Career Planning Guide Links

Career Planning Guide (links will take you to the CLC website)
Chapter 1 – Resumes
Chapter 2 – Cover Letters
Chapter 3 – Portfolios and Personal Websites
Chapter 4 – Managing Your Image
Chapter 5 – Etiquette
Chapter 6 – Networking/Making Connections
Chapter 7 – Job and Internship Search
Chapter 8 – Other Letters
Chapter 9 – Interviews
Chapter 10 – Components of a Job Offer
Chapter 11 – Graduate School

Important Documents for Musicians: How to Write a Musician’s Resume, Repertoire list, and Bio

As a classical musician, we most often focus on aspects of our individual playing and view auditions alone as being the sole factor in landing a job. Auditions are undeniably a very significant part to obtain professional positions, but some other factors also play an important part in getting to this point. Similar to how most jobs require candidates to submit a cover letter and resume, the same often applies for musicians in order to be invited for an audition. Cover letters are not as frequent with musicians, but could potentially be asked for. Sample cover letters can be found here in our Career Planning Guide. For now, I would like to discuss some of the content and steps involved in writing a musician’s resume, repertoire list, and bio.


  • You should start with a header as you would with any other resume: include your name, email address, phone number, address, and LinkedIn url if you have an account. One additional thing to include next to your name is your instrument/voice type. For me, it looks like this: Abbey Atwater, Clarinet
  • In other resumes, next would usually be your education section. Do include this in you resume, but farther down. If you are submitting your resume in hopes of being invited to take an orchestral audition, your performance experience should take precedence and be highlighted further up and your education should be moved down.
  • Your performing experience can be expressed in a variety of ways and ordered differently depending on the significance. Here is how I personally would go about organizing it:
    • Orchestral (or Large Ensemble) Experiences
      • Example:

Section leader, Lawrence University Orchestra, Appleton, WI,                September 2016 – present

  • Chamber Music
  • Solo Performances/Awards Won/Accomplishments
    • Example:

Winner, Lawrence University Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition, Appleton WI             January 2019

  • In these, include any specific leadership positions you may have had (principal, concertmaster, winner- if for a competition) or any auxiliary instruments played (Eb clarinet, English horn). This will be formatted just as other work experience would look like on a resume: position title, company (or ensemble in this case), location, and dates from start to finish.
  • Refrain from listing specific works played (unless relevant like roles for vocalists)- save this for your repertoire list
  • In these experience sections, either chronological or combination-style orders would be appropriate. Either list everything in reverse chronological order or in terms of importance. For example, if you have competed in various competitions and have won a few, placed second in another, and been a finalist in some, prioritize them in that order with the win being the first listed
  • For ensemble experience, try to include ones that were ongoing and not a “one-and-done” sort of deal like with competitions.
  • Next, you can place your education section which includes: school and its location, graduation year, GPA, degree(s), and major(s)/minor(s).
  • Following this is a list of your primary private instructors. All that needs to be included is their name and dates studied. Master classes (that you played in) will come after this with the same information (name and date)
  • You can also include a section for relevant professional organizations (ex: National Association for Music Education, Music Teachers National Association, Sigma Alpha Iota)
  • Try to keep under one page


  • The purpose of a repertoire list is to provide others with all the repertoire you have worked on that you could potentially perform if asked on short notice.
  • Begin with the same heading/contact info as your resume/cover letter
  • As the title suggests, this essentially is a list of all repertoire performed (for vocalists and instrumentalists) and repertoire conducted (for conductors)
    • Works studied can also be included if studied sufficiently and you feel you could perform competently- not just something sight read once
  • Always include these specific kinds of works:
    • Vocalists:
      • Opera roles
      • Musical roles
      • Lieder
      • Other works
    • Instrumentalists:
      • Sonatas/ solo works with piano
      • Unaccompanied works
      • Concertos
      • Chamber works
    • Conductors:
      • Operas
      • Orchestra works
      • Wind band works
      • Chamber works
  • Depending on what is asked in the requirements for the repertoire list, the following can also be included:
    • Method books studied
    • Excerpts studied
    • Music performed in large ensembles (ex: symphonies and other significant works)
    • Repertoire played on auxiliary instruments
  • Can also indicate:
    • If music consisted of a public performance (recital, concert) or if performed by memory
      • Can use different symbols to indicate each of these: + # *
    • Date of performance
    • If you played in a master class/ who specifically you studied the repertoire with
    • What ensemble you performed with
  • Music should be listed in a way that looks professional and appropriate. These are all formats that work and keep them consistent throughout the list)
    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major K. 622
    • Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major K. 622
    • Clarinet Concerto in A major K. 622, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


