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What to Include in an Art Resume

When crafting an art resume, you should provide a selective overview of your artistic and professional accomplishments, education, affiliations, and future aspirations. Of course, every art resume isn't crafted the same since what you need to include can vary based upon the specific field you're going into and your past project involvement. Likewise, aside from how much experience you have, whether you're applying for an apprenticeship or a master position makes a difference as well. Generally though, the four components that are included in every resume include the following, as you can see from looking at various art resume samples:
    • Summary statement
    • Education
    • Work experience
    • Skills

    If you glance through many of the art resume samples, you'll notice two primary formats: One is the chronological format, and the other is the functional one. As its name implies, the chronological one is all about order. All items in this type of resume are listed according to date from the most recent to the earliest. The functional option, however, provides you with more flexibility. This option is usually ordered by importance with your most significant skills, abilities, and achievements listed first. It is, arguably, the more creative of the two types of resumes, and as such, it is usually the preferred format for artists since it lets them list their artistic history by level of importance. Even if you choose to go with the functional format, you still might want to list certain sections, such as the education section, in chronological order.

How to Write the Art Resume Summary Statement

Begin your art resume summary statement by mentioning the position you're applying for and then educating the employer on why you're a good candidate for the job. This is the section where the employer builds an image or first impression of you so to speak, so make sure you sell yourself by mentioning your best skills and qualities. Let the employer know how you would benefit his or her company and offer any insights into your future career aspirations. Displaying a knowledge and passion for the art industry can show your eagerness and dedication. Think of the summary statement as a sales pitch: you're selling yourself to employers by telling them something that makes you stand out amongst the rest of the applicants and addresses their needs. Check out the summary statements in a few art resume samples to get an idea of structure and tone.

Highly dedicated and skilled Makeup Artist with an exceptional record of customer service and client satisfaction. Proven experience with perceiving individual clients' unique skin tone and corresponding makeup needs and recommending products accordingly. Ability to work well independently or as part of a cosmetology professional team.

Creative and skilled professional Painter with in-depth knowledge of diverse mediums, techniques, and equipment. Experience in commercial, industrial, and residential services. Highly detail-oriented and customer-focused, displays excellent communication skills and possesses willingness to improve techniques and processes through continued training and education.

Multimedia Designer with eight years of experience who's an expert at mentoring and guiding creative teams to surpass client expectations. Dynamic professional with a passion for art, design, and bringing outstanding projects to life.

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How to Write the Art Education Section

List any formal education you've obtained in the education section of the resume and order it from the most recent achievements to the earliest, as you'll find most art resume samples do. If you've obtained a college master's or bachelor's degree, then there's no need to list a high school diploma. However, if you didn't finish college and obtain a degree, you might want to list your high school diploma.
If you didn't necessarily obtain a degree directly related to your art field, then feel free to highlight specific courses that you took that you feel qualify you for the position. It is not uncommon for some art students to actually end up obtaining their degrees in something else if the college they're attending doesn't offer a specific degree in their art. If you've taken any independent art classes, you may list them here as well along with the year that you took them.

How to Write the Art Work Experience Section

List any art work experience that you have in this section, even if it's just an assistant position, such as a painter's assistant. You may list any other jobs you've had in this section as well, but just make sure to demonstrate how the skills you learned in non-art related work could assist you in the position you're applying for.
For instance, you might list a clerical job and explain how you infused creativity into the office by designing a new letterhead for the company. For any jobs that you list, make sure you include a description of the duties you performed and the accomplishments that prove you were valuable to the employer. As shown by good art resume samples, don't simply show a laundry list of work history; rather give details of job duties performed that can be transferred to the position at hand.

Action Verbs to Include in Your Art Resume Work Experience Section

Action verbs are recommended in virtually every type of writing because they convey confidence and get right to the point, which is what you want to do when crafting a resume. Additionally, using action verbs that are related to your profession can also show your experience in your field and give employers a professional impression. Some action verbs you might find in art resume samples include the following:
  • Paint
  • Draw
  • Craft
  • Construct
  • Compose
  • Design
  • Articulate
  • Orchestrate
  • Create
  • Sculpt
  • Form
  • Sketch
  • Illustrate
  • Decorate
  • Depict
  • Modify
  • Measure
  • Research
  • Collect
  • Shade

