When most people think of a DJ I imagine they picture the person behind a table at every wedding they’ve been to. Or they picture the packed night clubs with flashy lights and people dancing.
Both of those are correct. DJs started to become popular in the 1970s as live bands at events began to fade out, and people wanted to hear the hits the way they heard them on the radio.
DJs used to have to lug crates of discs, tapes, and equipment for every gig. Modern music and technology have less of a body-building exercise and more of an art form and, in some instances, a performance art.
While DJs’ jobs have dramatically decreased in 2020 due to current events, typically during the wedding season June-September, and the holiday season, DJ job opportunities are robust.
Work in nightclubs, bars is also typical work year-round. Careers in Music point out that DJs often work Thursday-Saturdays and that newer and less experienced people will typically work the slower nights.
No matter the case, work as a DJ gives you a chance to connect with people through music.
Resume objective for a DJ
Even though DJing may not be considered a typical career, your resume should still follow a standard format and look professional.
To start your resume off, after your personal information, you should place your objective.
We read through dozens of resume examples for this article. It is apparent that showcasing the number and size of events you have DJ’d previously is important information to include.
You may also wish to include your ability to stay on top of music trends and your ability to read and respond to crowds.
Lastly, mentioning any thank-you notes or positive feedback received from those who hired you is another way to show you are skilled t what you do.
Charismatic DJ with a proven record of responding to crowds and achieving high-quality events seeks a new position to broaden their event experience. DJ’d 200+ weddings and 50+ corporate events with crowds ranging from 50-400 people. Received 20 letters of thanks and positive feedback from customers.
Resume skills for a DJ
It probably goes without saying that you need to have a solid knowledge of music past and present to become a successful DJ. But there is much more than just keeping up with the latest trends and line dances at weddings.
The modern DJ needs computer skills, how to mix, fade, and mash-up songs, and the ability to read and respond to the crowd.
DJs need to be entertainers and be able to make announcements and gear the crowd up when required.
It also doesn’t hurt if you know how to write your own songs to throw into the mix.
Some of the more mundane tasks a DJ may have include writing our playlists, learning and mastering DJ software and equipment, and networking, especially on social media.
MIDI | Mixxx | Serato DJ Pro | Serato DJ Lite | Writing songs | Crowd Interactions | Music History & Trends | Creating Mash-ups | Mixing | Zoom – LiveTrak L8 | RODECaster Pro | Pioneer DDJ-200
DJ work experience
Most new DJs will find themselves working for an entertainment company or working gigs at bars and restaurants.
If you are lucky enough to make a name for yourself and become one of the famous ones, you may end up performing at top venues like Printworks, Exchange LA, or The Echo.
But before you can hope to work at one of the top clubs in the world, like most performance art, you will need to put in the time and work hard to achieve success.
According to the DJ Mags, some of the major cities in the U.S. to seek DJ work are New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, and Chicago.
If you are not working for an entertainment company, London Sound Academy pushes the importance of networking to find gigs.
Sample Work Experience
Stars Align Entertainment
Master of Ceremonies/DJ, 2016-2020
Created 25 master playlists for a variety of events. DJ’d events of up to 1,000 guests as well as more intimate settings. Increased company bookings by 24% through referrals and performed over 300 events.
- Engagingly delivered announcements
- Updated music library based on audience preferences and demands
- Facilitated execution and payment of talent contracts
- Coordinated the proper sequence of events per the contract
Worked closely with event coordinators, couples, and clients to design a playlist specified for their event or wedding. For larger events, I managed and oversaw additional staff members on my team. I performed 85 weddings, 14 Holiday parties, and 50+ additional events, including Bat Mitzvahs, Anniversary Parties, and Birthday Parties.
- Kept music files up today and representative of trends
- Created mashups
- Responded to guest requests as much as possible
- Set up and tore down equipment and safely packed and transferred equipment
Ms. Marples Bar & Speakeasy
Provided background dining music and late-night dance music to an average of 400 patrons a night Thursdays-Sundays. Responsible for setting up and breaking down my equipment nightly.
- Responded to guest request as much as possible
- Created unique playlists based on time of day and atmosphere
- DJ’d 20 private events
- Updated music library based on current trends
Formally speaking, becoming a DJ requires no formal education. However, there are definitely technical, musical, and people management skills necessary to work in this field.
If you want to obtain a 4-year degree, then it is recommended that you look into radio broadcasting per Study.com.
They also point out that DJ jobs are likely to decrease by 7% between 2018-2028, so the benefit of having a college degree could assist you if jobs become harder to find.
Other degrees, you may want to look into include journalism, broadcasting, and audio engineering.
There are also online courses, tutorials, and schools that offer specific DJ programs.
Best DJ Tips points out that while formal education can be beneficial, especially if you want to work for a radio station or other type of traditional establishment, buying your own equipment and messing around with it is an excellent way to gain knowledge.
