August is American Artist Appreciation Month. As we celebrate great artists who have left their mark, we encourage aspiring artists to pursue their passion. For artists like you, it may be tempting to skimp on your resume and let your portfolio do all the talking. Don't make this mistake. Instead, follow these 10 tips to get your artist resume in tip-top shape.
Don't rely on your portfolio alone
Your portfolio of completed work should complement — or even overshadow — your artist resume, but your portfolio shouldn't replace it altogether. No matter how well your work speaks for itself, employers need to see evidence that you measure up as an employee and an organizational contributor. Invest time, focus, and serious attention in your resume, since some employers look at this document first.
Clarify your goals
Are you asking for a grant? Seeking an exhibition opportunity? Applying for a residency? Or looking for a nine-to-five job? Start with a basic resume template, but adjust your document to fit your goals.
Keep your artist resume simple. Use the fewest possible words for each claim and accomplishment. Check the formal guidelines from your employer to determine acceptable lengths. If you're given a range, stay on the lower end.
List recent accomplishments first
Courses, awards and exhibitions should be listed chronologically. Start with the most recent. Include dates for every entry.
Include your URL
Include a URL for your personal website along with your contact information. Before you submit your resume, double check to make sure your link is active.
List education dates on the left
When you list your degrees, courses and summer sessions, justify your completion dates on the left. This will make your information easier to review and remember.
Not all reviewers will understand or recognize your abbreviations and acronyms, no matter how obvious they are to you. Spell out the full name of each university, program, exhibition, and award.
Create a separate section for collaborations
Break individual and group work into two separate subheadings. Again, keep dates on the left and include the names of all collaborators.
Create separate sections for different types of media
Use distinct subheadings for print projects, TV, online publications including websites and blogs, and radio interviews. Differentiating these will allow hiring managers to focus on your accomplishments that are most applicable to the job.
Emphasize teaching experience
If you're like most working artists, you've spent time in front of the classroom as a teacher or guest lecturer. Document your teaching experience in a distinct section of your resume.