What does your online presence say about you? Does it say you’re professional and knowledgeable? Does it say to a potential employer that you can be trusted not to tarnish the company’s image if hired? When employers start seriously looking at a job candidate, they start seriously looking at the candidate’s online footprint. This includes your Facebook page, your Twitter account, and your LinkedIn profile.
Now hopefully, most job seekers already know it’s important to remove any questionable content (i.e. inappropriate photos, controversial comments, unsuitable items in which you are tagged, etc.) from their social media profiles, but do you know what you should be putting out there in cyber space to brand yourself and your skills?
There are several things you can do to build a more marketable online presence.
- Upload a critiqued resume to CareerConnector, Belmont's system for job and internship postings.
- Fill out your LinkedIn profile completely. This includes giving detailed descriptions of past internships and part-time jobs that also incorporate any positive results your work had on the company. A complete profile also comprises any and all sections in which you have experience to add or highlight (i.e. education, relevant projects, current or past volunteer work, technical and transferable skills, certifications, test scores, relevant coursework, languages, organizations in which you belong, and more).
- Make every part of your LinkedIn profile keyword-rich. Include the keywords from your chosen industry everywhere it makes sense to, even in your name! For instance, I am an image consultant and instead of just my first and last name, my LinkedIn profile name is “Lori Bumgarner | Image Consultant.” That way people who come across my profile immediately know what I do and I show up higher in the list of search results when people search those particular keywords. Yours could be “[your name] | Aspiring A&R Assistant” or “[your name] | Entertainment Studies Graduate.” Also find a way to use keywords and personal branding in the professional headline and your personal LinkedIn URL. Look at other profiles for a variety of examples.
- Share your knowledge by participating in online discussions on topics related to your field. Make thoughtful comments to LinkedIn group discussions and industry-specific blogs. Start your own group discussions by posing pertinent questions to the group members. Even create your own blog sharing your expertise on a particular subject related to your chosen field and promote it on your social networking sites.
- Showcase your past work with an online professional portfolio. Utilize platforms like SlideShare.com and Behance.com to accentuate your skills with uploaded writing samples, class projects, presentation slides and videos, etc. Once you have your online portfolio set up, then promote it on your blog and your LinkedIn profile by adding the portfolio’s URL to the appropriate sections.
By showing care in how you represent yourself online, you will gain both the interest and trust of potential employers, and perhaps even a job!
On Thursday, August 21st at 6:00 pm, SKOOLYARD featuring Dwayne O'Brien, James Isaac Elliott, Drew Ramsey and Dan Keen will be performing at the Bluebird Cafe. The show is free, but you must make reservations. To reserve your spot click here after Thursday August 14th @ 8:00 am.
Date: Monday, September 8, 2014
SOLID will be participating in the 15th Annual Miller Harris Golf Tournament on Monday, September 8th at Temple Hills Country Club in Franklin, TN. The tournament is in need of half day or full day on-course volunteers. Duties would include greeting golfers and overseeing closest to the pin and long drive contests. Sign up to volunteer HERE.
As you may know our Family Day is one of our largest events and we couldn’t do it without the help of wonderful people like you. Please let me know if you can make it out to help for any of the day!
What: Family Day,
Where: Hammerstein Ballroom (311 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001)
When: Sunday, September 28
When Should You Arrive: 8:00 am to 6:30 pm (help to break down)
Attire: Casual, WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES (you’ll be on your feet all day)
It is important to always be professional and use proper networking etiquette when making connections during a job search within the entertainment and music industry. Do this by following these networking etiquette tips:
- Do your homework. Don’t ask questions in a networking situation that you could have easily looked up the answers to on your own. Be able to discuss the things going on in the industry by reading industry newsletters and publications on a regular basis.
- Don’t act desperate. Desperation can be seen from a mile away and people are turned off by it. Instead, be positive, show confidence, and smile a genuine smile.
- Don’t be a user. Don’t try to connect with someone because of only what you hope to get out of the relationship. You never want to ride someone’s coat tails or invite yourself to be a part of something. If you have made a good first impression and you are working at developing relationships, people will want to have you around and will invite you to be a part of what they’re trying to accomplish.
- Do listen carefully. It’s true that we were given two ears and one mouth because we need to listen more than we talk. Listen to others and show genuine interest in people instead of thinking about what you want to say when it’s your turn to talk. Everyone loves to talk about themselves so ask people questions about their interests and their work.
- Do respect your contact’s time. If you are at a networking event, don’t take up someone else’s time by talking only to that person and hogging his or her time. Also, if you have scheduled an informational interview or meeting with someone, stick to the agreed upon time frame.
- Do obtain permission. Ask your contact if it’s okay that you tell the people he or she has referred you to where you got their name. Also, when contacting someone to whom you’ve been referred, always be courteous to that person by indicating how you got his or her name. This is not the same thing as name-dropping, which is a no-no.
- Don’t be pushy. Be sensitive to what a contact is willing to do for you and never push beyond that or expect more.
- Don’t make people feel like they’re being “networked.” This should be especially true at functions that are not specifically designed as networking events.
