Update Your Resume

Earlier this year, I posted Get Organized10 ways for Music Therapists to Start the Year Off Right, with 10 suggestions for getting your music therapy life organized. We’ve already cleaned out our email inboxes and cleaned off our desks. So now we’re ready to update our resume or CV.

If you don’t already have a resume, put one together. There are many resources for doing this. Music therapy students or new music therapists should include their education, including practicum placements, internship, and any awards or activities they did in college. Once you’ve been working for a couple of years, you can still list your internship, but remove the other college information (besides location and degree type) unless it specifically targets the position you are soliciting. (Take a look at my media page to see examples of how I list my education and training on my CV.)

How do I know if I should have a resume or a CV?

A resume is a general and concise explanation of your contact information, education, and clinical or work experience. It is one page long, is tailored for each application, and is accompanied by a cover letter that explains what is being sent, who you are sending it to, and who is sending it. Use a resume if the scholarship or job application requests it, and if it seems to best fit the goals of the application or the organization to which you are applying.

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a detailed overview of your professional accomplishments. It is multiple pages with several sections listing your accomplishments and activities in chronological order. Use a CV if the application requests it and start creating it now because if you need one and haven’t made one, it can be tedious to put together. These are mostly used in academia, graduate schools, grant applications, researchers, scholarly authors, or people that have been working for a long time.

Starting your CV

List each activity or accomplishment in chronological order within categories. Here are the categories I use on my CV:

  • Education and Training–music therapy schools and trainings I’ve attended. I list trainings that are longer than the average conference and may come with a special designation (NICU, Hospice, NMT, Analytic, etc.)
  • Current Music Therapy Experience–the job(s) I currently have.
  • Professional Experience–all of the music therapy jobs I’ve ever had.
  • Professional Activities–these include awards, my website, my radio show, presentations, publications, advocacy activities, TV appearances, News articles about my work, Associations I belong to and services that I’ve provided for them.
  • Service to Non-Music Therapy Organizations–any noteworthy non-music therapy activities or organizations I belong to.

If you’re first developing your CV, you might include all the conferences you’ve attended, especially if you’re not yet in the habit of presenting at every conference you attend.

Updating your CV

Look at this document every year and add any activities that occurred over the previous 12 months. It’s much easier to recall things from one year, rather than trying to recall all your events from several years.

If you haven’t started and have several years to catch up on, schedule a time in your calendar to work on this. Set a timer for 15 minutes, or however long your attention span would tolerate, and just get started. Perhaps you’ll need to work on it for 15 minutes each week for a month before you get caught up, but it’s better to have it prepared so that you can just review and tweak when it’s required, rather than create it from scratch on a deadline!

What do you include on your CV?