  • In third person
  • Begin by stating your name, where you are from, and what age you started studying music
  • In the the middle of your bio, mention significant accomplishments including:
    • Solo performances
    • Ensembles performed in
    • Music festivals attended
    • Master classes you have played in
    • Music internships or teaching experiences
    • Leadership positions pertaining to music
    • Performing jobs held in the past
  • You can also mention some background in why you began playing your instrument/singing or any turning points in your musical career
  • At the end mention where you are currently studying, who you are studying with, what year you are, and your plans for next year are if you are graduating
  • If you are out of school, you can also mention where you are currently located and what you are doing (both professionally and/or a fun fact like: “In addition to playing the alto clarinet, Gustav has a passion for cooking and loves taking long walks with his dog, Buddy”)

Below, you can find some additional useful resources and example to help you craft your own!

Abbey Atwater ’19
Career Peer Educator

Cover Letter


Repertoire List


An Interview with an Ambassador

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with former Ambassador and Lawrence alumni Christopher Murray to learn more about life as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) for the State Department. Among his many postings as an FSO, Ambassador Murray has served as the Ambassador to the Congo, Chargé d’affaires in Brussels, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Algiers and Lebanon. Here are some of the key takeaways of our discussion:

The work of an FSO is often predicated upon cultural integration and personal relations…

As a young FSO following the mining industry and transportation network in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ambassador Murray was encouraged to engage with the local community by higher-ranking officers. By integrating with his local community and eventually becoming an officer at his community’s golf club, Ambassador Murray was granted a much more authentic understanding of both the mining industry and those associated with it. For those who are interested in becoming an FSO because they are interested in engaging with foreign cultures and languages, it would seem that doing so is not only possible during one’s career, but necessary—at least as a lower-ranking officer—if one wishes to do their job well.  

FSO’s do have some agency regarding their postings…

FSOs, while carrying out the policies of the Executive Branch, are not supposed to assume independent political stances. Yet, what if one fundamentally disagrees with the politics that they are being asked to represent? Ambassador Murray himself served during a period when many of his colleagues vehemently disagreed with President Reagan’s South Africa policy and he made it clear that, although FSO’s have little agency regarding the policy of the Executive Branch, they do have agency pertaining to where they serve. Most of those FSO’s that disagreed with the U.S.’s South Africa policy simply refused to serve in South Africa.  

Rank isn’t everything…

Ambassador Murray spoke briefly about the promotional culture in the Foreign Service, stating that many young FSO’s fixate on quick promotions and climbing the hierarchical ranks of the State Department. Yet, although Ambassador Murray was granted the highest-ranking position in the Foreign Service, he himself was promoted very slowly throughout the first half of his career. In his experience, however, those who are promoted the quickest are not necessarily those who are the best at their jobs, but rather those who are deployed to countries that are largely hostile to the U.S. For a fulfilling experience as an FSO, Ambassador Murray insists that intrinsic motivation and a certain amount of perspective regarding the promotional system within the State Department are essential.

Internships are ideal…

The Foreign Service, while offering opportunities to extensively engage with politics, languages, and cultures that would otherwise be inaccessible, is also quite demanding. For security reasons, Ambassador Murray was, for example, forced to largely remain inside of his embassy’s compound at multiple postings. Additionally, FSOs are expected to rotate to different posts in different countries every three years. Thus, the Ambassador highly recommended pursuing an internship with the State Department before committing to a career in the Foreign Service. One of the most prominent internships for the State Department is called the “Pathways Internship.” The application for next year’s summer Pathways Internship will be posted on USAJOBS in the coming months. If you have any questions about resumes, interviewing skills, or anything else professional development-related, be sure to schedule an appointment with GLI’s Ty Collins or me by clicking here.  

