I’m a Music Industry CEO. And This Is Why I Tossed Your Resume Into the Trash

The following comes from Lee Parsons, cofounder and CEO of digital distributor Ditto Music.  He recently posted this position online, and compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for landing an interview (and ultimately, a job).  

“I am CEO of Ditto Music, a digital distribution company. Recently we advertised for a customer services / marketing rep at our Nashville office…

I had to work through hundreds of applications so the smallest mistake was enough to make me hit that delete button, and there were some shockers.

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Here are my top 20 tips on keeping your Resume out of the recycle bin and landing that interview.

1. Do be Specific.

If you want to work in music because you think it will be “fun” then you should speak to my CTO who can spend 10 hours a day checking spreadsheets. There are many areas of the industry, decide which one you want to work in and save yourself some time.

2. Don’t tell me ‘I have wanted to work in music since first picking up a guitar.’

Or ‘music is my passion.’ This makes no sense. Do you want to be a musician or do you want to work in the music industry?

3. Do as much research as possible.

Mike in our support team found out what bands his interviewer was into and was able to find common ground instantly.

4. Don’t swear.

The word ‘A-hole’ counts as swearing. If you use this term then you will sound like an A hole.

5. Do include a great title in your email application.

A lot of people forget or just put ‘application.’ Take this opportunity to spark our interest.

6. Don’t name your file ‘My CV’

By the time I have 30 CVs on my desktop named this I have no chance of knowing who is who. Put your name in the file name. Lee Parsons.CV would be fine.

7. Do use PDF files over word files.

These are guaranteed to open on all systems.

8. Don’t think that you can avoid sending a CV by sending a photo.

Yes you are very attractive, but that is not going to be enough to get you an interview. I could write another blog on how bad this application was.

9. Do research our competitors.

We want to know you understand the market.

10. Don’t tell me that you need a 9-5 while you work on your music career.

11. Do mention that you love my company.

Even if you don’t.

12. Don’t, under any circumstances, tell me that you don’t understand what we do but are willing to learn.

It takes 30 seconds to read up on our company.

13. Do keep up-to-date with music industry related blogs, as well as writing your own.

14. Don’t do Liam Neeson impressions via email.

This happened.

15. Do learn about SEO/social media, etc.

Whether you are going for a job as a label rep or a care salesman, a solid understand of marketing will show that you are here to build your clients business.

16. Don’t write and send your cover letter via your iPhone.

I want to think you made the effort to sit down at your computer and write it out. This tells me you probably wrote this on the bus to work this morning.

17. Do keep your Twitter updated.

It’s one of the first things I can check to get an insight into who you are.

18. Don’t try and be too edgy (swearing / Liam Neeson impressions).

Some things don’t translate well over email so be careful.

19. Do mention your experience.

If you don’t have any then seek out internships.  An internship at a major label will mostly involve you making tea.  Pick an exciting startup or label and get as involved as much as possible.

20. Don’t just look online for jobs.

Go to all networking events in your region. 80% of my friends who own companies ended up employing someone they were recommended through someone else.

My job application is still open. If you think you have what it takes and have read this thoroughly, we’d love to hear from you.


– Lee