Advice Clinic

How To Write A CV

23rd November 2018

We know what you’re thinking. Musicians don’t need CVs. They get jobs by swaggering up to the stage door, slipping the bouncer a tenner and blagging the drum gig on the strength of their tattoos and stick-twirls. Actually, as an industry professional, you’ll be asked for your CV all the time – and scrawling ‘gizza job’ on a beermat with lipstick won’t cut it. Here’s how to do your résumé right.

Don’t give them your life story

Music professionals are busy people, and they don’t need to know about your work placement at that donkey sanctuary. If your CV is starting to look like Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix, go through it with a highlighter, editing the waffle and cutting any entry that isn’t relevant. Two A4 pages is the upper limit.

Make it neat and tidy

You might be a dreadlocked shock-rocker who spends the gig daubing yourself in goat’s blood – but you still need a presentable CV. Use the same professional, easy-to-read font throughout and break up overwhelming blocks of text with paragraphs and subheads. Typos are the cardinal sin – and get an egghead mate to check your apostrophes.

Break it down

Whatever job you’re shooting for, you CV needs to tick certain boxes. Most important is employment history, kicking off with your most recent posts. But, you also need to list education and qualifications, flag up skills or specialist knowledge that will help in the role, and mention related hobbies and interests. References are vital (choose one from work and another from an academic setting) and don’t forget to include professional contact details (time to lose that arsemonkey69 Gmail address).

One size doesn’t fit all

It takes a little more time and effort than the old copy ‘n’ paste, but it’s worth tailoring your CV to target the specific job you’re applying for. If you’re gunning for a live music-related role, put your festival experience front and centre. If you’re hoping to break into a music promotions company, shine the spotlight on your marketing skills.

Don’t forget the personal statement

If you’re not careful, your CV can end up sounding stiff and robotic, suggesting that you have all the personality of a set of patio furniture. Your personal statement is your chance to show a bit of character, stand out from the pack and announce yourself as someone that a prospective employer will want around.



Henry Yates

Henry Yates is a freelance journalist who has written for music magazines including Classic Rock, Total Guitar, Guitarist, NME and Metal Hammer, and brands including V Festival, Download, Epiphone, Yamaha, Roland and Universal. His proudest career moment was meeting Jimmy Page - and his toughest assignment was interviewing Pharrell Williams."