How To Make A Good Music Resume, And Why A Professional CV Is Important
If you're trying to secure gigs, appear on music shows or get music related jobs, you need a music CV (aka a music business resume). While the topic of creating a music resume and why that's important may not be the most exciting one, that doesn't make it any less important.
There are other guides out there already on CV creation, but not many fully relevant to musicians and those in the music business. Music employees often expect information to be presented to them in a slightly different way, so today I'm going to show you how to do that. If it's useful to you, please share this information with your friends and follow musicians.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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Why You Need A Music Business CV
So why should you have a music resume? Simple, because it's an easy way for you to showcase what you've done to those who could potentially hire you. This could be in terms of getting you to play for a gig, be useful when you're applying for a music related job (e.g. a music teacher), or other such instances where a list of your achievements would come in handy.
Now I know some of you might be wondering, why can't you show potential employees your electronic press kit or your website? Simple, because CVs serve a different purpose.
Your music business resume will be no more than 2 pages long (ideally 1 page long), will be straight to the point and easy to read. This is ideal for people who want to quickly determine whether or not you're right for what they're looking for. If after reading your CV they are, they can then go on it looking at your other materials if necessary.
Your website on the other hand will be more suitable for fans of your music. You'll use it to further get them clued up about what you're doing, get their contact details and make sales. It's a lot more complex and bigger, rather than just a short fact based read.
Lastly, your EPK will be something for the media. For those who want to create a story about you, so should show that bit more of your personality. Facts should still be thrown in, but you'll be displaying that in more of a social manner and it will have a lot more details and links to media etc.
To conclude, your resume will have short sharp facts about you and will be given to those who you're trying to get to hire you for either a one off event (e.g. a gig / TV performance etc) or a regular music related job (e.g. a recording engineer). Now you know why and when it's needed, let's look at how to make one.
How To Make A Professional Resume For Musicians
So what should you include in your music business CV? Here are the main things:
Your Name And Contact Details
Before you start listing your experiences and qualifications, you should state the basics. Your full name, your music name (if applicable), and your contact details. This is so they can easily identify who the resume belongs to, and be able to contact you when they've decided if they want to work with or further interview you.
In terms of contact details, you'll usually want to put both your email address and phone number.
Your Experiences In The Music Industry
Next usually comes your education, but in music CVs, usually it's best to put your experiences first (unless you're applying for a formal role such as a studio engineer). This is because often what you've achieved will be more relevant than any formal education you have. This is true when you're applying for gigs, to be in recorded shows and the like.
So what should you include? Well and big gigs you've played, any places you've been featured in (websites, TV shows etc), where you've had your music played and the like. Also if you've had any big achievements such as being able to earn a certain amount from music, or if you've worked with big names that will also help.
Don't go adding every single one of your experience as you'll still want the make this section scannable and easy to skim through. You can make it scannable by sharing each experience in no more than two lines, and making this section bullet pointed. For example:
- Music industry experience one.
- Music business experience two.
Any Relevant Skills You Have
As well as your experience you should list any skills you have which are relevant to the job in question. As well as listing these skills, you should briefly mention how you obtained these skills and give an example of where you've used them.
- I can create lyrics very fast on the spot. This is a skill I used regularly when I took part in battle rap contests on King Of The Dot (January 2013 – present).
You should have say 4-6 of these key skills, but make sure they'll be skills the employer will be expecting you to have to do the job you're applying to. So if you're applying to gig somewhere, your crowd interaction skill should be mentioned if you have that.
While this is an important part of ‘regular' resumes, it's usually that bit less important when applying for gigs. Even so, you should still include it, especially if you're applying for an ongoing job such as teaching music.
You should cover the last two places of education you went, and any qualifications you received. For example, if you went to college and university, you should mention that. You should mention the main subjects you studied, the years, and what grades you got. If you can show you've managed to dedicate yourself to your studies, many employers automatically assume you're a cut above the rest and can apply yourself well.
It's important that you make any relevant qualifications clear, for example if you studied any music related subjects.
A Cover Letter
Your cover letter shouldn't be included within your CV, but it should be included in addition to it. This cover letter will tell the person you're giving your resume to why you think you'll be right for the job, and basically attempt them to give you a chance. I'll cover how to create a good cover letter in a future guide.
Just because you've put together a good CV, that doesn't mean that you should use the same one for each and every job or opportunity you apply for. Each job will be different, and probably require different skill sets. It's important then that you edit your resume on a case by case basis, highlighting the skills that will be useful in that particular job.
For example, let's say you're applying to perform at a local gig. In this CV, as part of your experiences you'll want to make other gigs you've performed at a prominent part of things. If however you're applying to teach school children music lessons, you'll want to focus less on showcasing your ability to gig, and more on what experience you've had working with children and teaching music.
It's good to have a set core music resume set up, but don't use the same one for every job you apply for. Edit them as needed.
So that's how you make a music CV. If you've applying for a job in the music industry, you should always give one to the people who can potentially hire you. This will help them make their decision a lot easier, so be sure you've got a good resume made up.
Have you created your music industry CV yet? If so feel free to share it in the comments, or ask any questions you may have.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!