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Head, Warren D. Allen Music Library
Creating a resume, vita, cover letter, statement of purpose -- all of these career-related documents are so important, and yet many of the resources available fail to address the need of musicians. Let's define a few terms:
- A resume is generally one to two pages long; focuses on your career highlights; meant to serve as an executive summary of your education, work history, and accomplishments.
- A curriculum vitae (CV) is longer; the term vitae is Latin for "life," and this document provides your professional and/or academic life. A university faculty member's vitae may be 15 pages or longer, depending on their publication and presentation record.
- Position advertisements frequently request a resume and cover letter or a CV and a cover letter or letter of application. The cover letter is an opportunity to address how your qualifications and experience meet those of the hiring entity. ALWAYS write a new cover letter for each position.
- School districts and graduate schools may request you submit a statement of purpose. While the short answer is often "to get into grad school" or "to get this job," the statement of purpose is an opportunity to present your long-term goals and how grad school or a particular position fits into those long-term goals.
Important points for all of these documents:
- Proofread!! Misspellings and typos demonstrate a lack of attention to detail; after all, if something is spelled incorrectly, will the applicant pay attention to more important details in the position or in graduate school?
- Review requirements carefully. If you're applying for graduate school and hoping to land a teaching assistantship, be sure to list any teaching experience or observations you've had in the past.
- Do not include an "objective" block in your resume or cover letter. You could use that valuable real estate on the page for other purposes!