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Powerful Resume Tips for Artists

When it comes to landing the job of your dreams, one of the most important tool in your arsenal is a strong resume.  Your resume is often a prospective employer’s first glimpse into what you are capable of.  A good resume can set you apart from the crowd even if your grades and experience may be a little lacking.   


Don’t push the envelope too much with style.

Any hiring manager will tell you that sorting through piles of resumes that all look virtually identical can be excruciating.  Sometimes a bold, professional font or unexpected graphic element can engage a resume reviewer.  But, some artists take this too far.  Too many bells and whistles can signal that you are under qualified for the position and are trying to distract the reviewer or it can signal that you lack a filter causing the hiring manager to question your taste level.  To assess the appropriate amount of flair to include in your resume, check out the social media accounts and website of the company.  Gauging the visual style of your potential employer can give you a good idea of the company culture.


Don’t include too much information about jobs you’ve had unrelated to the position you are applying for.

You may have an expansive military career or may have spent years in retail before kicking off your career in the art world.  While this experience is commendable, and you should absolutely include a brief summary of the main job duties and highlights of your achievements in these prior transferable skills, it is unadvisable to spend more than 10% of the value space on your resume covering experiences that are unrelated to the job you want.  Instead, use the space to focus on projects you have done directly related to the job you are applying for.  


Include a references section IF you have references that are industry leaders.

Conventional wisdom has now shifted away from including a references section directly on your resume and instead advises that you include a statement that you will provide references upon request.  However, when you are trying to break into a new field, and don’t have a lot of relevant experience, your references can be one of the most important parts of your resume.  If you have a network of industry leaders that are familiar with your work and can provide a reference for you, other companies will take notice and be much more interested in meeting you in person and viewing your portfolio.


Include a link to your online portfolio.

Some artists make the mistake of assuming that hiring managers are not interested in viewing applicant portfolios until the interview.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Hiring managers want to hire the best candidate for the job with the least effort possible.  If they are able to assess the quality of a candidate’s work before the interview, they can save valuable time.  If at all possible, send an electronic version of your resume to your prospective employer that prominently features a link to your online portfolio.  Make sure to keep your portfolio up to date, easy to navigate, and easy to view.