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Alternatives to Journalism

Print Journalism is quickly being relegated to the past. With the advent of radio, television, and finally the internet, the industry has been left unable to compete with cheaper and more expedient forms of media. The amount of print readers, for example, has been halved in the past two decades. Yet, despite the faltering nature of the print industry, the allure of ink on cheap newspaper still draws many to print journalism. To those individuals I recommend two things: (1) this article about the importance of print journalism and the shortcomings of new media for validation and (2) the remaining paragraphs of this article in which I offer a couple of alternatives to print journalism which demand similar skillsets and interests.


Whereas print journalism is expected to continue to decline, at least in the near future, freelance writing continues to employ more and more writers. Freelance writers are self-employed writers that can be found writing almost anything that can be found online, ranging from New York Times articles to product descriptions for online marketplaces. To learn more about freelancing, follow this link to read my article about some of the finer details of the industry.  

Public Relations

PR specialists pride themselves on their ability to make authentic connections with their customers while skillfully guiding potential customers to their product. Similar to freelancing, public relations also demand a propensity for entrepreneurial strategizing. PR specialists, even those working exclusively through social media, rarely publish content spontaneously and each release is typically statistically analyzed. Compared to freelance, it is arguable that public relations is less writing intensive and more analytics intensive; however, if you have a love for both writing and analytics, this is the perfect job for you. For a more in-depth look at PR in social media, follow this link.


If you are drawn to print journalism for the high level of collaboration between different departments, working in publishing may be the career for you. Compared to print journalism, physical book sales have been making a comeback as of late. To work in the publishing industry in a literary capacity one must be willing to trade their passion for writing with a passion for reading; however, for many, working closely with fellow booklovers in departments ranging form editing to cover-design is worth the trade. For a brief overview of the editing aspect of publishing, click here.

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

The Council on Foreign Relations Summer Internship

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is currently offering a host of internship opportunities for the upcoming summer. Ranging from Latin American Studies and Middle East Geopolitics to Editorial and Circulation, CFR has something for everyone in the GLI community. But what is the Council on Foreign Relations, and what do these internships entail?

              Throughout CFR’s history, it has remained committed to internationalism and political relevance. The founders of CFR first conceptualized the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. During the Great Depression, when U.S. sentiments rose in support of isolationist foreign policy, CFR vehemently argued for internationalism. In CFR’s quarterly journal—Foreign Affairs—George Kennan released his influential” X-Article,” which introduced the idea of the “containment” of the Soviet Union to U.S. the foreign policy apparatus. Since the end of the Cold War, CFR has reoriented itself around new security concerns such as climate change, terrorism, cyber security, and human security. CFR has also integrated domestic policy to its repertoire with the understanding that certain domestic policies, such as education, are especially relevant to U.S. foreign policy. Members of the council on Foreign Relations rank among the most influential diplomatic, political, entrepreneurial, academic and media figures in the world and range from former President Jimmy Carter to George Clooney.

              As one might imagine, an internship with CFR is highly competitive; however, if you manage to land an internship, CFR will ensure that you aren’t just getting coffee. Cybele Mayes-Osterman of College Magazine writes that “The Council on Foreign Relations gives its interns the most close-to-reality experience of working for a political journal” (Source). During their tenure at CFR, interns are assigned a single research project, for which interns work alongside some of the brightest minds in foreign policy and often see their work published in CFR’s journal, Foreign Affairs. In conjunction with their research assignment, interns are invited to attend all Council meetings and round table discussions, ensuring that interns have access to both the professionals with whom they are conducting research and the broader array of council members. CFR demands professionalism and hard work from its interns; however, the personal and intellectual growth, not to mention the $15 per hour payment, makes the internship well worth the work.

