Tips to Write a Good Artist Resume

FT Contributor  | 

An artist is often able to combine their greatest passions with their professional career. However, just because you’re able to establish yourself as a professional artist doesn’t mean jobs are going to simply fall into your lap. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of artist-related jobs is projected to have little to no job growth between 2018 and 2028.

While there will still be thousands of jobs out there, the sparseness of growth means any artist who wants to succeed will need an impressive, robust resume to ensure they stand out from the competition and to help catch the attention of a recruiter.

How to Organize an Artist Resume

While there’s no “one-size-fits-all” formatting solution for a resume, there are several tips and guidelines that can help your resume shine. The following formatting and writing suggestions are designed to help your artist resume pass any pesky applicant tracking systems and still be good enough to stand out from a crowd of other applicants.

Header

The first thing on your resume should be your header. This provides your basic contact information including:

  • Your name.
  • Your physical address.
  • Your email address and phone number.
  • Any applicable links, such as the URL of your portfolio.

Your header should be at the top of your resume and should be either centered or left-aligned.

Introduction

After your header, it’s common to include a brief introduction that highlights any highly applicable experiences, skills, or education that would be appealing to a recruiter. Your introduction should be titled “Objective,” “About Me,” or something similar, and should only be three or four sentences long.

In this section, you can include any personal career objectives that will benefit the employer. You can also highlight specific past employment or education experiences that uniquely qualify you for the position, such as, “Five-plus years working as a freelance artist,” or, “Three-plus years as an Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at Brooklyn Museum.”

Skills

As an artist, your skills are amongst your most prized assets. While you go about listing them in a skills section on your resume, try to categorize them into hard skills and soft skills. Creating a simple bulleted list for each group is an excellent way to keep them neat, orderly, and concise.

Here are a few hard skills to consider:

  • Photoshop.
  • Illustrator.
  • Autodesk.
  • Photography.
  • Sculpting.

Here are a few soft skills to consider:

  • Creative thinking.
  • Hardworking.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Collaboration and communication skills.

Whatever you include, make sure to put the most relevant or unique skills towards the top of each list.

Education

Your education section can be an essential element of your resume, especially if you graduated from a prestigious college, such as Pratt Institute. If that’s the case, you may want to put your education section higher up on your resume. However, if you graduated a long time ago or from a small school, you can leave this further down. For each educational item you list, include the following information:

  • The name of the institution you attended.
  • The name of the degree.
  • The school’s physical location.
  • The years when you attended school.

If you don’t have any formal education to point to, then you may want to consider eliminating this section entirely.

Experience

As an artist, you may want to list jobs (both freelance and full-time), collections, awards, and exhibitions in your resume section. For each experience you list, include the following information, or at least as close to this format as possible:

  • The name of the company, event, or organization.
  • Your job or title while working there.
  • When you worked the position, earned the award, or participated in the show.
  • A handful of applicable achievements from that experience.

If you’re a recent graduate with little to no formal experience, don’t be afraid to highlight any past shows you may have participated in during high school or college. You can also list volunteer and pro bono work as well.

References

If you’re going to include references with your application, do so on a separate document listing the following information for each person:

  • Their name.
  • Their job title.
  • The company they work for.
  • Their phone number.
  • Their email address.
  • Their physical address.

Look for high-quality professional references such as past professors, coworkers, artists you’ve collaborated with, or previous employers. Try to avoid using family and friends unless personal references have been specifically requested.

Artist Resume Writing Tips

Along with the formatting listed above, here are a few other tips to keep in mind as you write:

  • Be specific when listing skills, experiences, and education and include facts and statistics whenever possible — for instance, if you have formal education, make sure to highlight this in detail, whereas if you’re self-taught or a freelancer, make sure to focus on specific examples and skills that help you stand out.
  • Look for keywords in a job description and then try to incorporate them into your resume as you write.
  • Consider using a template like the one included below to help you get started — just make sure to fill in all of your own information.

If you can follow these tips, you’ll be able to provide a clean resume that can pass any ATS screening test.

Preparing Your Art Portfolio

Finally, make sure to prepare an art portfolio as well. This is the piece of your application that can truly showcase what you’re capable of. Your portfolio may include past presentations, collaborations, and any other work from significant events or experiences that you are particularly proud of.

You can host your portfolio on a social platform such as LinkedIn or Instagram or you can even create your own website to showcase your accomplishments. Make sure to link to your portfolio in your header and possibly in your introduction as well.

Artist Resume Sample

If you’re still hesitating about where to start, the sample artist resume below is meant to serve as a helpful starting point:

Drew Brandybuck.
1123 Fork and Spoon Drive
Washington, DC, 20027.
777-890-1235.
mrbrandybuck@gmail.com.
linkedin.com/drew-brandybuck.
Portfolio: DrewBrandybuck.com

ABOUT ME

A highly creative individual with five-plus years working as a freelance artist and three-plus years serving as an Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at Brooklyn Museum.

You can find my full portfolio at DrewBrandybuck.com

SKILLS

Hard skills:

  • Photoshop.
  • Sculpting.
  • Illustrator.

Soft skills:

  • Attention to detail.
  • Creative thinking.
  • Communication skills.

EXPERIENCE

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, Assistant Curator, March 2016 – June 2019.

  • Oversee new installations to the collection.
  • Oversee propositions for new acquisitions for the collection.

EDUCATION

  • School of Art, Pratt Institute, M.A. Fine Arts, New York, 2011.

Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/