5 Steps to Landing Your Audio Engineering Job
Before you decide to take the leap and start your audio engineering job search in the world of audio production, you may want to learn more about the career itself. There are numerous job possibilities in the audio production sector. The most important thing is finding the position that suits you best.
What Do Audio Engineers Do
If you’re ever confused about what audio engineers actually do, don’t feel bad, most people are. The term is used mainly as a blanket statement. Audio engineer covers a wide range of titles, including but not limited too; mixing engineer, sound engineer, live sound engineer, studio engineer, mastering engineer, audio engineer for video games and more. Here’s a link to more on audio engineering careers.
An “audio engineer” is a professional who works in the production or recording of sound. They could be the individual who records a podcast for a company or the person in the studio recording Ariana Grande’s next platinum record, and everything in between. To understand just how wide a range the audio engineer field is, think of any form of media that includes sound, all of them require an audio engineer’s skills.
Audio engineers are often described as being on the entertainment business’s technical side, whereas talent is on the creative side. While that statement may be true, audio engineers make creative decisions throughout the recording and editing process. In many studios, engineers are also producers, overseeing both the session’s creative and technical elements.
1. Educational Training
With audio recording software available to the masses at a relatively inexpensive price point, the gravitation to this career path has undoubtedly increased. Although a four-year degree is certainly not required, formal training of some aspect such as a trade school will set you up for greater success than going the DIY route.
There are many free resources online to get you started and even potentially started in the business. However, reading about it online or figuring out how to properly compress something through a Youtube video is no substitute for formal education.
A Typical audio engineering program combines classroom lectures and immense hands-on training covering all audio equipment, analog recording technologies, microphone placement, different types of recording consoles, basic music theory, and other modern recording techniques. Throughout the training, students often learn critical listening and other ear training forms to aid them throughout their careers.
2. Resume’s and Cover Letters
No matter what professional area you end up devoting your time to, you should master the art of creating a clean, concise and professional resume. Although most opportunities throughout your career will most likely come from referrals and networking, A polished resume will be how you get your foot through the first door.
You want to tailor both of these documents to the position. If you are applying at a studio that mainly focuses on mixing, you probably should not only talk about all your experience in live sound. Instead, focus on a few key things you have accomplished in the world of mixing.
Do your research on the company that you are applying to. Not every environment will be a great fit. However, with a little research, you can usually get a pretty good idea. You could simply compliment the company in your cover letter and why you may like to work for a business with such a great clientele.
Showing a company that you care about the outcome of their clients’ experience shows passion and maturity. Upon this, make sure there are no typos in either of these documents. Companies will often not take a second look if small or silly mistakes can be avoided with simple proofreading.
When formatting your resume, pick two fonts that are similar in the way they compliment each other. Make sure these fonts are easy on the eyes and simple to read. Always remember to use bold fonts for headers that separate different sections of the resume.
A great resource to use is canva.com. There are hundreds of templates that make designing a clean and creative resume a breeze.
3. Intern, Intern, Intern
Most audio companies and recording studios want to see some experience before making a paid offer. Unfortunately, it’s how the business is. Internships are great ways to get this experience while continuing to learn.
For myself, I interned for a year and a half at two different studios before receiving a paid offer, and honestly, it was for the best. I was able to access gear some only dream of and work under some of the best engineers in the world. Through an internship, you show coworkers what you’re capable of, what you need to work on and where you excel.
If you are in a city with somewhat of a music scene, there’s a good chance, there’s a studio or two in town. See if there is anything they need to be done in return for continuing your education. The amount of growth you will see within your craft is unmatched. Along with this, you will learn to work around paying clients who, at times, may be challenging.
By interning, you put yourself out there to meet artists, managers, companies and everyone in between. You never know where your next gig will come from.
4. Open-Mindedness Is Important
It’s far too often many young engineers will turn down work because it’s not what they’re interested in. When you’re starting out, beggars can’t be choosers. You take the projects you can. Remember, this is someone’s art they’re letting you in on. No matter the celebrity of the client, that’s a big deal.
Don’t make the mistake of being closed-minded. If you are time and time again, you may lose out on opportunity after opportunity and that’s a one-way ticket to getting nowhere. Challenge yourself to work outside of your comfort zone. You will learn much more and improve your skills faster the more uncomfortable you are with a specific genre.
If you’re interested in being an audio engineer or producer, you need to be open to any audio-related job that comes your way. No one starts their career at the top, working with who they want to work with. Those positions build over a career, and a career consists of small steps. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
5. Build A Portfolio
Finally, save everything you work on. At some point in your career, you will need to provide reference material for new clients to listen to. If you start this early, you will thank yourself in the future.
Most engineers build websites that may showcase a dozen or so before and after snippets that make it easy for a potential client to see the before and after results. At the same time, doing this will allow you to look back on everything you have done and see how far you’ve come. Sometimes we get stuck in mixing ruts, and it’s always nice to see where you started and where you are now.
Remember why you got into this business and have fun!
Tie It All Together
If you are interested in an audio engineering career, Dark Horse Institute’s Audio Engineering Program is a great way to take things to the next level and be prepared to land your audio engineering job!