Music Resume Example and Writing Guide (+Helpful Illustrations) – CV Nation

How to Write a Music Resume or CV (With Music Resume Example)

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An in-depth guide to writing the perfect musician resume or CV, with a music resume template you can use now.

If you’re a musician or you're pursuing music-related roles, you’ll need an effective music resume. Whether you're looking to secure gigs or land a role in an orchestra, it's vital that your resume articulates your musical competencies and experiences in the most effective way. This comprehensive guide will help you prepare a high-quality music resume that provides you with a greater platform of landing a job interview.

Many aspiring musicians aren’t aware that they need a CV. There is a misconception that all music related roles are filled by word of mouth and recommendations.

This is not true. A resume is a key tool in a musician’s search for gigs and work. Use this guide to ensure you don't miss out on exciting opportunities in the music industry.

Depending on the country you live in, you may refer to this career document as a CV or a resume. But we use these terms interchangeably.

There is no distinction between a music resume and a music CV. Whether you refer to the document as a CV or resume, the design, layout, content and presentation should be exactly the same.

Who needs a music resume or CV?

All musicians need a resume. Resumes are a vital tool for musicians, enabling hiring managers learn about you and develop a knowledge of your skill set.

Resumes for musicians are different than resumes for other professions. Instead of including your work experience like you would with other resumes, you break your resume up into separate ‘performance sections’. If you’re an instrumentalist, these sections might be titled ‘orchestra’ or ‘chamber’.

You may also need to include information such as voice type and tour history. Of course, the amount of information you include will depend on your experience and the type of music you specialise in.

But how do you format your music resume? How do you go about presenting your music experiences and skills in a professional manner?

In this guide, we'll walk you through the entire process, step-by step.

Music Resume Example

Step 1

Include your contact details

Include your name and contact details at the top of your resume. Don’t write the words ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top of the document. This is unnecessary as the reader can clearly see that the document is your CV.

You are not required to include your full address. Your town/city and country will suffice at this stage of the application process. Ensure to insert your phone number and email address too.

Step 2

Include a professional profile

The next step is to write a professional profile, often called a personal statement. A professional profile is a short introduction to your resume, under 100 words in length. It should demonstrate your musical abilities and encourage the hiring manager or employer to consider you as a potential employee.

What should your professional profile touch on?

Your professional profile should draw attention to your music experience, the instruments you are adept with, performances you have participated in and any awards you have won.

After reading the professional profile, the reader should have a good idea of what you can bring to the table and who you are as a musician.

But how can you convey this in under 100 words?

Identify two or three of your key experiences and skills. Focus on these and keep the sentences short. Use concise, engaging language.

Here is an example of a musician’s professional profile:

“Highly professional musician, with over 5 years’ experience performing in the string and brass section of orchestras. Experience extends to playing violins and brass instruments alongside over 50 musicians. Possesses additional expertise in singing and recording, having sold over 50,000 classical music singles.

Passionate about creating wonder with audiences and enlightening them with new musical experiences. Enjoys teaching students in the use of brass and string instruments, as well as supporting them with preparation for live performances”.

In the sample professional profile from this musician’s resume, we get a full picture of the musician’s experiences, specialties and skills in just 63 words.

This professional profile touches on the musician’s experience with string and brass instruments, as well as their teaching and recording experience. It also draws attention to their passion for music and commitment delivering high-class performances.

Step 3

Include your key skills

Now it’s time to focus on your skills.

In this section, it’s a good idea to include a small number of bullet points that showcase your key skills. While you likely possess many more skills than just a few, including a large list won’t make any of your skills stand out.

So select a small number of your key skills and areas of expertise, and use bullet points to ensure they make an impact on the reader.

What skills should be included on music CVs and resumes?

The most important skills to draw attention to on your music CV or resume are your music specialisms.

For example, if you’re experienced in brass and string instruments, focus on those. If you’re experienced at teaching music, include teaching as a skill.

Your musical skills are the most important skills to highlight. Other soft skills can also be drawn upon in your CV, but in this initial key skills section, focus on your musical competencies. These are the skills that are most important in supporting your application for music-related roles or to music colleges.

Other skills that may be relevant for music CVs include music composition, music reading and music techniques.

Of course, only include skills if you do in fact possess them. We would never recommend lying on your CV.

