«“Professionalism in one’s artwork has a way of also coming out in presentation and paperwork”. -Lisa Drost, Exhibitions Coordinator, University ...»
Robert R. McComsey Career Development Center
RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS
Appointment Hours: 8:30-12:00pm, 1:00-4:00pm Mon, Tues, & Fri
Walk-In Hours: 10:00-4:00pm Wed & Thurs
“Professionalism in one’s artwork has a way of also coming out in presentation and paperwork”.
-Lisa Drost, Exhibitions Coordinator, University of Miami (in a letter to the editor of ArtCalendar magazine, 5/97) In your field, resumes and cover letters will serve many different purposes. Are you searching for an apprenticeship or internship? Are you submitting your work to a juried show? Do you want to work in a gallery? Are you trying to get a teaching position? Are you a performer working with an agency? Your resume and cover letter will look very different for each of these positions.
General Categories for Artists:
All categories should be listed in order of their relevance to your objective. For example, if you’re interested in getting your work shown in a gallery, list your exhibitions, grants, prizes etc.
prominently. If you want to work as a commercial artist, you would probably not list your exhibitions.
Include name, college address, and permanent address. Add an e-mail address if you use it, and a URL to any website you might want to showcase. Performing artists, you will also add height, weight, eyes, hair color, age, as appropriate to your objective. You will also add your objective in this section, for example: John Smith, Tenor; or John Smith, Comedian.
List Alfred University information first, if that is your most recent college attended. Be sure to indicate your degree (Bachelor/Master of Fine Arts…) and your major(s) and concentration(s). If you’ve attended other colleges or studied abroad, put it into this category. Also, residencies, extended seminars, study abroad or workshops may also appear in this category. If you have permission, consider including the names of your teachers, coaches or faculty members.
If you don’t have much art related experience, or are looking for a design position, this category will be very important. List your artistic skills, software you can use, studio skills, competencies, and anything else that relates to the position you’re seeking.
Obviously, art-related experience is going to be most impressive on your resume. However, if you don’t have any, you need to indicate that you’ve had some sort of work experience even if 1 unrelated. It can sometimes be difficult to figure out what belongs, what doesn’t, and how to word the skills you used. If you are getting frustrated, please come in and talk to one of the counselors at the CDC about how to best express your skills.
Full-time, part-time, internship, volunteer, summer jobs – consider everything fair game on your resume at first. You can be selective after you meet with a counselor to see what’s appropriate.
Include work-study experience, especially if you got it in Harder or Miller.
If you’ve assisted a visiting artist or faculty member, it may be relevant to include here Performing artists, you will have much experience by the time you graduate.
Class projects and assignments can also be listed here, especially for design students. Check with a CDC staff member for ideas on wording.
College-related activities you’ve participated in may have a place on your resume if they relate to your career goals. If you’ve held an office (President, Captain, Inter-Fraternity Council Representative) it will demonstrate leadership and communication skills. If the activity or organization name isn’t self-explanatory, add a line of explanation, e.g. Forest People Outing Club, 2001. Planned excursions across the United States. Depending on the activity, you may want to list it as experience instead of burying it in this category.
If you have won arts-related awards or prizes, list them with a line of explanation. If your honors are scholastic in nature, list them underneath the education section.
Teaching and Lecturing/Presentations:
If you’ve guest lectured anywhere, presented seminars, taught undergraduate classes, taught summer classes to high school students, instructed adults during specialized classes, or taught at a summer camp for the arts, you may want to include it.
Exhibitions: (visual artists) List every place that has shown or handled your work, even if the location has closed since then.
Each entry should include the title of the show, the type of work shown, nature of the show (juried, one-person, second annual…), name, city and state of the gallery or space, and year of the exhibition. If you have many exhibitions to your credit, subdivide them into categories such as one-person, group, juried, or invitational shows.
Performing, stage management, set design credits:
Divide into categories, e.g. musical theatre, choral, theatre, radio, television. You will list only your title, the production and the location, usually not any descriptive text.
Head shots: (performing artists) There are several great websites to use if you are just getting started thinking about a headshot to use on the back of your one-page resume. This will be a black-and-white, full page photo shot against a background that compliments your coloring and appearance. Ask your faculty for recommendations to help you get started.
Other categories may include:
Commissions/Freelance work Special Projects Professional Affiliations Collections (names of major collectors, cities in which they are located) Community Activity
The Cover Letter:
Yes, you do need one, even if you’re just handing your resume to someone, or are following up on a tip that someone gave you. It’s a courtesy and is the professional way to do things. An employer may call it a letter of interest, a letter of intent, a statement of goals, or something similar – but it really means a cover letter.
The biggest consideration in writing your cover letter is to refer to the position you’re applying for and tailor your letter directly to it. Mass-produced letters are easy to spot and generally don’t impress.
These guidelines apply to artists seeking jobs, internships, residencies, etc. If you are putting together a packet for gallery representation, there are slightly different guidelines. Please see a counselor at the CDC or talk to one of your professors to get their ideas.
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make with a cover letter (besides typos or other errors) is to be too general. The letter should be an introduction to you, and therefore something no one else can write. Statements like “my previous work experience has given me the skills to succeed as a gallery assistant” are much too vague. This is better: “My concentrations in art history and mixed media sculpture will allow me to knowledgeably answer questions of gallery customers.
Also, my three years of experience in a Manhattan retail sales environment has given me a good foundation in customer service philosophy.” Remember that artists are very sensitive to presentation. An easy way to make a good first impression is to coordinate the paper, fonts, and headings that you use for your resume, cover letter and reference page so that they look like they belong together
Related Services from the CDC:
Put your resume online through Saxon JobLink, via our website.