              Internship positions for the Summer of 2021 are being filled on a rolling basis and can be found here. To apply, one must submit both a resume and cover letter. Additionally, a short skills-oriented test may be required depending on the position for which one is applying. If you decide to apply and need help with an element of the application (learning about resumes for the first time, interview prep, cover letter clean-up), feel free to schedule a meeting with me, Ty Collins, or any of our other amazing Career Center colleagues here.  

Works Cited

Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations,

Mayes-Osterman, Cybele. “CM’s Guide to the Council on Foreign Relations Internship.” College Magazine, 12 Dec. 2019,

– Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Freelance Writing Careers

              Freelancing is one of the most profitable and secure industries in which one can earn a living from writing, but, the field of freelancing, barring a basic definition, is somewhat obscure. So what do freelancers actually do? And how does one start a career as a freelancer?

              Freelancing, at its most basic, is writing for a brand or an individual on a typically short-term contract. Within the broad industry of freelancing, there are a few subfields that are worth mentioning. Copywriting, largely the most profitable subfield of freelance, is broadly understood as writing for commercial publications. This could mean simply writing descriptions of products in an exciting way, or writing articles for brands that point customers to a certain solution: your product. For those looking to enter the field, copywriting is not only the most lucrative, it also seems to be the most accessible.

              Journalistic writing, in comparison to copy writing, demands extensive experience as a writer and typically a background in writing (English majors, this is your time to shine!). As a freelance journalistic writer, one can find themselves writing for trade magazines and newspapers. This article in the NYT, titles “Why Settle for Boring Glassware?,”  for example, was written by a freelancer. Journalistic freelance has a reputation for paying less than copywriting; however, it is also known to be simply more fun. Most journalistic copywriters focus on a specific niche that they find especially enjoyable, and spend their professional time researching and writing about this niche.

              Creative freelance writing is the final broad sub-category of the industry and can see freelancers do anything from writing for short-story competitions to garnering their own blog, which they sponsor through ad revenue. Compared to the other forms of freelancing, creative is arguably more difficult, as the market is smaller, and it can time to foster a personal brand.

Once you’ve found a subfield that you’re interested in, you might be wondering what you need to do to break into freelancing, and, unfortunately, it isn’t for the faint of heart. As a freelancer, you must be comfortable with rejection. Companies will reject your contract offers thousands of times and they may even reject your writing after they have given you the contract. You must also be comfortable with instability, as the availability of jobs changes from month to month. Yet, if you remained undeterred, there are a few things you can do to soften your entrance into the industry.

  1. Consider your work as that of a business and not of an individual.

If you want to work as a freelancer, it is imperative that you consider your operations to be those of a professional business. Those who casually approach freelancing often undervalue their work and they skimp on the necessary strategic planning that would allow them to find success.

  • Enter the field with a strong network.

If possible, it is ideal to enter the field with a strong network of individuals who are already familiar with some element of your abilities to write/work. This reality often gives professionals transitioning from a parallel industry a leg-up; however, the ability to largely skip the difficult stage of building one’s reputation and list of contacts through cold calls and writing portfolios can make a huge difference.

  • Build your presence online.

Essential for freelance writers, especially those starting out, is some form of online presence that allows interested clients to learn more about your writing ability and your personal style. Such a presence often takes the form of a blog, which houses a series of blog posts, or a freelancing website, which houses a portfolio of your best work. An online presence alone is not enough to find clients; however, when paired with cold calls and other forms of networking, a website adds legitimacy and transparency to one’s freelancing business.

  • Find your niche.

It is important to specialize as a freelance writer. In the field of freelancing, generalists rarely stand a chance against competition that has written about a relatively narrow topic for a long period of time. Thus, it is important to find a niche category of work that is both large enough to be profitable, and interesting enough to occupy the majority of the freelancer’s professional time.

Freelance writing is a truly fascinating industry that provides engaging work for thousands of writers. Yet, as has been hopefully conveyed above, it is a field that requires a strong entrepreneurial skillset and thick skin, in addition to excellent writing skills. If you are truly interested in freelancing as a career, I recommend the blog of “Come Write With Us,” a company started by experienced freelancer Kristan Wong.

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and to work on anything else professional development-related.