Musician Resume Example

Pluck at the heartstrings of hiring managers with an impressive resume. We've got a guide that will win you the Grammy!

Flor Ana Mireles
Written by Flor Ana Mireles • Last updated on May 29, 2021
Musician Resume Example
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No matter where you're from and what you do, one thing that connects all of us is music.

If you love to play or sing and are thinking of doing so as your career, you're going to want to create and develop a musician resume. Luckily for you, we can help.

Right now, the music industry is at a 1% growth rate, which is slower than usual, but don't worry. There are still plenty of opportunities out there for your voice or instrument to be heard. In fact, there are currently over 175,600 jobs for musicians in the U.S.

To be a musician, you don't necessarily need a background in music or any formal educational credential. However, just because you don't need it doesn't mean it is not beneficial.

Depending on what kind of musical career you want to get into, a background in music may make you a better candidate.

Here are some careers as a musician within the industry:

  • Singer
  • Guitarist
  • Bassist
  • Pianist
  • Saxophonist
  • Cellist
  • Violinist
  • Drummer
  • and much, much more

Furthermore, you can do the following with those talents:

  • Play in a band
  • Play in an ensemble
  • Play in an orchestra
  • Produce music for others
  • Perform at concert halls
  • Perform at arenas
  • Perform at clubs

Now, to achieve any of these dreams and goals from a professional, job-seeking standpoint, it's important to have a professional and impressive musician resume.

In this article, we're going to go over 6 steps that will help your resume pluck at the heartstrings of hiring managers and recruiters.

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Formatting your musician resume
  2. Writing an impressive resume summary or objective
  3. Describing your musical experience
  4. Listing your key skills
  5. Adding your education
  6. Adding awards

1. Format your resume like a professional musician

In order to impress hiring managers and recruiters, it is necessary for your resume to read like that of someone who is really interested in being a musician and knows the musical language.

With that said, it's important for your resume to be formatted in a way that showcases your musical talents.

Here are the three ways to format your musician resume:

  • Reverse-chronological, which emphasizes your previous acting credits
  • Functional, which highlights your special skills
  • Hybrid, which combines the previous formats

As a musician, it is not just important for hiring managers and recruiters to see where you've played or with who've you played, but also highlight what specific instruments you play and what your skills are in. You can sing or produce music? You can play the piano and the violin? These are things you want to highlight in your resume.

Therefore, to truly impress hiring managers and recruiters, the best way to format your resume is with a hybrid that emphasizes your musician experience and shows off your skills.

Tip: Be sure to include your contact information at the top of your resume! While you're at it, be sure to include a link to your music portfolio if you have one or any relevant social media where you showcase your musical talents.

Want to learn more about hybrid-formatted resumes? Check out our guide on how to format your resume.

2. Write an impressive resume summary or objective

The music industry is a competitive industry. Even if you're only interested in pursuing it on an orchestral level and don't necessarily want songs on the radio, you're still sometimes between other highly talented candidates.

On average, resumes are looked at for less than 6 seconds at a time. To make sure your resume stands out and is ready for the spotlight, it is important to have an award-winning resume summary or objective.

A resume summary is a 1-2 sentence blurb you include at the top of your resume that summarizes your entire resume and lets hiring managers and recruiters know what you have worked on in the music world.

Similarly, a resume objective is a 1-2 sentence blurb that gives hiring managers and recruiters a look into what you're looking for.

Tip: If you're still warming up in the music industry, choose to have a resume objective, especially if you still don't yet have the experiences to back up your talents.

Regardless of which one you decide to include at the top of your resume, here are some elements to consider including:

  • Years of experience
  • Instruments you play and what your focuses are
  • Relevant skills

If you're still not sure of what your resume summary should look like, here's an example:

Accomplished musician with 5 years of experience in orchestra and blues bands and skilled in lead guitar and bass guitar. Adept at writing and arranging music and producing digital compositions.

Similarly, if you're writing a resume objective, here's an example of what it can look like:

Accomplished musician with 5 years of experience in orchestra and blues bands and skilled in lead guitar and bass guitar. Looking to expand my musical horizons through the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

Tip: Even if you're the humblest of musicians, it's important to show hiring managers and recruiters that you're also confident in your musical abilities.

Take a look at our guide for an in-depth look at resume summary examples.

3.  Describe your musical experience

Have you played in a band before? Headlined a show? Opened for a band? Played with an ensemble or orchestra? The work experience section of your resume is the place to highlight these achievements.

Tip: When describing your work experience, be sure to use good action verbs and include a few details of what you did in that position.

Here is what you should always include when describing your work experience:

  • Company you worked for
  • Job title
  • Timespan
  • Location
  • Details of the job

If you're not sure of how to describe your job experience, here are a few examples for musicians:

  • Set up and performed for live audiences, and attending rehearsals and studio sessions in a timely manner.
  • Wrote and arranged music in blues and jazz styles.
  • Located and played venues for gigs.
  • Maintained all gear and tuned guitars when necessary.
  • Practiced on my own prior to studio sessions and rehearsals.
  • Learned melodies, songs, and practicing vocals when required.

