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Are you a recent college graduate concerned about getting to what’s next?

Don’t worry. Your next gig, or as people in your new stage in life call it, career move, is closer than you think.

Here are tips from our experts that can help you get from graduation day to the next chapter in your life and beyond.

Envision what you see yourself doing in the next few months, years, and beyond.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your ultimate dream job?
  • What’s the IDEAL way you see yourself spending your hours, days, and weeks?
  • Who are you collaborating with?
  • How much do you need to earn to live a comfortable life and how can you earn it?
  • What skills do you have now that you can put to use?
  • What skills do you need to learn to get ahead?

Envisioning success will make it easier for you to reach it. It will help identify the steps you must take to find the opportunities, connections, and other things you need to achieve it.

Think about it: Could you build a house without a picture of — and plan for — the home you imagine? Of course not! Similarly, you can’t create a plan to reach your musical future if you are unable to envision it.

Acknowledge how far you’ve come.

It’s easy to let thinking about tomorrow get you down.

Just remember, today was the future not so long ago!

Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished. It’s likely more extensive than you think!

Use it to update your résumé, website, and online profiles. Also, think of ways to discuss all the fantastic things you’ve accomplished with potential employers and new music industry contacts.

Identify the connections you have and those you want.

Think about all the people you know. Include instructors, classmates, band directors, and music industry professionals. How could they help you find your dream job or meet new people who could?

What connections do you need to get ahead? How could you meet them, virtually or in person? Are there events, virtual or real-world, that would allow you to expand your network?

Start documenting these people and opportunities. You’ll likely find that you know more music industry professionals than you think, and the ones you want to meet are more accessible than you imagine.

Max out your use of social media.

Are you making the most of social media?

Think about different things you can do to increase your exposure on different social platforms to music industry professionals.

Update your LinkedIn or start a page if you don’t have one. Make sure it reflects where you are in your career and life in case possible employers find your page when searching for new hires. Employers today are being more aggressive in their outreach to potential workers than usual because of today’s tight job market.

TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter are other options for connecting with music professionals. It’s one of the top ways they find new talent. Create and post unique videos and recordings to make others aware of your skills.

Market yourself.

As a musician, you’re a person first. But you are a business as well. It’s critical that you actively market yourself. Sure, in today’s hot job market, there’s a chance an employer will reach out to connect with you. However, your odds of getting hired will be better if you put yourself out there. Leverage everything from a website, to social media, to posters and flyers to get yourself noticed.

Check out our tips on how musicians can market themselves more effectively:

Cast a wide net.

It can be a lot of work to open up your job search. However, applying to a wide variety of positions increases your chances of getting hired. Apply for all types and levels of work situations. Keep tabs on companies and organizations you find attractive. Set up notifications on job search engines. Don’t limit what you’re willing to consider. For example: If you see yourself working as a producer, don’t just look at studios. Also apply for jobs at record labels and publishing companies. You never know what you could end up doing or who you could meet. Even if you don’t get a job, you may connect with someone who can refer you.

Volunteer your services.

If you’re not getting paid opportunities right away, you can always get a foot in the door by volunteering at a school, senior center, performing arts organization, or church. Also, look out for internships that could help you learn new skills and gain real world experience. You never know who you could meet or see you perform.

Start your own business.

Not finding anything in your field? Not interested in working for free? Why not start your own business!

Get creative and think about all the services you could offer, from teaching to producing to playing. Get creative! You might find it surprising how many ways you can earn an income on your own. Make sure you consult with a friend or relative who knows about business to get everything right. Or find gig work through an online service that can help guide you and offer some level of protection.

Would you like to learn how to repair instruments to earn extra income? Check out our classes that will teach you how to repair flutes, clarinets, and other band instruments:

Be kind to yourself.

Searching for a job can feel overwhelming and stressful. Always remember, you’re not alone!

Turn to friends and family members when you need help and support. Don’t go it alone.

Also, make it a point to celebrate every win, from getting a callback or interview to receiving an offer. Recognizing all the good things that happen while searching for a job will make getting through the negative ones easier.