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mar.14 {curriculum vitae 101}

Today I have to compile my very first artist's CV and thus I have been doing a little research as far as how to put one of these together.  Most of what I found online is as dry as toast for my right-brained self (cough, cough) and very business-y, so I thought would share with you some basic guidelines and the better tips I've come across in case you are ever in need of whipping one of these up!   I hope these little tidbits are helpful.  These can be applied to general resume writing as well.  Wish me luck!

Basic CV Outline

Contact Information: and short artist statement
Awards and Grants: most recent first
Education and Residencies: art related only, can be optional
Exhibitions: most recent first; YearTitle of Show, Where
Media and Publications: any articles or publications regarding your work
Collections and Commissions: detailing any public or private institutions which own your work
Teaching: a list of any teaching, lecturing or speaking engagements
Curatorial Projects: can be listed in exhibition format or by brief description of the project

Tips and Tricks

Make a Great First Impression

1. Edit carefully.  Read backwards. This is a great editing trick that helps your eye catch errors.

2. Get your CV in early. Establish yourself as a strong candidate early on, and you become the standard by which other applicants are measured.

3. Make it a PDF. While not necessary, sending your CV as a PDF ensures that the formatting remains the same on any computer.

4. It can be more than a page. Don’t sacrifice readability to cram your entire history onto one page. 

5. Sleep on it. After writing your CV, review it carefully, then put it aside for the night. Come to it the next morning with fresh eyes for a final edit.

Communicate Clearly

6. Be strong. Use strong action verbs and resist the urge to make your CV read like a job description.

7. Be positive. Show your enthusiasm in your great attitude.

8. Show, don’t tell. Include facts, and tangible results to demonstrate what you’re capable of.

9. Make it readable. Even the most amazing candidate’s resume will be ignored if it’s too dense, misspelled, or oddly formatted.

Inject a Personal Touch

10. Write a great cover letter. A great cover letter can get your resume read and in some cases can help bolster a weak resume. This is an excellent place to show some personality.

11. Personalize your cover letters and do whatever it takes to start your letter with something other than, “To Whom It May Concern.”

12. Inject some personality. While your relevant abilities are the most important, employers like to know that they’re hiring a well rounded person, with a range of interests and skills. 

13. Show your style.  Using a unique but clean layout that demonstrates your design aesthetic can be a great way to stand out from the crowd.

Do Your Research

14. Quality trumps quantity. By researching applying only to the positions that match your qualifications and career goals, you’ll find greater success and minimize heartache. You’re not looking for any job, you’re looking for the right job.

15. Research, research, research. It’s not enough to do a quick scan of the job listing. Familiarize yourself with the position, the industry, and the employer.

16. Being qualified isn’t good enough. Showing specific knowledge or skills gives you an edge over other candidates who simply meet the minimum requirements.

Get Cozy with Technology

17. Provide links. Don’t just say that you have a blog/Twitter/Pinterest.

18. Reach out through social media. Sending a quick tweet to a company’s Twitter is a great way to convey your enthusiasm and differentiate yourself from the pack.

19. Have a professional email. Use an email address that includes some variation of your name. Register for a new account if necessary.

20. Write something in the message body. Even if sending your cover letter and resume as email attachments, don’t forget to include a short note in the body of the message.

21. Go one step further. Paste your cover letter in the body of the message. This puts your info front and center.

22. Name your files appropriately and clearly.

23. Use a subject line that works. When sending in a CV via email, make sure to use a clear subject line that indicates that you are a job seeker.

24. Create a professional email signature. While your contact info should be on all of your materials, having it in the body of your email as well.

Don’t Forget That Little Things Make a Big Impact

25. Don’t ignore the paper. So much of the job search occurs online that paper resumes are becoming a thing of the past. Nevertheless, there are situations in which a paper resume is required. Make sure it’s on good quality stock, clean and free of damage.

26. Use polite correspondence. Begin and end all messages with “Dear” and “Sincerely.” Don’t forget to thank them for their time in either your cover letter or a short email message.

27. Follow application instructions to the letter. If you send your CV and other materials incomplete or to the wrong place, they stand a chance of getting lost or passed over.

28. Send your CV in with confidence. You’ve earned it!

Good luck with all of your professional dreams and endeavors!



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