Few things sound less professional than bragging that you are a professional.

In our industry it is assumed that everyone working within it aren’t amateurs.

Underlining that you are a profession comes off as defensive and overcompensating.

Besides the embarrassment of flaunting a worthless boast to others, the main problem with pumping yourself up as a “professional composer” is that it can easily cloud your own judgement on things that actually matter.

For example, the reason to do or not do a job should be based on the merits of that offer. There are lots of reasons to accept or pass on a project… but the vacant filter of “I’m a professional” amounts to nothing since all it takes to achieve that status is the one-time payment for your composing services of a penny or a peppercorn.

Reject an offer because it is too low for you. Don’t demo if that isn’t something you want to do. Don’t work without upfront compensation if that is what you elect. Discourage others from working for free because you passionately think it devalues music.

Do those things because they are right for YOU, not because of some arbitrary excuse of “being a professional”. There are obviously a number of major composers who decide to accept things you may reject, but that doesn’t somehow make them not a “professional composer”.

There are LOTS of adjectives to modify the word “composer” which have actual meaning in the outside world: “Experienced”, “Successful”, “Multi-disciplined”, “Prolific”, “Award-winning”, “Hard-working” are some adjectives that might separate you from the pack.

But, let’s face it, the bar of being able to call oneself a “composer” is so low that it is actually subterranean. Any kid owning Garage Band can identify him/herself as a composer. The pride is in being a desired composer or dependable composer or an imaginative composer or something greater than just merely being one.

And the standard required to call oneself a “professional” ain’t much higher. Anybody who has received even a penny for their composing services is technically a “professional”.

Beating your chest that you are a “professional” is fairly laughable to those outside your bubble.

I’m an agent. Calling myself a “professional agent” would be viewed in our industry as very odd and pathetic and suspect.

There are some professions where the word “professional” might matter (airline pilot, brain surgeon) because in those cases the use of the word “professional” is related to being certified by some board that has strict requirements and standards for such certification.

Typing “I’m a professional” as it relates to composing carries no weight to anyone in the industry.

It’s one thing to say “I act professionally” or my “My music is professionally recorded”. But just stating that someone once gave you a nickle for your composing services is far from being the same.

Be careful of words that might trip you up towards getting the things you really want.