If you've played in an orchestra or ensemble, here are some job description examples:

  • Played classical guitar for ensemble.
  • Practiced several days a week to sharpen talent.
  • Performed with dozens of other elite musicians in an orchestra.
  • Participated in recording sessions.
  • Composed and arranged music.
  • Provided the musical background for live shows such as ballets and musical theatre.
  • Sight-read during performances.

Want more tips and tricks on how to write your work experience description? Check out our guide on describing your work experience.

What to do if you have no professional experience

If you have no professional experience, don't fret. There's still a chance for you to showcase your talents and land the gig.

Even if your "work" experience is only being a technician for a specific instrument, this is something you can include in your resume, too, if you're just starting out.

Here's an example of what that job description can look like:

  • Restrung guitars.
  • Performed sound checks when live bands played on company stages.
  • Made guitar repairs, often on the guitar's wood or electronic wiring.
  • Assisted musicians in selecting guitars, amps, and pedals for specific events.

You can also check out our guide on how to write a resume with no work experience for more information.

4. List your key skills

Not everyone becomes a talented musician through training. Some people are just born with it. Regardless of how you've obtained your skills, it's important to list them on your resume.

Unlike in other resumes, here, you're not listing your skills in Microsoft Office of Adobe Creative Suite. Instead, you're listing special music skills that can aid your music career.

Here are some music skills you can include in your resume:

  • Lead guitar
  • Bass guitar
  • Classical guitar
  • Blues guitar
  • Music production
  • String Ensemble
  • Orchestra
  • Singing
  • Piano
  • Drums
  • Violin
  • Cello
  • Trumpet
  • Saxophone
  • Harp

When listing your skills, try to list at least 5 of them. If you're comfortable doing so, include a skills progress bar to show hiring managers and recruiters just how skilled you are at the talents you are listing.

Now, don't forget to include interpersonal skills on your resume. These are important, too.

Here are some examples of interpersonal skills you can include on your resume:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Organization
Tip: If space on your resume allows, categorize your skills into music skills and interpersonal skills. This gives your resume some organization and structure, and helps it look more professional.

Unsure what key skills you can include in your resume?  We have a guide with 100+ key skills you can include.

5. Add your education

You don't need a formal musical education to become a famous musician, but if you have one, be sure to include it on your resume. This helps hiring managers and recruiters know that you already have the technical skills and knowledge down, especially if you're applying to be a part of an orchestra or an ensemble.

When including your education, here are the basic components to list:

  • College Name and Location
  • Years in School
  • Degree
Tip: The space on your resume is very limited. You don't need to include what you did for those years you were in college.

With that said, here is how you should be listing your education in your resume:

Wynwood School of Music

Miami, FL

2012 — 2016

Classical and Blues Guitar

Florida International University

Miami, FL

2008 — 2012

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Tip: If you've gone to a music academy or music school, even if it was informal, list it under your education.

Need more helping listing your education? Don't know if to include your GPA or high school education? We have a guide that will help you list your education in 2021 with examples and tips.

6. Add your awards

Winning an award for music is a beautiful thing. It means that your music played someone's heartstrings, and you should be proud.

If you've won a music award, be sure to add it to your resume. If you've won multiple awards, create an awards section within your resume if space allows.

It may not be a Grammy, but you'd be surprised how often hiring managers and recruiters may be impressed by awards on resume, even if they're just local music awards and recognitions.

Tip: Try not to include social media driven awards where may have won by asking friends and family to vote for them unless created by big known companies. It will not help to impress hiring managers and recruiters.

And if you haven't received any awards just yet, don't worry. With this resume you're creating, you'll sure land the gig and then receive the recognition.

Need more help? We've got a guide on how to list your accomplishments in your resume, including awards and achievements.

Key Takeaways

Being a musician may be a fun career, but it's still important to have a professional resume, even if you're a rock star.

Here's a summary of everything we've covered:

  1. Format your musician resume like a professional
  2. Write an impressive resume summary or objective
  3. Describe your musical experience
  4. List your key skills, especially your musical talents
  5. Add your education even if you haven't gone to music school
  6. Add awards if you've received any

With our resume guide, you're sure to wow some crowds of hiring managers and recruiters in search of their next star, band member or orchestra player. Good luck!

Flor Ana Mireles
Flor Ana Mireles is a writer and editor with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and a background in English literature, music, marketing, and business. She is also the self-published author of two poetry collections and the lead singer of South Florida rock band Leather and Lace. Flor has experience in social media and getting crafty and artsy. When she is not writing, she's spending time in nature, reading, or listening to music.
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