How to get a job at a booking agency | Features | MN2S

So you want to get a job in a booking agency. But where to start? Jobs at agencies like MN2S can be highly sought after, but only the right kind of person will suit what’s required from the role – and the lifestyle that goes with it.

MN2S co-founder and director, Sharron Elkabas, gives some insight into how those wanting to work in the field might make in-roads, and what would be expected of someone working as a booking agent.

Before someone applies to work at a booking agency, what other sorts of companies could they accrue relevant experience at?

There are many core skills such as time management, having professional communication skills, organisation, the ability to work to a deadline and so on that can be picked up from a range of jobs. For more direct experience though, I would say working at an artist management company, a record label or as an event promoter would all give you valuable insight as you would be likely have some dealings with booking agents and how things work.

Is it best for people to wait until they see roles advertised, or should they be proactive and make enquiries?

I would always advise being proactive in anything you do, but keeping your eyes open for advertised roles is essential if you want to give yourself the best chance of landing a job at an agency. Of course, it can never harm to send off a CV if you really feel you have some skills and services to offer, as any business would find space for the right employee.

What would an internship at a booking agency involve?

Internships are a great way of learning the ropes. They place you right at the heart of the action and give you a valuable insight into your chosen work place. Tasks will vary a lot and include researching, A&R, working on logistics, administration, gaining experience on the phones and in an office environment and it is also a great time for you to ask questions and really make sure you are in the field you want to be in. Often times great interns will end up with a job offer at the end of their tenure, if they have impressed enough.

What can an intern do to have the best chance at being considered for a future roll?

Carry out all tasks swiftly and efficiently with an eye for detail. Not getting flustered, having a good positive attitude and generally working hard to impress the agency. Over the years, many of our interns have gone onto to become agent assistants and agents. It makes sense for an agency to employ interns at the end of their placement, too, because we have an understanding of your skills and can see you are a hard worker – and the fact you already know how the business and office works is always going to stand you in good stead.

Some jobs never make it onto listings sites. How can people stand a chance at finding out about under the radar opportunities?

Getting your foot in the door and working your way up is the best way to go. If you over-deliver, are driven, are dedicated to your tasks and are hungry for the opportunity, this won’t go unnoticed and you will most likely be presented with an opportunity to step up the ladder. It is also sad but true that knowing the right people will always help you get ahead.

What attributes does someone need to work successfully in a booking agency?

Drive is one of the most attractive attributes to any employer and for a booking agency in particular. Embrace every task and strive to deliver excellence in whatever you do. You need to be focussed and on the ball 100% of the time as this is a dynamic and fast-moving environment. You need to understand your artists as well as your clients and to be able to connect them in the best ways possible. Trust is also a key thing in this two-way relationship.

What does the career progression in a booking agency typically look like?

Typically, an agent assistant position will eventually lead to a junior agent position, and then to becoming an agent. To get an agent assistant position, you may start as an intern or booking administrator handling logistics. Once you become a successful agent, you would move to a senior agent position and somewhere down the line perhaps an agency manager, or even a partner. Once you are a senior agent, you will be in charge of booking at high-profile festivals, events and functions and will be well known by the best promoters in the industry.

What do you think people overlook or don’t realise working as a booking agent involves?

Being an agent is all-consuming and never stops. It can be quite relentless and difficult to ever completely switch off as there will always be lots of emails or calls to attend to. Be prepared to work long hours and at weekends. It’s a great job, but you need to be prepared for the lifestyle and demands that come with it. Things can change last minute, artists can drop out, festivals might want to add more acts, DJs may be ill and so on, and you will be the person needed to tidy up the resulting mess!

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