Writer: D.P. Leighton, Assistant Director - Creative Careers, Career and Professional Development Services
Many art students frequently ask for an arts resume template. The bad news is that there is no standard, mandatory outline for an artist’s resume. The good news is that you don’t have to follow the same format as everyone else. Arts, design, and performance is wonderfully diverse with creative disciplines, career fields, and job positions. However, each field tends to have a unique way of doing things with regard to resumes and application materials.
TELL YOUR STORY
Regardless of age, industry, or experience, all resumes are intended to tell your professional story. Whether you’re applying for a dance apprenticeship or a senior art director, you will need to tell someone your story in a clear and concise way that highlights your education, skills, accomplishments and experiences. We suggest going to our Helpful Handouts page to view resources and checklists for effective resumes. When reading your own resume, put yourself in the shoes of the person hiring you and think about what that resume says about you.
DESIGN AND CREATIVITY
Design and aesthetics are important for creative resumes. Be sure that your resume, cover letter, artist statement, website, portfolio, and all other professional application materials use the same typeface and color palate. You want to be sure that someone can match your cover letter to your resume based on how it looks. Resume templates are discouraged. If it is your first time making a resume, you can start by looking at different resume templates and then make your own in your preferred program. When saving a resume, be sure to save it as a PDF, but be prepared to save in different file formats depending on what the employer asks for. Try to avoid sending a Word document because the formatting might change depending on the user.
Make sure to read through job postings carefully. They will likely ask you for specific information or formatting. Some might ask you for your age, others might ask for a list of references, and others might ask for dates to be numerical rather than spelled out. Follow the directions or you will likely be disqualified as a candidate. If you ever have questions about an application, simply contact that company to ask for clarification. Many people worry that this is unprofessional. To the contrary, it shows that you are invested in the application process and care about what they want.
When it comes to industry specific differences in resume expectations, we encourage you to ask around. Conduct an Informational Interview to learn more about the modern workforce and what people in your field should have in their resume. Since these industries are changing all the time, the best information comes from the people doing the job you want and working in the field you are interested in as well as those that hire them. Use the ASU Mentor Network and ASU’s Alumni on LinkedIn to connect with a professor, graduate, or industry professional in your creative discipline.