How to Write the Art Resume Skills Section

Highlight your creative skills in this section and mention any special art-related skills that you have as well. If you have experience with specific artist software, include the name of the software rather than simply writing artist software. Be specific in your skills by writing Paintshop Pro if you have experience in that program or Photoshop if you're skilled in that program. It's okay to include some soft skills as well, such as detail-oriented and organized, if the position you're applying to could benefit from those skills. It's a good idea to look to the job description to get an idea of what types of skills to include. For instance, if the employer states he or she is looking for certain qualities in an applicant, then be sure to include those qualities in your skills section if you possess them. This shows the employer what a good fit you are for the company and that you paid attention to what they're looking for. Generally, good art resume samples provide a mixture of both hard and soft skills.
TIP: Need a cover letter? Click here to view our Art cover letters.

How to Write the Art Grants, Fellowships, Exhibitions, Awards, and Honors Section

While with most resume templates you'll include any awards and honors in the education section, with an art resume, you oftentimes need a separate section for honors, awards, and professional affiliations, especially if you have an extensive list. List any awards, honors, or grants that you've received in this section by level of importance. Likewise, list any fellowships, masterships, or art councils that you're associated with in this section too. Be sure to list the dates you received any awards as well as the dates you joined any association. Also, if you've held any solo or group art showings or exhibitions, list them in this section too.

Should I Include References in my Art Resume

While the general rule in resume writing is to offer references upon request, there are instances when it might be advantageous to include them in art resumes. If you're closely associated with an expert in the art industry, then it would certainly behoove you to list him or her as one of your personal references. However, if you're simply going to be listing past employers in your references list, it's best to leave the list off since that is redundant information. Of course, if the application instructions specify that you should add references, make sure that you do so. Obtain the permission of anyone you write down as a reference beforehand to make sure they're okay with putting forward a recommendation.

Art Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid

    While an art resume is more flexible than some other types of resumes, you still need to ensure that you create a professional document. Some of the following are mistakes to avoid that you won't find in any acceptable art resumes samples:
    • Fancy fonts. While it's important to display your creativity in your art resume, don't do it in the formatting of your resume. Don't use gaudy fonts. Stick to simple and well-known fonts like Arial and Times New Roman. Use a 10- or 12-point font, and always use black font. Never use bright colors that are distracting.
    • Inaccurate dates. A common mistake that people make on resumes is listing inaccurate dates simply because they don't remember the exact dates of their employment or whatever else they're listing. Even if the mistake is unintentional, when employers call to verify your dates of employment, if your dates are off, it can raise questions pertaining to your honest and integrity. If you don't know the exact date, write just what you are sure of, even if it's only the month and year.
    • Listing everything. If you're an artist, chances are you have many works that you can list. Listing everything, however, can span the length of numerous pages, and employers don't necessarily have the time to read through your entire life's history. Instead, select the works and exhibitions that you deem your most important and list them on your resume. Resumes are generally supposed to be a page long at maximum length to provide employers with a quick overview of your professional history and accomplishments.
    • Unoriginal resume. Don't create a generic resume and send it to every company you're applying to. While it's okay to have a template that you follow, strive to make each resume unique to the company from which you're seeking a job. Research the company's mission statement and goals and make it obvious how you would help them achieve those in your resume. This shows the employer that you really want the job since you took the time to learn more about their company and to tailor your resume specifically to them. This also shows a dedication to excellence and a strong work ethic, whereas a general resume can come off as lazy and unprofessional.
    • Errors. This probably seems like a duh tip, but good resumes never have errors in them. While you can run a system spelling and grammar checker on your resume, it's also important for you to manually check it for errors since spelling and grammar checkers don't always pick up on all mistakes. You might want to try reading the resume aloud to determine whether it sounds natural.

Job Prospects in the Art Industry

Jobs in the art industry are only projected to grow approximately 3 percent from 2012 until 2022, which is less than the national average. Factors affecting the amount of jobs in the industry can be influenced by the overall state of the economy. While art museums, galleries, and collectors are always on the lookout for more works to add to their collections, the amount of work for artists depends upon the amount of charitable donations given to the arts, which is directly affected by the ups and downs of the economy.

As is customary for the art industry, competition is projected to remain high among artists due to the fact that there are more qualified candidates than there are jobs available for them. Artists who have additional skills in graphics, media, and technology might experience an edge over the competition.