Disc jockeys or DJs play recorded music for radio shows, nightclubs and other public events. Their primary focus is to entertain and keep the audience engaged. If you have a passion for music and are confident you can entertain your audience by playing the right tracks, we can help you create an impressive resume.
Let’s start with three different types of resumes in three distinct formats.
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Job duties of a disc jockey
A disc jockey connects with listeners through creative ideas, sounds and technical knowledge. They focus on presenting commercials, taking music requests and generating public interest. Some essential duties of a disc jockey include:
Playing hand-picked and requested songs using digital and physical-disc formats.
Ensuring commercials and music are played on schedule.
Performing Master of Ceremonies (MC) roles at public events.
Interviewing guests like celebrities, singers, dancers, and other personalities on a wide range of issues.
Using creative ideas like visual effects to keep the audience engaged.
Presenting on-air competitions and sponsored live events.
Engaging in different types of music like classical, rock, pop, country and hip hop.
Mounting and removing equipment.
Disk jockey median salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage of a disc jockey is $51,040, and the mean hourly wage is $24.54 as of May 2020.
Top skills for disc jockeys
- An engaging personality: Becoming a DJ not only requires knowledge of sound systems, music and wavelengths, but you must also have excellent interpersonal skills so you can interact with guests and listeners at events or on-air.
- Detail-oriented: DJs need to pay close attention to all particulars of the job, from set lists to time management. You must make sure to deliver high-quality work.
- Creative thinking: Disc jockeys need to be creative from the set up of their equipment at parties to the content they deliver and how they interact with the audience.
- Physical stamina: You must have excellent physical stamina and energy, as DJ work can require long hours of performing live and lifting and managing equipment.
- Music skills: Building music skills will give you a good understanding of what makes music sound good, both to your ears and to listeners.
- Equipment knowledge: DJs must understand how the equipment works, how to transport it, how to set it up, run it and troubleshoot any technical problems that can inevitably occur.
- Marketing skills: DJs also need to understand how the music business works, especially in terms of marketing and negotiating skills, as you will have to negotiate contracts from the total hours of work, the type of music and audience, and costs and payment terms. Everything must be clear in the contract.
- Technical skills: As a DJs you need to be aware of and know how to operate a wide variety of computers and programs and be knowledgeable in soundboards and mixing equipment. For example, it’s essential to know how to work a digital audio interface, a DJ controller, a microphone and a PA system with effects, amplifiers and speakers.
Educational requirements for disc jockeys
Aspiring DJs usually prefer to earn a degree in communications, radio broadcasting and sound design. Since work experience is significant in this career, these degree programs generally include internships in radio stations.
There are multiple music colleges, or you can earn a degree in music business or marketing at a university to learn about how the business works.
DegreesUniversities and colleges: To become a successful DJ, you need to understand music theory. Full Sail University and Columbia College Chicago offer programs in both Music Production and Sound Fundamentals. You can also choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Audio or Sound Engineering.
A bachelor’s degree in Music Production and Engineering like the one at Berklee College of Music will offer courses that may include analog technology, mastering and mixing audio, surround sound, mixing consoles, studio maintenance and music theory.
Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona offer an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Disc Jockey Techniques Program. This program prepares students for live performance production.
The California Institute of the Arts and the Academy of Art University provide quality courses to help you become a successful DJ. The School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media at Academy of Art University will teach you the prerequisites for becoming a disc jockey, such as sound design, sound effects and mixing through dedicated courses on music production, music scoring and composition and sound design. The Chattanooga State Community College is another great institution where you can learn and refine your skills as a disc jockey. Its Music Associate of Fine Arts program will help you explore the vast horizons of music in four years.
Technology: The Columbia College Chicago’s Music Technology program focuses on how music technology can be designed, used and manipulated for diverse activities, such as live performances, video games, music compositions and sound installations. Within the Bachelor of Science program, you can choose which area you want to concentrate on: Interactive Music Design, Electroacoustic Composition, Perception and Timbre, Programming Audio and Physical Design.
CertificationsCertifications from prominent organizations will also benefit your disc jockey career.
Universities and colleges: The MI College of Contemporary Music offers the DJ Performance & Production Program. Students learn the skills necessary to kick off a successful career on the decks. Maricopa Community Colleges also provide Certificates of Completion (CCL) in disc jockey techniques I and disc jockey techniques II.
Member associations: The American Disc Jockey Association is one of the most reputed names in this domain. It is a nonprofit national association that offers a wealth of certificates. Some of these include Certified Mitzvah DJ, Certified Latin Events DJ, Certified Youth Events DJ, and Certified Master of Ceremonies.
For-profit companies: Private companies such as Udemy and Coursera offer comprehensive courses for disc jockeys. The Mixing Techniques course at Coursera allows you to develop a song on your own or even collaborate with other musicians. This process will involve recording, mixing, editing and posting the finished result. The Rekordbox Dj - Mix Like a Professional is another quality course that will allow you to ace the mixing skills. The best part is that you will learn to use the Pioneer software from the beginner level through this certificate program.
Disc jockey resume-writing tips
Different types of resumes create distinct impressions in the mind of a recruiter. An eye-catching resume with unique skills and an impressive summary statement always leaves a great impression on a recruiter. Some essential resume-writing tips for disc jockeys are:
- Come up with a strong summary statement: A well-written summary statement will get a recruiter’s attention. In a short and precise statement, you should provide your years of experience, your best skills, and any awards and achievements. Personal details make your resume more attractive to potential hiring managers.
- Provide specific information about your work: Experience says a lot about you. You should provide all details of your work experiences along with years and location. For example, if you work as a nightclub disc jockey, you should mention nightclub names and years of work.
- Highlight your musical knowledge: You should highlight your intense passion for music and musical equipment. Applicants should project specialized music like classical, pop, rock, country and Western. For example, if a recruiter needs a music disc jockey, candidates should showcase their grip over music, musical instruments and creativity to play eclectic music.
- Chronologically project your academic achievements: You should provide educational details in chronological order. The latest degree should bring up at the top. For example, if you have a bachelor's degree in fine arts, divulge it at the top under the education and training section. If you got any awards or certificates during your academic career, you could mention them as well.
What are the dos and don'ts of a radio disc jockey’s career?
A radio disc jockey should arrange topics, conduct interviews, host competitions, play requested music and prepare daily program schedules. They should also deliver updated trending news, new stories, weather, traffic reports, interact with listeners and discuss current events. They should avoid vulgar speech and discussions during a live broadcast.
What are some of the essential equipment for beginners in this field?
Are disc jockey jobs going to vanish as an aftereffect of Covid?