24-hour resume critiquing service (also for cover letters, thank you letters or any other job search document). Drop it off in person or send your file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resume and cover letter guides in our career library Ask to be on the Art Jobs/Internships e-mail newsletter (email the CDC to be included) Make an appointment for individual assistance with resume/cover letter development
Kieran O’Connor 44 Powell Campus Center, Alfred NY 14802 607-587-1234 email@example.com EDUCATION New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University – Alfred NY Bachelor of Fine Arts expected May 2003, concentration in Functional Ceramic Art Haystack Mountain School of Crafts – Hilltop NC. Scholarship Student summer 2002 Functional ceramic workshop with focus on alterations of wheel thrown pots and the process of once firing using slips and glazes in a soda kiln.
Peters Valley Craft Center - Wayne NJ. Scholarship Student summer 2001 Functional ceramic workshop with focus on alterations of wheel thrown pots and ash glazes.
EXPERIENCE International Museum of Ceramic Art – Alfred NY. Museum Assistant, 1999-present Daily involvement with accessioning, packing and storing ceramic works.
Assist in exhibition publicity, preparation and setup.
Greet and talk with visitors from all over the world.
Division of Ceramics – Alfred University. Liberal Arts Pottery Teacher’s Assistant, 2001 Prepared all glaze and raw materials; responsible for all glaze and bisque firings.
Maintained a clean and organized studio.
Assisted in class discussions and demonstrations.
Provided individual assistance with technical and conceptual problems with pottery making.
Long Lake Camp for the Arts – Long Lake, NY, Summer 1999 Photography Instructor – Summer 1999 Developed and taught traditional photography courses as well as courses focused on alternative processing and photographic use in mixed media.
Organized field trips focused on photography and site-specific sculpture.
Maintained an organized and clean studio environment.
ARTISTIC SKILLSCeramics: Throwing; handbuilding, firing electric, gas, salt, soda and wood kilns; ceramic raw materials and ceramic science;
kiln maintenance, repair and building; and individualistic expression in functional ceramics.
Glass: Technical competence in hot and kiln casting techniques; leading, firing and staining flat glass; slumping and fusing;
basic knowledge of glass-blowing; some lampworking skills Metal: Casting aluminum, bronze and iron; basic skills in welding, torch cutting and finishing of metals
EXHIBITIONSPotluck – Robert Turner Gallery, Alfred University, 2002 Group exhibition of functional ceramic work I Fired My Teacher – Robert Turner Gallery, Alfred University, 2002 Group exhibition of functional ceramic work Alfred University Summer Show – Fosdick Nelson Gallery, 2001 Faculty chosen student work. Ceramic doll sculptures and teapot.
Permanent Display - Robert R. McComsey Career Development Center, Alfred University Ceramic Sculpture Madd Hatter’s Tea Party – Portland, ME, 1999 and 2000 First place photography, Second place sculpture, Honorable Mention drawing
KATHLEEN H. MORENO EDUCATION Alfred University, School of Art and Design, Alfred NY Bachelor of Fine Arts degree candidate, May 2003 Concentration: Graphic Design BRNO University of Technology, Prague, Czech Republic Study Abroad – took courses in graphic design and product design, Spring 2000 EXPERIENCE Diane Tivoli Branding and Identity, Columbus OH Design Intern, Summer 2002 Assisted design staff with projects including package design corporate identity, and web design.
Researched target audiences, outlined individual solutions and assisted in client presentations Department of 2-D Studies, Alfred University Computer Graphics Lab Supervisor, Academic Years 2001-03 Administrated and coordinated the use of the computer lab Served as Technical Consultant and provided assistance to students and faculty Assisted faculty in developing graphic presentations Ballibay Camp for the Arts, Ballibay PA Instructor/Counselor in Graphic Design, Summer 2000 Designed and taught courses in graphic design, digital printmaking, airbrushing, and print design to teenagers
TECHNICAL SKILLSAdobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premier, Adobe Director, Aldus Pagemaker, QuarkXPress, Macromedia Freehand, Dreamweaver, SoundEdit 16, Advanced Typography, Toast, Streamline, HTML programming, Windows ’99, Microsoft Excel, Access, Word, Publisher.
ACTIVITIES Student Senate – Finance Chair, 2001 Develop and administer budget for 60 student organizations Women’s Varsity Soccer, 2000-present. Captain 2002 American Red Cross Blood Drive volunteer, 1997-present
EDUCATION Alfred University, Alfred NY May 2003 Bachelor of Fine Art, Minor in Education. Concentrations: Ceramics, Photography and Painting New York State Initial Certification in Art Education, K-12
TEACHING EXPERIENCEWayland-Cohocton Central School, Wayland NY January – May 2003 Student Teacher, High School Art (grades 7-10) Prepared lesson plans for painting, drawing, sculpture, and graphic design courses Designed photography unit in which students developed their own black and white photography Integrated topics in science, history and mathematics.
Andover Central School, Andover NY October 2002 Practicum Teacher, Elementary Art Observed lessons in calligraphy, puppet making and mixed media Guided an outdoor art education workshop for students Zoar Valley Girl Scout Camp, Springville NY Summer 2002 Photography Instructor Developed and taught lessons in black and white photography for girls ages 12-18 Served as a cabin counselor; supervised girls after structured activities were over
RELATED EXPERIENCEPhotographer Cameron Peterson, Buffalo NY Summer 2001 Artist Assistant Internship Completed studio activities and maintenance; installed and took down exhibitions.
Represented Mr. Peterson at various festivals in the Buffalo area.