Bachelor of Science in Radio & Television Broadcasting Technology, 2008-2012
DJ courses will only take you so far in this career. A lot of employers are going to be looking for hands-on experience and knowledge.
If you have a formal degree in a related field, it is probably unnecessary to add courses.
However, if your degree is not related, and you have taken courses elsewhere, listing any training you received will describe your relative experience.
- The Complete DJ Course for Beginners
- Advanced DJ Techniques Part 1 & 2
There is no formal certification needed to become a DJ. Some schools will offer a certificate course in lieu of a degree program.
Much like we mentioned in the courses section above, having a certificate is not likely to be relevant unless you have no other formal training.
Some places that offer certification courses are Skilz DJ Academy, Point Blank Music School, and the MI College of Contemporary Music.
The American Disc Jockey Association provides a path to hold a certification as a specialized DJ such as Mitzvahs, Karaoke, Youth events, Weddings, etc.
This is not a course but lists the steps you need to take and the qualifications required to hold one of these certificates.
- Certified Professional Trivia Host
- Certified LGBT Events DJ
Complete DJ resume sample
Now that we have learned from the experts and walked you through the steps of what a DJ resume could potentially look like, we are going to look at an actual job posting.
Following the job posting, there is a complete sample resume.
This posting highlights the importance of being able to work on weekends. They also (like many DJ job postings looked at) mention having a vehicle to transport equipment.
Most DJs don’t work at the office every day unless you are in radio, so getting from point A to point B on time is extremely important.
Energetic and crowd-pleasing DJ seeks a position to bring their musical knowledge and technical DJ experience. 12+ years of experience DJing for weddings, corporate events, school events, and private parties. Received dozens of thank you notes from clients over the years.
Serato DJ Pro | MIDI | Public Speaking | Reliable Transportation | Responsive to Crowds | Photo Booth | Lighting Designs | Mix, Fade and Mash-Up Songs | Lift 60lbs
Disc Jockey, 2016-2020
Worked remotely at Mexican and Florida locales. Performed and DJ events and worked four nights a week at the dance club. I maintained all equipment and performed essential IT duties as needed. Mixed songs and animations on the dance floors and responded to crowd tastes.
- Gained working knowledge of Spanish
- Current on the latest DJ technologies and software
- Wide range of musical knowledge
- Created my own songs as well as mashups
Complete weddings & Events
Disc Jockey, 2010-2016
DJ’d 200 weddings and various other events. Responsible for setting and breaking down equipment, working with clients to design playlists, and filling out contracts.
- Set up photo booths and lighting displays
- Increased booking by 30% based on referrals
- Responded to crowds with music selections and requests
- Traveled as needed
Disc Jockey, 2008-2010
Performed as Disc Jockey for three events a week, ranging from school events, senior center activities to weddings and corporate parties.
- Traveled up to 50+ miles for events
- Proper set-up and tear down of equipment
- Unique playlists based on client requests
- Made announcements as needed by clients and venue staff
Maricopa Community College
Associate in Applied Science in Hospitality: Tourism Development and Management 2006-2008
Maricopa Community College
Associate in Applied Sciences in Disc Jockey Techniques, 2004-2006
- Certified Wedding DJ
- Certified Professional Cooperate Events DJ
Disc Jockeys have the power to make or break an event and can be the difference between a packed dance floor and an empty one.
While the career outlook at this time is a bit bleak, if you have a love and passion for music and the desire to mix and make music for hundreds of people, this could be the job for you.
Many beginner DJ jobs are part-time positions. So, if you are unsure if this is the path you’d like to follow, consider looking into a part-time gig that provides the equipment and training before you fully commit.
- Computer Knowledge and experience will help
- A degree is not required but could provide a better job outlook
- People and public speaking skills are a must
Tips from Experts
“The best thing about being a DJ is making people happy. There is nothing like seeing people get up from a table to dance or the expression on their faces when they hear a song they love. I also love to educate people on music they have never heard.” -Chelsea Leyland, DJ
“My job is to be a DJ and make people dance so if people dance, I’ve done my job.” -Jeff Mills, DJ
“A DJ can’t just play one song. It’s about playing a set, or how you connect songs in those two hours, and where you place them” -Zedd, DJ
“I always tell up-and-coming DJs you have to really love what you do and find that interest to drive you. It requires so much attention to detail, and it takes up a lot of your time. You hear a song, and there are so many little pieces that make that song work. It requires a lot of patience, diligence and resilience.” -Steve Aoki, DJ
DJing is a physically and emotionally demanding career path. You often work long hours, lug heavy equipment, and travel to a variety of destinations on long drives.
But if you have a passion for music and a desire to make a difference in someone’s special event through the power of music, this might be the right job for you.