Step 4

Include your performance experience

As previously mentioned, music CVs and resumes don’t follow the traditional CV and resume format of including your work experience. Instead of listing your work experiences, you will split your performance experiences up based on types of music performances.

The performance experience section will be the largest section of your music CV or resume. In most cases, this section will take up over one and a half pages (or most of one page if you’re preparing a one-page resume).

Add a heading that most effectively describes your performances. This might be ‘orchestra’, ‘violin’ or ‘piano’.

Then, under this heading, add the positions you held in the area of music. The only other information that should be included is the dates, the instrument, the name of the music organisation, the section/type of performance and whether you were a permanent or temporary musician.

Include the positions in reverse chronological order. Repeat this process until you have included all your music performance experiences.

Here is an example of how your performance experience should be formatted in your resume.

In the sample above, notice how the individual hasn’t used descriptions. Including descriptions for your music roles is not expected or necessary. It’s clear to the reader – who will most likely be a music professional – what your role encompassed. As such there is no need to go into detail.

Don’t list high school or university performances, unless you have little to no experience. We will go into more detail later in this guide regarding how to prepare a music resume if you have no experience.

Step 5

Include your awards & honours

Include music-related awards or honours, if you’ve received any. Also, add any scholarships that you’ve received to study music at university or school. If you’ve received grants to perform or study music, draw attention to those too.

Awards and honours are a great way of showing how your musical talent has been recognised in the past.

If you haven’t been presented with awards or honours, consider including recognition for your musical ability from college or high school. For example, did you win a music competition while studying at college? Or did you receive a music award while studying at high school?

If so, these are all great achievements that demonstrate your musical talents.

Here is an example of how this violinist included awards and honours in his resume:

Awards & Honours Section of Music Resume

In this example, the violinist highlights his success in winning an international violin competition. This showcases his excellent violin proficiency – having won a violin competition at international level. It also shows his commitment to his profession, as he travelled across the world to compete in the competition.

Step 6

Include your education and training details

The next step is to include your education.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a degree in music. Not all employers are looking for music degrees in your CV or resume.

Depending on your level of performance experience and your academic achievements, you may want to insert your education section at the start of your CV or at the end of your CV. If you have little performance experience but have undertaken valuable music education, the education section should be the focal point of your CV. As such, it should be placed at the start of your CV.

Likewise, if you’ve acquired a great deal of performance experience, this should be the main focus of your CV. Whatever your level of experience, keep in mind that it is most beneficial to draw attention to your strongest assets first.

How do you format your education details?

First, include the degree or qualification obtained. Then add the dates of study and the name of the university or college.

If you’ve studied higher education, you don’t necessarily need to include your high school education details. However, this is not always the case. If you excelled in high school, there is certainly no harm in showing your excellent GCSE and A level grades. This is especially true if you achieved good grades in music, whether it be at GCSE or A level.

Ensure to include any music-related training that you have undertaken. For example, if you’ve completed a course in playing the cello, add this to the education and training section of your resume.

If you’re a singer, ensure to draw attention to any singing techniques you have mastered. These may include lip trill techniques or techniques to increase your vocal range.

Step 7

Include your recordings (if necessary)

If you’re a musician or an instrumentalist who has produced any records or featured on any records, include a section titled ‘recordings’. This section isn’t relevant to all musicians. Many musicians, such as those who play in orchestras, may not have any recordings.

Include the title of the recording or project, followed by the date of the recording, the name of the producer, the record label and your role.

Here is an example of how a recording may look on your music resume:

“The Beatles (1964), Lead Singer/Guitarist, Beatles Producer, Beatles Record Label”

How to Write a Music Resume

Writing resumes or CVs for music teachers

If you’re writing a music teacher CV or resume, include a section titled ‘teaching experience’. If you don’t have any performance experience, this section will take place of your performance experience section.

How do you format your music teaching experience?

Include the job title, followed by the subjects taught, the company name/school name, location and dates of employment.

Unlike in the performance experience section, it is appropriate to include some descriptions for each position. In these descriptions, describe the key information relating to your role as music teacher. For example, touch on the musical proficiency of the students you taught. Were they high school music students or higher education music students?

Additionally, draw attention to your achievements and successes as a music teacher. Did a high number of your students achieve excellent GCSE grades? Did you receive excellent Ofsted feedback? If so – or if you have any similar achievements – highlight them on your CV or resume.

Keep the descriptions and the achievements concise, and use bullet points to ensure they stand out.

