With the wide availability of jobs today, more and more musicians are considering getting new positions or changing careers entirely.
One key issue they encounter is how to draft a written résumé when seeking careers in an industry where relevant skills don't necessarily translate on paper.
The trick is to create such a strong story within your résumé that possible employers are compelled to see your creative abilities and schedule an interview.
This article will examine creating a résumé that makes you stand out.
What type of musician requires using a résumé?
Those who perform, instruct, compose, produce, or conduct music requires résumés. That means musicians who perform at concerts, weddings, and special venues. Anyone pursuing a career in the music industry needs a résumé to introduce themself to potential employers, whether a university, church, student or orchestra leader.
Why are résumés vital for musicians?
Résumés are essential for musicians because they portray their knowledge, skillset, and experience to employers. It's the first encounter potential managers will have with a music professional, so making a great first impression is critical. In many cases, it's one of the only chances you'll receive to get them to schedule a meeting with you or examine your music online.
Why do musicians' résumés contrast other fields?
The music industry hasn't always had a solidified step-by-step hiring process like other fields. Portraying certain important information on a musician's résumé can be more meaningful than in other fields of work. For instance, production credits could be a higher priority on a music producer's résumé than relevant information on education history. Conversely, for a music teacher, it's all about education, accompanied by certifications, awards, and experience in performing.
Contrary to other professional fields like medicine, law, or accounting, music résumés may be less formal and structured than traditional résumés. Provide the pertinent information for your specific area of music and use the rest to show the reach and depth of your experiences. Think like your potential hiring employer, and use your résumé to grab their attention.
What to highlight when applying for different positions:
Here are various types of areas musicians can highlight on their résumés depending on the jobs they're looking for:
● Instrumentalist: Collaborative background, quality of playing ability, genre expertise
● Orchestra performer: Education background, collaborative history, group performance experience
● Music director: Specific areas of music specialization, leadership skills, and experience, conducting skills and experience
● Producer: Genre of produced music, studio experience, artist collaborations
● Music teacher: Instrument experience and skills, education, ability to instruct kids
● Touring musician: Instruments played, band performance experience, venues they have played at
Musicians are applying for all these jobs, but how they portray themselves individually differs significantly.
What to add to a musician's résumé:
What you include or highlight on your résumé may vary depending on your position. Although there is some simple information, all résumés should include:
● Header: Your contact information should be at the top of the form, including full name, email address, and phone number. Make it easy for hiring employers to contact you.
● Professional profile: This should be a short, easy-to-skim section, just a couple sentences or bullet points explaining who you are and what you can do for employers. Get potential hiring managers excited about you.
● Education: Include music-related and other relevant information, in addition to different types of training. Prove that you know your stuff.
● Experience: Performers should include a list of notable performances. Teachers, producers, and others should explain who they've worked with and where they've worked. Excite them with what you've already done.
● Awards: Add the honors or accomplishments you've achieved in the music field. Show why you're a superior candidate.
● Skills: Do you have unique musical or individualized abilities that could make you stand out from the rest of the pack? This is the place to share that! You could be a great leader, team player, or fantastic at working with children. If you have a specific asset that doesn't fit into the education or experience sections, this is the place to showcase it.
● Significant projects: Make it simple for potential employers to see your performances online or discover essential projects. Saying you're talented is one thing. Proving it with music is far better.
● References: Give a list of relevant people you know who will support your claims on the résumé. Having others to back your claims is much better than just saying it yourself.
Raise your résumé to the NEXT level.
Use these tricks to make each section of your résumé optimal.
The top line of the résumé should have your full name, email address, and phone number so potential hiring managers can reach out to you to set up an interview. Additionally, include a website link to a site with videos of you performing important projects. Possible hiring managers can see you live in action and observe your abilities. Step it up further by making various portfolio pages for different employers.
You can make a solid first impression on potential employers with a clean, professional profile or personal statement. Expand on your qualifications and experiences and how they could benefit them. This should be only a few sentences or bullet points long at most. Think about tailoring it for each place you apply for, referencing their standards, and showing how you can meet them.
If you have a degree, add the university or college you attended, the location, your major, notable professors shadowed, and dates you attended. Bring up any scholarships, awards, and honors you achieved. Add musical activities you participated in on campus, like playing in the school symphony, singing in the chorus, or attending music-related clubs. Be sure to make this part prominent for knowledge-centric jobs such as teaching.
Musician résumés are different from standard résumés because they typically focus on the performances or projects that musicians produced or made in addition to traditional work experience. For example, add the organization or group you performed for, the location, the dates, and any subsequent facts like what chair position you played or whether you appeared as a featured performer. Occasionally, musicians part this section into sub-sections to show the different areas of performances they've taken part in, such as orchestra, opera, musical theater, soloist, and pop bands. This section may also mention internships, and other positions previously held.
You can customize this section individually, depending on the potential employer. For example, you could lead into your résumé with your experience in opera if you're applying for a job with an opera company and scale back or completely delete your pop music history.
Tip: You should provide links to performance videos in this section if they convey your expertise.
Having skills such as dependability, patience, a team player mindset, and being a leader or innovator can gain the interest of future employers seeking someone with those desirable traits. Make a bulleted list with those "intangibles" you have that could help you shine in the eyes of potential bosses. Most likely, you will be clued into the skills likely managers are searching for in job postings. Use these to portray your abilities on your résumé. Give specific examples of how you used these skills on the job. For example, don't just say you can be a patient teacher, share stories that show you were patient and supportive with students or coworkers.
If you have received any awards, include any awards you've earned from your musical performances. Remember the musical competitions you've won or the certifications you earned, and explain them in this designated section. Showcasing your awards will help prove you're superior to the other musicians applying for the job.
You might still require an old-school one-page paper or PDF file résumé to apply for specific jobs. However, for others, you can provide a website link, allowing you to share more about yourself in a more personalized fashion. Think about the jobs you're applying for, and tailor your résumés to match the job's specifications. Music teachers might want to be more formal and by the book when applying for academic-related jobs. Producers and performers could find it advantageous to be more cutting-edge.
In conclusion, your résumé is your personal story of experience and triumphs. It's how you persuade employers to meet you in person for an interview and potentially give you the job. Use these points to curate a résumé that enables you and your abilities to jump off the page!