One of my friends shared an article about what music ed majors can do to make themselves more competitive job candidates, and I wanted to pass it on to you. Read the full post here, from MajoringInMusic.com.
You may have heard a lot of the advice before (which doesn’t mean it’s not worth hearing again!), but there were a couple things from the post that I thought were especially worth thinking about. And even though the article is tailored to music educators, all of these ideas can apply to the rest of us as well, no matter what our musical discipline.
First, you shouldn’t think of yourself as just an educator. You need to try to diversify as much as possible. If you were at our Professional Portfolio Boot Camp, you just heard this same advice from Peter Miksza–and he’s not the only person who thinks having a broad background is important. The article suggests you should aim to be a performer, improviser, advocate, community leader, and more! Sure, your main focus should be on becoming a strong teacher, but developing other skills shows that you are driven and that you have more to offer potential employers.
Second, you should think entrepreneurially. This doesn’t necessarily mean starting your own business, which is what a lot of students think when they hear the word “entrepreneur.” In this case, it means thinking of creative employment opportunities, especially beyond K-12 or higher education. If you can come up with ideas to that reach out the larger community, including visiting or beginning an afterschool program, working with younger children, or educating seniors, you’ll be more likely to have success finding work. As one expert says in the article, “[Entrepreneurial] music teachers will always have employment because they’ll create their own employment.”
Third, you have to keep your resume, CV, and other records of experience up to date! If you’re looking for advice on how to polish up your professional portfolio yourself, we’ll be putting up materials from the Professional Portfolio Boot Camp workshop on our website very soon (I’ll update this post with a link when they’re available). You can also schedule an appointment with Project Jumpstart to go over any of your materials or just to talk about how you’d like to plan for your future. Just email us at jumpstar [at] indiana [dot] edu to get set up!