For many people who are shy, the thought of networking can be intimidating. However, the more you do it, the more comfortable you become with it and the more natural it feels. In fact, networking should be a natural thing. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be strategic in trying to get your name out to others during your job search. Some of the following tips will help make the process of strategic networking feel more natural to those who are shy when it comes to connecting with new people:
- Treat every networking opportunity as a normal “get-to-know-you” conversation while keeping it professional.
- Start with the people you already know and feel comfortable with. Invite them to go with you to events that will lend to networking opportunities and ask them to introduce you to the people there that they know.
- When a friend gives you the name of one of their contacts, ask them to let their contact know ahead of time that you will be getting in touch with them so that person will have a “heads up” and will know why you are contacting him or her.
- If you are going to make cold calls to industry people, start first by sending them an email or getting introduced to them on LinkedIn.
- Do your research on the person and his or her project, company, organization, etc. prior to contacting him or her. This will make the conversation flow more smoothly and will show that you have a genuine interest in the person.
- Plan some talking points that you want to cover prior to calling the person.
- Set goals. If you go to an industry event, set a goal to talk to a certain number of new people before you treat yourself to the hors d’oeuvres.
A lot of people object to networking, saying they feel phony in trying to do it and that it feels unnatural. By putting into practice the guidelines listed above, the process will become second nature to you. You will find it easier to approach others and you will also become more approachable to others.
I LOVE where I intern but it seems that I’m stuck in a rut with my tasks and don’t see any advancement. Should I stick with it in hopes of possible advancement, or look for something else where I can continue to develop my professional skills? What could I do to address this issue and how do you suggest I stay motivated?
This is a common question, and I completely understand the dilemma. As the semester is coming to a close, and you are questioning if you should stick with the same company next semester, ask yourself this question:
A) Are you sticking around because you love the people and the work they do...but you have nothing to do?
OR B) Are you sticking around with nothing to do just because you are comfortable and the people are a good hang?
If you chose A) Here are some things you can do to get out of the rut:
1. Set up a meeting with your supervisors.
2. Explain to them how much you value the experience and their time. Ask for projects that will bring value to the company and add to your skill set. Worst case scenario - they say they don't have any projects at this time, and you are sitting there thinking "well now I am still in a rut." No - you aren't. See if you can brainstorm with them, or if you can contribute to the company's strategic planning. Everyone has strategic planning but not that much time to allocate to it, so see if you can provide data or research the up-and-coming bands/songwriters coming out of Belmont (wink wink). If you have gone this far and you aren't seeing any potential projects, you can thank them and ask for their professional advice on additional experience you can gain in the industry. No one wants you to sit around with nothing to do - that is draining for everyone involved. If you have excelled in your position and they have grown to love you, they will help you succeed!
If you chose B), you love the people but perhaps not the work...
Working with friends is a blessing - believe me. I get it. But you also need to enjoy the work if you are in fact hoping to hone your professional skills and create your professional brand (see last week's post). Your skill set is really important, and if you aren't perfecting your skill set and developing professionally, then maybe it is time to think about moving to a new company to experience a new culture and to make new contacts. This doesn't mean that you are going to burn bridges or anyone is going to hate you. In fact, if you have created wonderful mentors and friendships at your current internship, they are going to support your decision and help you investigate your next move! They will and should champion you to succeed!
1. Set up the meeting with your supervisor as the semester is coming to a close. Explain how much you have appreciated the experience with the company. You want to maintain these relationships that you have worked so hard to create.
2. Ask for their professional opinion and how you can best accomplish your career goals. Like I said before, if you have created a mentorship they will offer you their expertise and advice for your future.
3. Remember to check LinkedIn and ask other interns for their advice on a company that aligns with your goals.
As always - wishing you the best!
Calling all Belmont artists and bands... We are now taking applications for our annual outdoor Battle of the Belmont Bands show! To apply:
1) Log In to MyBelmont
2) Click here to read the requirements and fill out the application.
Applications have been EXTENDED and are due by July 30th, 2014 (Wednesday) before 11:00pm and the event will be held on Friday, August 22nd 2014 on the South Lawn. Get ready for a great night of music.
After attending a luncheon this week with one of Nashville's biggest artist management firms, I started thinking about how important it is for our students/alumni to craft their professional brand. If you want to work in the entertainment industry, you are constantly thinking about others' brands and how to best market the brand to a wide audience. But what about you? - the artist manager - the booking agent -the screenwriter - the receptionist.
What is your brand? How are you going to market your strengths and aspirations to the employer when the time comes? In an industry this competitive you must have an edge - something that distinguishes you - your professional brand.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What do I do better than anyone else? What do I excel in?
- What makes me excited?
- What do others consider to be my strengths? Ask them. (Have a personal board of advisers that are honest with you.)
- Who do you want to be? How do you want to be known? What do you want others to take away from an interaction with you?
These aren't easy questions to answer, and sometimes it takes talking it through with friends and mentors. Spend the time crafting your brand! The entertainment industry loves creativity and self awareness. Be prepared to talk about yourself and what you can offer.
And then magically...your brand aligns with an employer's brand and everyone lives happily ever after.