How to Prepare Documents
Résumés, Letters, Bios, Statements
The staff at the Music Entrepreneurship & Career Center help students prepare the materials they need in the professional world. The following resources outline ways to craft effective résumés, CVs, cover letters, bios, reference lists, statements, and more.
When submitting documents to prospective employers, always customize them and be sure to speak to all of the duties and qualifications listed in any position announcement. Before you apply for jobs and other opportunities, contact us to review your documents.
Peabody/JHU students are eligible to receive free copies of Microsoft Office - click here.
Note: A résumé concisely lists your education, experience, awards, skills, professional memberships, and community service in 1 or 2 pages; a CV (Curriculm Vitae - "course of life") provides more extensive documentation and is commonly used by musicians applying for academic positions.
Résumé Guidelines from the JHU Career Center (applicable to all résumés & CVs)
Résumé Templates from Microsoft (see examples of formatting; avoid downloading & using)
Résumé Templates from Google Docs
Handbooks from the Eastman School of Music:
Tip Sheets from NEC:
- Tips for Writing Classical Vocal Performance Résumés
- Tips for Writing Performance & Composition Résumés
We submit a cover letter, also called a "letter of interest" or "statement of intent," when we apply for a job. In it, we state that we are applying for a particular opportunity and summarize how an opportunity fits our qualifications and objectives; we might also describe our artistic vision as well as how we might carry out some of the required duties. Such a letter is typically one page long.
- Cover Letter Guidelines from the JHU Career Center
- Cover Letter Templates from Microsoft (view format examples; avoid downloading)
- Cover Letter Templates from Google Docs
- The Musician's Cover Letter Handbook, from the Eastman School of Music
- Cover Letter Tips for Music Educators, from NAfME (scroll down).
Musicians need bios for websites, concert programs, media promotions, and more. A common length is 150-250 words structured in three or more concise paragraphs:
- First Paragraph: Identity statement plus example. (E.g., Award-winning pianist Mai Name performs as soloist and chamber musician throughout the US. During the 2012-2013 season, she appeared...)
- Middle Paragraph(s): Key activities and accomplishments. (Mai Name has performed concerti with the Suncoast and Downunder Symphonies...Her awards include top prizes in...)
- Final Paragraph: Education and background. (Ms. Name earned the Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory and the Bachelor of Arts from Yale University. She studied chamber music with...)
For an example of a bio that uses this structure, see the website of conductor Stephen Mulligan.
Additional guidelines for writing musician bios:
- Bios That Inspire, by Gerald Klickstein
- Bios for Classical Performers, from the New England Conservatory
- Why Do You Need a Bio? by Dan Kimpel
Peabody students who need help creating written material for courses can sign up for tutoring.
Current and former employers make ideal references, as do colleagues with whom you work professionally. Your instructors are also valuable references but may be viewed as your advocates; if possible, avoid including too many instructors on any reference list.
- Sample Reference List
- Reference List Template from Microsoft (view format examples; avoid downloading)
- How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy, via the Univ. of Michigan
- Sample teaching philosophy statements - 4 examples from Yale University
- Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement, via Iowa State University