re in: so here are a few pieces of advice I’d offer.

Do what you love and love what you do
When it comes to finding a job, I think finding a career you enjoy is equally (or more) important as finding a job itself. Uni is a great space to find exactly which parts of your industry you’re interested in, but maybe you need a little more time and exploration. Consider going freelance or part time to allow you to set your own hours, offering you a little more time to discover how and what you want your career to be. Freelancing can offer you a world of growth, and if you decide you want to go full time then it’s quite likely that one of your clients will have a full time role for you.

Research your industry
Find out which companies are in your area. Start small. Tell yourself that you’re going to learn something new every day, maybe open up your laptop when you’re watching TV at night and dig in. Sometimes, jobs won’t be advertised so find somewhere you think might be great to work and put out some feelers. Look on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. While you’re there, don’t be shy to drop a friendly DM to ask for pointers directly from someone who is doing the job you want to be doing.

Own mistakes, but be courteous
Keep your head up if it seems like things might not be going right. I once overslept for a morning interview because I was operating sound for The Cheeky Girls at the Forum until 03.00 the night before. I called in at their offices as soon as I could with a box of apology Krispy Kremes, and it resulted in a bunch of freelance work.

Think outside the box
Shadowing, volunteering, industry meetups; casting your net as wide as possible is so important. The moments where I pushed myself out of my comfort zone have really stuck with me - like walking up to the sound engineer at the end of a gig and getting chatting. Those steps outside of your comfort zone will set you up for life. You never realise how much it can increase the opportunities that come your way, just from walking up to people, saying hi and asking questions.

Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom of the ladder
The reality is that most companies are unlikely to employ a recent graduate straight into a mid or high-level job. It takes time to earn company trust. After my MSc graduation I worked part time in a production warehouse, but within 6 months I was on the road touring. Stay positive and use what you’ve learnt during your studies to work your way up that ladder.

Want to know more about my story? You can findout more about me here.


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