1. Personal recommendations go a long way, but don’t guarantee you’ll get hired.

Just because someone referred you doesn’t mean you’re a shoe in. You still have to bring your A game and outshine the competition.

2. A strong resume/track record is important and may get you in the door but it’s not enough to get the gig.

We reviewed 8 or 9 and interviewed 4 realtors. What stuck out was how they presented their resumes. We’re selling, those that featured comparable houses that they sold jumped out more than those that simply listed their latest transactions in chronological order.

I have several resumes – one that shows my work as composer & music editor, one that only shows my composing work and one that only shows my music editing work. I send different ones out depending on the gig I’m after, and I rearrange the order of things, too. For example if I’m applying for a music editing gig on a TV series, I’ll list all my TV series experience first, then the films.

3. You don’t need to have the shiniest, glitziest, fanciest presentation. Clean and simple works just as well as long as the content is great and well presented.

All 4 had nice presentations. One had everything on his large iPad in addition to giving us a hard copy. The one that impressed us the most wasn’t that one – but everything from the folder it was in, to the notepad, to the highlighted sections to help us understand the current market was fantastic. The other 3 were fine, but not as buttoned up and not as laser-focused on our house and our neighborhood.

In music terms, make sure you demo is tailored to the client’s needs. If they’re looking for a composer to do a comedy, don’t have your awesome epic track that you recently recorded at Abbey Road as your first track. Nobody cares that it’s a great track, it’s completely irrelevant to a comedy. Make sure the tracks you choose are relevant, that everything is properly labeled, no dead space in the beginning of the files, everything is mastered and have great metadata including contact info. Make sure the order of the tracks tells the story that you want to tell with your demo.

4. Personality matters more than all of the above.

One of the most highly qualified of the realtors we met spent most of the meeting trashing other realtors and the profession in general. He went on to criticize other comparable listings that he gathered for his presentation, and by the end of our meeting we felt all he had done was tell us why everyone sucks, and make us feel like he thinks he’s better and smarter than everyone, including us. When he left my wife & I turned to each other and almost simultaneously said “Am I the only one that feels like I need a shower after meeting this guy?”

Don’t be that guy! When you take the meeting remember you got there because they already liked what they saw/heard. They don’t need you to tell them how great you are or how much better you are than anyone else, or to trash anyone else. They want to get a sense of your personality and see if they’re comfortable working with you. Make sure when you leave they feel like they really want to spend more time with you.

5. Listening to the client, understanding their needs and addressing them is key.

This dovetails on the previous point. Talking about yourself ad nauseam is never a good idea. Trust me, I know, I’m guilty of having done it in my earlier days. Ask the client questions and really LISTEN to what they’re saying, what they’re not saying. Try to identify their needs and how you can meet those needs and then focus the conversation on those things. Don’t be afraid to offer great free advice. Don’t hold back.

One realtor who we ultimately didn’t hire gave us one great idea that the others didn’t think of. She was great and it was a difficult decision but ultimately we felt more comfortable with someone else, but we were so impressed and grateful for this one idea that we sent her a gift card with a thank you note, and would probably use her in the future if the opportunity was right.

Remember in this business “no” almost never means “no” it usually means “not now, on this particular project, under the current set of circumstances.” Make sure that even if you don’t get the gig, you’re memorable and leave a great impression, be like that realtor.

And if you want to buy my house, it’ll be on the market next week