Entering the job market comes with a plethora of emotions. Waves of excitement, anxiety, and stress might overwhelm a recent graduate while creating a LinkedIn profile or preparing for an interview.

We hope to ease some of the anxieties that come with landing that first job by bridging the gap between graduation and hearing that first “You’re hired!”

Orchestrating Connections

Networking is a major aspect of landing a first job, but what does that mean in music education?

Any young music educator can begin the networking process while working towards their degree and should start this process as early as possible. This goes beyond getting to know professors, classmates, and staff. It can mean attending in-person and virtual conventions, getting involved in community events, and staying in-touch with directors from high school. Networking can also happen in the summer!

 The Director Academy at the Summer Symposium is open to college students and attracts 100+ directors, making this event a great way to form impactful relationships for your career. Networking in the music education community can make you stand out when applying for a position.

Taking the Lead

Showing initiative is an essential part of networking. Having a “go getter” attitude is a major plus when networking or interviewing.

One way to do this is to look for opportunities to learn. The previously mentioned Director’s Academy is a great place to start, and the Future Music Educator’s Experience is another way to demonstrate your passion for teaching. Both can help fill out a resume and be interesting talking points during a networking conversation or an interview.

Opportunities don’t have to be events! Independent learning, such as learning a new instrument or a new skill, can be resume-builders and conversation-starters that give an important advantage in the future.

Choosing the Right Job

The first step in deciding whether a job is the “right job” for you is to determine what aspects of the job are important and what the deal-breakers are.

Do you want to work on a team with someone else or be the only band director at a program and do your own thing?

What communities have the program you would match up best with?

What are you comfortable with teaching? What are you not comfortable with teaching?

What do you believe is the role music plays in school and in community?

These questions are essential to keep in mind while interviewing for positions and it’s important to address these values during the interview process. Interview them back and ask questions that ensure the position is the right fit.

At the end of the day, your search for a new job is what you make of it. Recent graduates who put themselves out there, have a go-getter attitude and know what they’re looking for in a position are more likely to have an amazing career from the start.

Want more content like this? Listen to the full Mind the Gap podcast epsiode here.