When writing about your achievements as a music teacher, it’s always beneficial to use numbers and statistics. This makes your achievements stand out and provides evidence to back up your achievements, which greatly improves the effectiveness of your CV or resume.

Here is an example of how numbers can be used to improve music teacher’s CVs or resumes:

“Taught the year 11 music class, which achieved a pass rate of 88% A* - C”

In the example achievement above, the use of numbers really draws attention to the music teacher’s ability as a teacher. The hiring manager and recruiter can envision how the teacher can add value to schools through effective teaching.

Other than the performance experience section - unless you have performance experience - the rest of your CV or resume should follow the steps outlined in the guide if you’re pursuing roles as a music teacher.

Music resumes or CVs for college applications

If you’re applying to study music at college or university, you will probably be required to submit your resume with your application. Music resumes play a large role in admissions officer’s decisions. The steps outlined in the guide will enable you to prepare an effective music resume for college applications.

If you have no professional music experience, include any music experience you gained in high school. Did you perform in a high school band? Were you part of a high school music club? If so, these are the experiences your resume should focus on in place of performance experience.

If you’re writing a music resume for college applications and have little or no performance experience, make your education and training section the focal point of your resume. Of course, you probably haven’t undertaken significant education at this stage, but draw attention to any courses or training programmes you have taken part in.

In some cases, you may have the option of submitting a music supplement to colleges to support your application. The music supplement can contain music samples, recordings and videos.

Music resumes or CVs for those with no experience

Don’t worry if you have no music experience. You can still prepare a professional resume that impresses hiring managers and lands you a job interview.

As with music resumes for college applications, it’s important to make your education and training section the focal point of your CV. If you don’t have any training in music, it’s time to get yourself out there. Undertake training in the field of music you want to pursue. When you’ve completed training programmes, you have a platform to improve your resume.

If you have performed music in high school, include this experience in the performance experience section. You wouldn’t normally include high school performances in a music resume, but if you have no experience, it’s a great way to showcase your musical qualities.

How long should music resumes or CVs be?

Ideally, music resumes and CVs should be one page long. If you have a lot of performance experience, you may need to extend your resume or CV to two pages.

If you’re struggling to trim your CV or resume down to two pages or to one page, alter the margins of the document to allow the content to take up more white space. In Microsoft Word, we recommend margin sizes of around 2 cm (0.78”).

If you’re still struggling to reduce the number of pages, try lowering the font size. Although, we don’t recommend lowering font sizes below 9.5.

Which fonts should you use in your music resume or CV?

Use a font that is professional in appearance, such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. Avoid fancy fonts that are over the top or difficult to read.

Include a link to your LinkedIn profile

If you have a LinkedIn profile, include your URL alongside your contact details. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, it’s time to start preparing one.

LinkedIn provides a great platform for people in all vocations to build their professional brand and develop connections with key decision-makers in their industry. Musicians can benefit from LinkedIn just as much as those in other professions.

Before adding a link to your LinkedIn profile, customise your LinkedIn URL so it is easier to remember and more attractive on your resume or CV.

To do this, log in to your LinkedIn profile, then click ‘Settings’. Click ‘Edit your public profile’, and then click ‘Customise your public profile URL’. Then you can choose your own customised LinkedIn URL.

Should you include a photo on your music resume or CV?

If you’re applying for roles in the UK, United States or Canada, don’t include a photo on your resume. If you’re applying for roles in continental Europe – other than in Holland – then you should usually include a photo on your resume.

For in-depth information on which countries require photos on CVs and resumes, take a look at our article on the topic.

Careers in music

According the United States Department of Labor, there were 187,600 jobs in the music industry in the United States alone as of 2018.

In 2017 in the UK, 91,153 people were employed as musicians, singers, composers, songwriters or lyricists, according to Statista. This doesn’t include those employed in recorded music and music production.

As can be seen in the statistics, the music industry offers significant employment opportunities. While there aren’t expected to be notable increases in the number of music jobs in the coming years, notable decreases have not been forecasted either.

Nevertheless, there is strong competition for jobs in music. As such, it’s vital to have a professional resume or CV that effectively articulates your skills and experiences.

We hope you have found this step-by-step guide helpful. Feel free to use our music resume examples to enhance your search for gigs.

If you would like further help with preparing a professional music CV or resume, feel free to explore our Premium CV package.

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