3.10.2011

Music Job Search Series: Finding that Perfect Job

Welcome to the first installment of my new series, "Music Ministry Job Search"!

I bet you are thinking that I have this a little out of order.  Why would I be Job hunting before I even have my resume and cover letter pulled together?  Well, let me explain. 

The world of music and worship job descriptions can be very complicated and demands a bit of research on your part before you hand out your first resume.  Most jobs in the secular world ask you to fill out a generic application and submit a resume with cover letter.  The most detailed they get is to ask you to give salary requirements or a portfolio of completed work that you are proud of.  I’m generalizing but you get the idea.  The job titles are more standardized and have expectations that the general public can identify.

In my music ministry job search it has been my experience that there is no standardization when it comes to job titles and job descriptions.  When listing a job each church seems to pack the job requirements and description with as much as humanly possible and no two are ever alike.  That stems from the fact that no two churches and no two ministries are alike and that each community has very different needs.

Here are some Job Keywords and Titles that I considered
  • Director of Music
  • Director of Worship Arts
  • Worship Arts Director
  • Worship Arts Minister
  • Minister of Worship Arts
  • Music Minister
  • Director of Music & Arts Ministries

The first thing I did was search for current job listings on the web using those key words and checking out what appealed to me and what looked like a good fit for my skills.  I then placed those jobs in a Google doc spreadsheet that I could go back to when I was prepared to apply.  I had headings like: Church Name, Job Title, Full or Part time, Contact Person, email address, phone, street address, city, state, zip, website/blog & Job Info, and Application Due Date.


Here are some of the Places I go to for job listings


Sometimes as I weeded through job listings I would run across a job that would have been perfect but I fell short on the requirements or they were asking for more education than I had.  Don’t despair because this is an opportunity to reevaluate your education and skills and see where you could beef up some areas that you are weak in.  Several months ago I decided that I needed to work on learning more about and gaining practical knowledge in contemporary worship.  I joined my local church's praise band as a vocalist when it was reforming in 2010 and I got the opportunity to be a part of group that was starting from scratch.  I have since learned how to read a lead sheet and I am strengthening my music theory knowledge. 

I also found jobs that would be perfect until they added that the applicant needed to be an organist or guitarist.  I am neither of these.  Sometimes you can convince a church that you would be perfect for this job as long as they are willing to search for a separate musician to fill those roles.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  You never know.

So, this is the first step of many as we continue our journey into job searching in the music world.  Through out the series I will cover Job Searching, Resumes and Cover Letters, Additional Application Requests Specific to Musicians, Selling Yourself to Prospective Employers, and what to do while you wait. See you next week for The All Important Resume.

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