There are many websites which feature vacancies and jobs for this industry (see our list in the ‘External resources’ section below). You’ll notice quickly that some roles are advertised more frequently than others – such as sales roles, retail, business operations and marketing. As these roles exist in other industries (and are less ‘glamourous’ but absolutely crucial to the success of the work), competition is lower and recruiters need to work a bit harder! Explore the specialist websites for niche roles, or go to individual organisation’s pages. For example, Liverpool Philharmonic, like many large organisations, only advertise their performer and educator roles on their own website.
These are absolutely essential – many organisations won’t formally advertise roles, relying on their network and those who are proactive enough to get in touch to ask for experience or advice. Make sure speculative approaches are highly tailored to the organisation – an approach to a music publisher which doesn’t mention what aspects of their output you have familiarity with does not give the impression of someone who is enthusiastic or ready to be valuable. Use people you know who do the kind of work you’re interested in – but if you don’t know anyone yet, don’t worry about an email out of the blue to someone you’ve not met! In your first sentence highlight your key selling points, make sure to state clearly what you’re looking for, be polite, and keep the first email short. You can always send a polite follow up asking if they’d had time to see your email in a week’s time if you don’t get a reply.
Many individuals in this sector are self-employed or freelancers, usually with a few different sources of income from different activities. For example, you might play professionally with a number of different small groups, as well as giving individual music tuition. Alternatively, you might end up freelancing as a broadcast assistant for a local commercial radio station, while also DJing for club nights. Read our guide to freelancing which explains more about this kind of self-employed work.
Equality and positive action
To find out the policies and attitudes of employers that you are interested in, explore their equality and diversity policies and see if they offer ‘Guaranteed Interview Schemes’ (for disabled applicants) or are recognised for their policy by such indicators as ‘Mindful Employer’ or as a ‘Stonewall’s Diversity Champion’.
Shape Arts campaigns for access to the arts for those with a disability and holds details of opportunities year round.
Creative Access supports those from under-represented backgrounds to secure internships and graduate jobs in TV, Film, Music, Radio, PR, Publishing, Theatre and Journalism.
Many scholarships for further study in the creative industries seek to improve diversity – check course provider websites to look for funding information. There are also grant providers who offer financial support to performers for lessons, instruments and courses: use Turn2Us to identify trusts which you could apply to.
The UK law protects you from discrimination due to your age, gender, race, religion or beliefs, disability or sexual orientation. For further information on the Equality Act and to find out where and how you are protected, and what to do if you feel you have been discriminated against, visit the Government’s webpages on discrimination.