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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.

Resumes & CVs | Cover Letters | Bios | Reference Lists | Teaching Philosophy Statements

Résumés & CVs 

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 in a format comparable to that of a résumé and is commonly used by musicians applying for academic positions. See examples below.

Online resume builders: ResumeGenius.com. MyPerfectResume.com.

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:

Résumé Tips for Music Educators, from NAfME
The CV Doctor, from the Chronicle of Higher Education
"Applying for Faculty Positions," by Gerald Klickstein

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Cover Letters

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.

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Bios

Musicians need bios for websites, concert programs, media promotions, and more. A common length is 150-250 words structured in concise paragraphs. Keep the paragraphs short and apply basic principles of good writing: vary sentence structure and length, employ active verbs, limit your use of adjectives and adverbs, favor shorter over longer words.

  • First Paragraph: Identity statement plus example. "Award-winning pianist Mai Name performs as soloist and chamber musician throughout the US. In recent seasons, she has appeared..."
    • Create a strong yet brief opening paragraph that stands on its own.
       
  • Middle Paragraph(s): Key activities and accomplishments. "Mai Name has performed concerti with the Suncoast and Downunder Symphonies... As a recitalist, she has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall and... Her repertoire encompasses great classics and innovative new works such as... Her awards include top prizes in... "
    • You might focus each of the middle paragraphs on a topic - e.g., one paragraph about solo performances and your repertoire, another about chamber and/or orchestral work, another about prizes, another about community engagement, etc.
       
  • Final Paragraph: Education and background. "Ms. Name earned the Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory, where she was recipient of the XYZ scholarship and studied with... As a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, she worked under..."

Additional guidelines for writing musician bios:

Peabody students who need help creating written material for courses can sign up for tutoring.

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Reference Lists

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.

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 Teaching Philosophy Statements

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