One Easy Action that Will Turn You from Looking Like an Open Mic-er to a Pro
So, you’ve been doing a lot of gigging lately. Maybe you‘ve been writing for months and you have an album just ready to drop. Your friends and family are behind you and you’re starting to get the attention of people you don’t know, too. You’ve got the word out there on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Soundcloud. Now you want to make the transition from being ‘wee Johnny/Janey who does a bit of music’ to being seen as a skilled professional and hopefully actually being paid for your services (which you’ve studied and practised for years to be able to deliver). So, how do you do that?
There are a lot of possible answers to this question: you will need press, sales, qualifications and experience. There is however, one little step that will instantly start to make you look more professional. People hang out socially on Facebook. People like to have political and philosophical rants on Twitter. People liked to be entertained on YouTube. When people are looking for professional connections, they hang out on LinkedIn.
As a testimonial to the power of LinkedIn, let me tell you that I was recently approached by the management of a TV reality show graduate and asked to write some music for her next project. Her voice is awe inspiring and her support base includes some very cool people. I’m a published songwriter so my publisher are out there trying to promote my work, but this rather exciting gig came to me because I had a presence on a professional network where my experience and skills were detailed and up to date and I had posted examples of my work.
So, if you’re going to make LinkedIn work for you there are a few things to bear in mind, some of which I’ve just touched on:
- Choose a title which accurately reflects what you do and what you are trying to do, e.g. ‘singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer’ rather than ‘local superstar’.
- Keep your profile up to date with the projects that you are working on and all relevant experience listed. Don’t neglect the voluntary experience section. Showing that you are community minded is a good thing.
- Use a professional looking profile pic. This is not the place for selfies/amusing wigs/ pictures taken down the pub. Remember, you are a professional.
- Include links to your work.
- Join groups. There are many music related groups which are a great way to network and share your expertise.
- Thank people who accept or send connection invitations by endorsing them for skills.
- Ask someone reputable within the music industry to write you a recommendation.
- Use the posts and updates facility to showcase your knowledge and services rather than to post cute pictures of kittens with platitudes written at the top. This is not Facebook! Similarly, this is a professional setting so don’t post anything that might be construed as offensive to a particular group (I know it sounds obvious but people do it and it is really not a good idea).
So, off you go and network!
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