Attention to Detail
We recently sent out a job listing to identify some top talent in the business development - client acquisition/management role. Our job description was clear that we were not looking for composers or sound designers, but rather solid business professionals.
While we received some highly qualified candidates that we are in the process of contacting, we received a majority of composer and sound designer candidates even though we were clear that was what we were not looking for. While this is not surprising that it happend, what was shocking was the quality of resumes and cover letters we received.
Why is this important and a teachable moment? Well, imagine if we were in fact looking for a composer or sound designer. Any professional composer or sound designer... or any professional for that matter should pay attention to detail. As a working composer you will be inundated with details in order to deliver your music or sounds. This includes technical specs like frame rates, audio tech specs, spotting and timing notes, Director or Producer direction, timelines, deliverables, creative notes, budgets, etc.
If you can't follow the directions of a simple job positing, how can you be expected to deliver professional music or sounds on time, on budget and on target for a million dollar+ project. It says a lot about your quality of work and craft and your ability to deliver.
To make matters worse, many of the resumes and cover letters we received were horrible. Assuming there was even a cover letter. We don't necessarily mean the individuals work history and accomplishments, but the formats, information lay out, lack of experience in what we were looking for or the simply horrible and poor cover letters that went something like, "I am an awesome composer who wants to write music for films. I would love to work for you". This is a real cover letter. No signature, contact information, or any other compelling or interesting information. Combined with a weak resume, this type of candidate is doomed. Further, this person had been educated at a "world renowned" music College. We can assure this person that they will NEVER work as a professional composer or sound designer taking that approach.
In some cases, we received resumes for people who have ZERO experience in our industry let alone what we articulated in our listing. Perhaps we have higher expectations. But this experience is alarming and hopefully not an indication of the music and film industry as a whole.
Taking this experience in, we would like to offer the following advice for aspiring composers and sound designers or any one aspiring to work in this industry.
Pay attention to detail and know exactly what the client is asking for and then deliver
Be professional in EVERYTHING YOU DO! Take the time to ensure what you are delivering is professional and effective. This goes for music and sounds to proposals to resumes and cover letters
If you don't have experience in what you are going after be creative and articulate why you may be a good fit. Tie your experience into how it may be valuable in your new role
If you are going to approach a successful and professional organization for a job, gig, opportunity, etc you better have your stuff in a pile and be able to present yourself effectively and in a compelling manner. Certainly don't send a resume with a crappy cover letter. You are guaranteed to find your resume in the trash.
Know the difference between professional and competent/confident versus arrogant and unprofessional
Work hard at your craft and get better. If your are not, someone else is and thats who we will hire. Your "craft" is not just music composition, but your business, marketing, communication, inter-personal skills and more
Think about how you would like to receive information
If we haven't said it already, BE PROFESSIONAL! This is business that involves multi-million dollar projects and investments with teams of people all working together to deliver a project.
Remember, the entertainment industry is highly competitive. Don't put yourself at a disadvantage by doing things half assed or unprofessional. No one will hire you. Be the best version of yourself. Be someone people want to be around, hire and work with.