Music Listener and Player | Milwaukee, MI | Spring 1998 - present | Salary $0
April 28, 2004 10:49 PM   Subscribe

How do you emphasize non-conventional experience in a resume? [mi]

I'm interested in submitting a resume for a freelance writing job to write about local music and culture. As someone who has played in an established local band for a few years, I have in depth knowledge of the music scene.

The problem is, using traditional resume layouts, there's really no easy way to bring this up, especially since, ideally, I'd rather mention the experience without saying that I play in a band.
posted by drezdn to Work & Money (11 answers total)
The cover letter is the best place to mention it.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:09 PM on April 28, 2004

I'm not sure if I should include a cover letter as the application process is by email only requiring a resume and 2 writing samples. Maybe I can mention it like:


Enclosed is my resume, which you should read because I have an extensive background in Milwaukee music (with years of experience).

Something like that.
posted by drezdn at 11:24 PM on April 28, 2004

Perhaps you should write the email in the same style as a formal cover letter - I think that is how I would apply. That would allow you to tailor the applicaton, and show off yet more of your writing skill.
posted by jb at 11:55 PM on April 28, 2004

I don't know why you'd leave out the fact that you're in a band. It seems like a plus. Are you worried they'll question your objectivity? In addition to your knowledge of the local music scene, it also demonstrates an interest in and knowledge of music in general.

I'd put it on your resume under the heading "Experience" alongside work experience and writing experience (paid or not). I think a cover letter is always necessary. This is where you explain why your experience, education and ability make you perfect for the job. "My experience playing in a local band for X years has given me in-depth knowledge of the Milwaukee music scene." And considering this is for a writing position, the cover letter has to be pretty good.
posted by teg at 12:19 AM on April 29, 2004

Make a section for "Skills" or "extras" or something generic like that, and put in a couple of one line statements in addition to "in depth knowledge of the local music scene".
posted by gd779 at 7:22 AM on April 29, 2004

ditto on not sure why you don't mention the band - otherwise why will they believe you have knowledge?

also, the way i read your question, it's like you think there's one fixed layout for resumes - that's not true in my experience (although i am not in the usa). having said that, what seems to work best is two pages. use the second to give a potted history of your life (normally jobs with descriptions, responsibilites etc) that justifies the claims made on the first. on the first, have three areas, first bullet-point skills that will be on their checklist; second a list of more general skills; third contact details.

so, in your case, first page would list your skills (so many wpm, speak seven languages, whatever); then comes, in the second section, a sentence or two describing your experience in local scene, along with other points describing previous work etc. and experience, justifying that, is on second page.

imaine someone reading your resume. they want someone that meets some basic qualifications. that's what they check for first and that's the first part of the front page. next they want to know what makes you special (second part). if they like it, they're willing to turn the page to check for reasons to believe it's not bullshit. and later, when they want to contact you, having contact details on the front page makes things simpler.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:32 AM on April 29, 2004

I'm not sure if I should include a cover letter as the application process is by email only requiring a resume and 2 writing samples.

Cover letters are not optional, you must include one with every job application. Just write it in the body of the email, like jb. That's pretty standard, since sending a blank email with multiple attachments and the subject like "My Resume" looks a little too much like a virus to presume that it will not just be summarily deleted.
posted by jennyb at 7:45 AM on April 29, 2004

Actually, if you're trying to get a freelance writing gig, I don't know if you even need to send in a resume. Send a pitch letter (in which you mention that you'd have a leg up on other music writers because you've got band experience) and clips.
posted by COBRA! at 8:13 AM on April 29, 2004

I'm not sure if I should include a cover letter as the application process is by email only requiring a resume and 2 writing samples.

Oops. Just saw that part. Still, the 2 writing samples are the more important part. I'd stretch the boundaries of resume form and make the resume as pitch-letter-like as possible. If you can write, it'll get you through.
posted by COBRA! at 8:26 AM on April 29, 2004

What I have found best to get attention to certain skills is a bulleted list at the very top under "Summary of Qualifications". Include one like, "Extensive experience within and knowledge of local music scene". Then in the traiditional job listing section just bullet point specific accomplishments.

Good luck.
posted by karmaville at 9:49 AM on April 29, 2004

I actually wouldn't use the traditional resume form at all, unless your day job is meaningful to the editors in some sense. Do use the e-mail as a cover letter, and do use a cover letter to show them your mad writing skillz. (So don't use the bulleted list form, though that's a great way to do a traditional cover letter.)
posted by pomegranate at 9:53 AM on April 29, 2004

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