Unusual Approaches to Land Audio Engineering Jobs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by anthonylnavarro, Jun 25, 2014.


How did you get your audio engineering job?

  1. Interned first

    0 vote(s)
  2. Personal Connection

    1 vote(s)
  3. Applied traditionally

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. anthonylnavarro

    anthonylnavarro Active Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    Home Page:
    Horrible job search techniques are one of several mistakes people make in trying to get an audio job. Not having a proper system in place to actively seek your dream job will yield you no results and waste your precious time.

    The “Shotgun Approach” is what most amateur audio engineers do to try and find audio jobs. They send out their resume dozens of times to jobs that looked interesting with no rhyme or reason. Often, we use the logic, “something has to stick, right?” Wrong!

    The other common approach is just as ineffective -- The “Wait and See Approach.” We send out a resume --wait...wait some more, feel terrible, and get demotivated. And then, do it again!

    The right way to do it, the way top performers land audio gigs, is to get laser focused and specifically pick 1 job title and 3 companies you’d like to work for. Then work backwards to get to know people at these companies and get the inside scoop on if the job is right for you. This is called “Natural Networking.”

    For example, here’s how you do this technique:

    Step 1) Pick a job title- “recording engineer, dialogue editor, etc..”

    Step 2) Pick 3 companies you want to work for- “Ocean Studio, Cartoon Network, Skywalker Sound”

    Step 3) Use social media or company websites to find current or previous employees that work at the company and get their contact info. (use linkedin, facebook, twitter, etc. and search for people that work at “company”) Look for people that have the job title you want or better yet, the higher level people (managers, hiring agents, presidents)

    Step 4) Send them a quick 3-4 sentence email introducing yourself and asking for a meeting. Tell them you’re interested in the company and are conducting research for jobs. Get a 15 minute coffee meeting and just talk about them and the companies “needs” for the position you’re interested in.

    Most people are going to respond. Some aren’t. But that’s okay. If you send 10 of these messages a week, you’ll get between 5-7 responses. Remember that people love helping other people. But most people never ask. And asking is the best way to get your dream audio job.

    By the way, most people are busy and may not meet, so emailing back and forth or a quick phone call is okay too. Just make it easy for the other person, and never intrude on their time.

    Some questions to ask in your natural networking interviews in your meetings:

    1. What skill set is required in the job?
    2. How did you get your start in the company?
    3. How do you like your position?
    4. What’s one thing you wish you’d known before you got started?
    5. What are the companies greatest challenges?
    This is the insider info that top performers obtain and use to their advantage.

    Imagine, you were able to get this data from a current worker of the company on your list. And you tailor your resume based on what you’ve learned the company needs. And even if you don’t have the experience, companies hire people they know and trust. You’ve just met with somebody from the company, and as long as you didn’t act like a weirdo, you should be able to get connected directly with an interview.

    This is how top performers get audio gigs. You may have heard that you have to go out and network. But it’s not going to a sleazy event and talking to people that want the same thing you do: a job. It’s a more natural approach. And getting specific on what you want.

    The audio jobs aren’t really advertised on the web or on job boards because the smart audio engineers are snagging them up before the companies can post these jobs.

    It can be intimidating at first when you do this. But don’t let fear get the best of you.

    You deserve a better quality of life, and you deserve your dream audio engineering job.

    If you’re shy like I was in the beginning of my career, I suggest reading How To Win Friends And Influence People. This book helped me overcome networking anxiety, helped me communicate better, and got me more friends.

    So if you're sick of what you're doing now, and want your dream audio job, then follow these guidelines to get you what you deserve.

    Action Steps:

    1. Pick a job title
    2. Pick the top 3 companies you want to work at
    3. Find people at the company using social media to meet them, ask questions, and make friends
    4. Ask for the job

    What are your successes? Did you do these techniques and face any challenges? Comment below and share your story with us! Share this post if you like it and think it could help your friends. Give first, get later! Stay awesome!

    P.S. If this helped you and want more tips and tactics, sign up for my free newsletter at http://bit.ly/audiojobs
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    None of the above.

    Like so many, we started out on our own. I was the guy who liked twisting knobs.
    I created my business through necessity. I am a musician who wanted to record my own demo's. As time evolved, so did my skills and list of clients. I helped people and before I knew it, I was not only playing live in clubs, I was also recording and producing music. The internship was being a musician.
    anthonylnavarro likes this.
  3. anthonylnavarro

    anthonylnavarro Active Member

    Jul 11, 2013
    Home Page:
    Rock on! I think it's great to be a musician and a fan of music first before becoming an audio engineer.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    In my personal experience, the best audio engineers I've worked with over the years were dedicated and talented musicians first.

    Anyone can be taught how to route signal from point A to point B. But knowing how it should sound, how it should sit in the mix, are things that a musician generally knows better than those who have little-to-no musical background. I'm sure there are those rare exceptions, but by and large, this is the case.

    Flame suit now engaged.
  5. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Vashon Island, Washington
    Home Page:
    My path was identical to Chris (audiokid)... I was the guy in the band that was always interested in the technical things. I was the one who spent time working the 1/4" reel-to-reel, bouncing tracks back and forth to layer harmonies. Later, pursuing songwriting, I started to acquire gear to record my own demos. Eventually other people asked me to record their stuff. 14 years ago I moved my gear out of the house and into a little space that used to be a workshop attached to a garage. After several years, the studio has expanded and swallowed the entire building.
  6. ClarkJaman

    ClarkJaman Active Member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Saskatoon, Canada
    Home Page:
    I selected personal connection without reading the posts below, but now that I read them my story is much more like Chris and Jeff. I always had a wireless guitar pack, not because I liked being able to spin around while I play on stage (although that's a bonus... :p ) but so that I could run back to the soundboard during soundcheck or even during the show. Finally I played in a band with a producer/engineer who took me under his wing and got me started with a DAW and a couple used mics, and the rest is history.

    And Donny, I think it's safe to take your flame suit off! Haha I, for one, totally agree.
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA

    A ) I think Donny's right on the money. You can teach the mechanics and science to a large degree, but you cannot teach the artistic part of the job to someone who has no ear for tone, pitch, harmony, or rhythm. They can only go through the motions. A lot of low-level sound guys I've met are frustrated musicians who thought mixing would be easier than learning how to play the instrument in the closet.

    2 ) The guys who are real musicians, and make the transition to the other side of the console have to learn to detach themselves from whatever is their instrument of choice. A friend who does live sound, used to be a drummer, and it shows in his live mix. The drums always sound great, and he couldn't care less about the guitars, keys, or vocals. Once he gets the drums set at soundcheck, he might as well take a nap. Maybe it's self-serving to say, but I think someone who is skilled at more than one instrument (and can sing) has an advantage right out of the gate.

    Γ ) I'm skeptical that the OP was any more than the dropping of a link to another site. (that Γ is gamma by the way, incase your browser doesn't display Greek letters.)

    IV) If there's anyone onboard here that works at Skywalker Ranch or similar, it's been a very well kept secret. Now get back to work.
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