Can I put "Professional Musician" on my resume?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by SuperDuck, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    As per the advice of my teachers, I'm starting work on my resume now, as I will be graduating from college in the near future. (Well... one more year.)

    When going through the list of my previous employment, I wondered if I had reached the status of "professional musician". I honestly don't know what might be the qualifications for that. Here's what I've got-

    I've done some freelance work that was given to me through referrals, and I've gotten paid for doing it. I've been in several cover bands and bands with original material, and gotten paid in those bands, too. I'm currently in a band that a pretty regular gigging schedule, and we are starting to get paid as well. (We haven't been around very long.) If someone asked for recordings of my playing, I could supply them with several.

    (I'm also working on the premise that the presence of income is one of the determining factors here.)

    On the other hand, I've never earned enough that I could feasibly sustain myself on my musical income. I've never been a "full-time" musician. I've never been signed, or had an agent, or any kind of representation.

    I'm not trying to inflate my own sense of self-satisfaction here, I'm just curious as to what people have put on their resumes in terms of being a musician. Do you think what I have so far would merit me putting that on a resume? Is "Semi-pro Musician" even something one would put on a resume? Does anyone else here have it on their resume?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Yes and no. I'll be going into the field of Architectural Acoustics, and while the bread and butter of my work will be industrial noise reduction, some of it will also be consulting on performance spaces. I was told that putting down that you are a musician can only help. So I guess the real question is, do I put that under occupations, or hobbies? Because I don't think I'll be listing hobbies on my resume. :meh: But I'm still proud of my accomplishments, and would like to put them down somehow. I have never made a resume before. I need experienced advice...
  3. mr e

    mr e

    Nov 17, 2003

    as a technical director of a performing arts center, i, from time to time, converse with acousticians. i couldn't be happier than to be aware of their muscianship as well as their collegiate background.

    chat soon,
  4. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Good to know. :) Thanks Mr. E and Smash.
  5. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Definitely do it, especially if you are planning to work in acoustics.

    Odds are that if this is your first (real) job, you won't have a whole lot of relevant work experience anyway. Many employers will note how well-rounded you are when they see this.

    I put it on there and I will leave it there, as I see it as the second job I do for more love than money.

    Be sure to put in any of the "extra band duties" that you did aside from playing bass - ie, marketing, promo, sound tech, etc.
  6. Definitely put it on the resume.

    I've sold Cd's of my band overseas through our old website therefore I'm an international recording artist. Though the numbers were extremely low it is still true.

    Good luck with the job hunt.
  7. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I'm in the same situation as you, SuperDuck. I'm graduating from college in May and play cover gigs and a freelance gig here and there. I put my band under the "activities" section of my resume, as I don't think most of my prospective employers would consider it a real job, but I still want them to know I have other interests. I'm in electrical engineering by the way.
  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'd say put it on there. If they ask, you tell them that you have been paid to play. Period.

    The thing is, they want you to have some kind of knowledge about the job you're applying for. However, they also realize that you're applying for their job. This might be a leap, but I'd assume that if you're applying for a job, being a professional musician didn't pay as well as what you're applying for. Ain't that the truth???

    Oh...and remove the word "semi" from your vocabulary in this context. You may be unsure, but why project that?
  9. Rope


    May 27, 2003
    Essexville, MI
    In your case, you may want to try something a little non-traditional, in terms of resume format. In addtion to "Work Experience" and "Education", you might want to have a section called "Additional Qualifications." You could list your music background and other related work you may have done (advanced projects at college, building a soundstage for a play, whatever.) I personally have a couple of unusual listings on my resume, mainly to try and separate me from the pack. It is amazing how often these are mentioned in interviews. Quite often these "informal" conversations trigger a little more of a bond than you would normally get in an interview. Again, this is a good thing.
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've always put it down as "self-employed" on my resumes. That way it serves two purposes: First, it appears I'm a self-motivator. Second, if the company is a bit "conservative" they might look down on me being a "musician". If they call me in for an interview, I can better explain myself and project a positive image.

    Fascinating tidbit: My father once got hired for a job because he was a musician. It was for a company that built cable amplifiers. (those little black boxes on cable lines that make sure you get a consistent television picture) The job required soddering boards. They human resources lady told my father that she wasn't going to hire him, but when he told her he was a musician, she knew he had the dexterity in his hands to perform the job. :)
  11. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I work with a girl who puts professional musician on her resume after playing organ for a church twice. But I dunno, she's also a philosphy major, so she needs all she can get...

  12. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Good thing I'll have a degree in the field I am shooting for. I also plan on having one or more internships under my belt by the time I graduate, as well.
  13. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I'd be cautious about using the term "professional muscian" on a resume when you have not actually fully supported yourself with earnings from your work as a musician. I feel using the term "semi-professioanl" would be more accurate, more appropriate and less subject to possible embarrassment should a potential employer question you further.

    These days resumes are checked carefully for accuracy and for "inflated" claims. Anything you say which you cannot verify or support with factual data might cause you to not be offered a position or cause you to lose a job after you are hired if employers believe your claims about your experience are unsubstantiated or are exaggerated.

    Maybe I'm a purist, but I feel a professioanl musician is one who earns most or all of his income from his music and a semi professional is one who earns some of his income from his music, but not most of his income.

    If you are not applying for a position as a pro musician, you do not need to say you are one, because it probably won't get you the position anyway. And if you don't need to be a pro to get the position, why not just be forthcoming and say you are a semi-pro? Honesty is really the best policy with resumes and employment interviews.
  14. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Well, I'm just playing devil's advocate but one could also argue that semi-professional means half-assing it...'re a professional if you're getting paid, right?

    How about just putting musician down?
  15. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I have similar music experience (just more years at it). I put "performing musician" on my resume because I know I'm not a pro and semi-pro doesn't sound very impressive.
  16. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    See, this kind of thing is good to know, too. Honesty is the best policy- please don't think I was asking "Could I get away with calling myself a professional?", it was more along the lines of "What does constitute a 'pro' musician", as I wasn't sure what I should put on my resume. Now I don't know what to think...