How to enter the music business after college

Shayla Hernandez, Contributing Writer

We’ve all thought about our futures. However, this inevitable reality of growing up has mostly been stored in the back of our minds, collecting dust until we are ready to cross that bridge. The burden of picking a career amid the struggle of adulthood always was something to worry about later on. Until now.

Music, sound recording and music industry majors at the University of New Haven, this piece is for you (though other majors might gain from it). We’re all in the same boat, trying to make a name for ourselves. It can be difficult and discouraging to make strides in our field since it is one of the most competitive fields of study. Many of us, though, have had this dream of what our futures would look like for a long time. Here are a few crucial pieces of advice.

Work on your current experience, or work on getting experience
Experience is key toward achieving your goals. As a person striving to make a name for yourself in the industry, you need to become comfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone. This requires gaining exposure while also honing in on your music skills. This may include gigging, posting covers on social media or collaborating with other producers and creatives; the options are endless. The more experienced you are, the more well-rounded you’ll become.

Put together a resume
Along with gaining experience in your field, be mindful to keep track of it all. This includes jobs, volunteer opportunities, internships and any extracurricular activities you’ve taken part in. Doubt might settle in when comparing your experience to that of your peers’. It can also be incredibly discouraging to submit a resume you’re proud of and not receive a response from a potential employer. Nevertheless, continue to be proud of all that you’ve accomplished along the way and be your biggest advocate. You’re putting in the effort to build a career of your own. If you’re looking to spice up the exterior appearance of your resume, try Canva. It’s free, easy and contains thousands of templates from which to choose.

Make yourself versatile
Be a jack of all trades. The more you do, the more valuable you are. I’m a singer/songwriter at heart, but I became interested in social media marketing and music journalism. Additional hobbies expand your capability. Essentially, you are able to create more opportunities for yourself and potentially sustain longevity in the music business.

Network, network, network!
Connecting with like-minded individuals in your field can work in your favor when getting your foot in the door. They make for great contacts for collaboration, potential work partners and friends. As nerve-racking as it may be, it’s as simple as getting to know students who share the same major as you, or introducing yourself to others at an event. However, you should never solely seek benefits from a person. A brief introductory sentence of who you are and what you do can be the key component in getting acquainted with gatekeepers of your chosen industry.

Take advantage of campus resources
The university offers different resources, organizations and staff members to answer any professional inquiries. Ask for advice from your music professors, attend a Music Industry Club meeting, perform in school events or participate in Rein Records. It’s a matter of taking the initiative and seeking out the guidance you need. The contacts you make in school can make your post-graduation networking journey much easier. Make sure to check out the university’s Career Development Center to inquire about one-on-one resume workshops.

The future can be nerve-wracking. Alternatively, embracing the realm of the unknown is what makes the journey exciting. If you can take anything away from this list, continue to manifest your future goals and aspire to be a well-rounded, innovative member of the music industry.