The number of young adults graduating with music technology degrees is constantly increasing worldwide. In an already competitive industry, securing industry experience has never been more challenging than now. Do not fear, though! This guide will give you some essential direction in securing a job or industry experience in the world of audio post-production. As a current intern at 344 audio, I will offer my experience in hunting for placements and share some tips that I have found especially useful along the way.
If you're a music technology student looking for placement in the next academic year, it's never too early to start looking. I started hunting for companies in January, hoping to start in September. It is crucial to establish what kind of work you want to do and if it relates to your course. In this industry, though, you may not be able to be as picky as you'd like. I was fortunate enough to secure a placement in Sound Design, but I applied for many different positions across the audio world. Everything from radio to live sound to working in a recording studio. Applying for a range of roles gives you a greater chance to find work. However, if you start the search early, you should be able to develop an extensive list of companies that you'd enjoy working with. I started looking for companies in the South of the UK, where I lived and worked up the country. For me, the easiest way to find said companies was to begin in google maps and search for 'sound design'. This gave me a pretty large number of companies that I could take a note of so I could look through their websites later. Find as many businesses in areas you feel comfortable working in and form a list. I liked to use a colour coding system in the list, so I knew which companies said no, which companies I was awaiting a response from, and which ones were currently interested in me.
Once you've found a list of relevant companies, it's time to make sure you're prepared before contacting them. I found that a lot of companies asked me for a 'showreel'. This could be any University/College tasks that you have completed as well as other work that you have completed outside of your studies. It's essential to include anything relevant in your showreel from outside your studies as this shows genuine interest and passion for the company's line of work. If you include work you had to do for your course, many people reading your emails won't find you interesting enough and may not even respond to you. I presented my showreel as a list of private youtube links inside a playlist. Rather than embedding multiple videos in every email I sent, I could copy a link into the text and have everything in one place. This saved me time and made my email much more concise as I could include a description of my work in the youtube videos, rather than having them in the email. The other thing that is essential to include in your CV. I would write your CV and then export it as a .pdf to ensure that all can read it. It would also be great to include a link to your LinkedIn account. This will show your seriousness in finding work. Taking the time to build a strong LinkedIn profile can only help your chances to succeed! Finally, make sure you have spent some time looking at the company's website to watch/listen to some of their previous work. It will be handly to include something personal in your email; otherwise, you'll be sending the same email repeatedly, and people will spot this. Recycling the same email is a big no-no. Sure, you should have a similar structure each time, but the studios you'll be applying for will most likely receive similar emails every day, so you need to make yours stand out.
So, what should be included in your email?
First of all, DO NOT start your email with ' Dear Sir/Madame'. This makes your email very generic and may show the receiver that you haven't taken the time to research the business. Use their name (if it's evident in their email address), or use the company name. Make sure you spell the name correctly! In my email, I found it helpful to show genuine interest in the business, so it may help to include a friendly message before talking about yourself. Then you'll need to make the purpose of your email clear and give a brief explanation of your current position (e.g. 2nd-year student at University). After that, you mustn't just demand what you want to gain from their company. How are you going to help them? The internship needs to be mutually beneficial. Make sure that you positively comment on any work that the company has provided on their website. This will show that you've taken time to explore their social media/website and will show genuine interest. Another tip would be to make sure that you don't exaggerate any skills that you have. Just be honest. This will save both your and their time. Finally, after you've pasted any links for your portfolio and uploaded your CV, you can let them know that you're looking forward to hearing from them and leave it there.
It may be appropriate to send a 'follow up' email a few days later, but avoid using the words 'follow up'. You don't want to send these emails too early, but don't leave it too late either. I stuck to around 3-5 working days. When I sent these emails, they were very short and to the point. It may also help to copy the original email, so the recipient doesn't have to scroll back through their emails to find yours. Let them know that you're happy to discuss your CV further or answer any questions they have over the phone. If they still don't respond, then it's probably best to leave it. There will be lots of companies that don't respond, but it's important not to let that lower your spirits. Just move on to the next opportunity!
I hope this helped anyone who is looking to kickstart their career in the audio industry!
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
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