Writing your CV/Resume
by Barbara Burns on April 10, 2017
Just The Facts Ma’am
I was brought up on 1960’s television and as the youngest and only girl, I was outnumbered 2-1 by my two older brothers. That meant I had to suffer through many a war or cop show. Dragnet, an old show where two detectives track down criminals was one of them. The show began with its signature music: “dum-de-dum-dum,” then:
“The story you are about to hear is true:
And, of course, Sgt. Joe Friday played by Jack Webb’s famous business-like catch phrase:
“All we want are the facts, ma’am.”
Well, your CV or resume is all about the facts.
Lets start with a bit of clarification. What is the difference between an artist CV and a resume?
CV or curriculum vitae means course of life. An artist CV is an in depth overview of your professional visual arts career. It’s similar in structure to an employment resume but should only contain what is pertinent to your artistic career. It’s longer than a resume, up to 2-3 pages, and covers your education as well as any other accomplishments like publications, awards, honors, etc. relating to your art career.
A resume is more of a summary, typically one page. Generally speaking, a resume is used in the U.S. and the rest of the world uses a CV. As with many things there are exceptions to this. In the U.S. a CV is used in academia and engineering for instance. Many people use the terms interchangeably. I thought they were the same thing until I looked it up for this article.
You probably have a resume or CV you used to find a job. You’ll be able to glean some of the content from it if you do. Now you need an artist CV. (I will be using the term CV for the rest of this article.)
There are some good resources to help you write an artist’s CV. If you’re an experienced artist with exhibits, sales and other experience, you just have to plug in the relevant information. The Practical Art World website has a 10 step process that’s easy to follow.
But what do you do if you’re just getting started, and you need a CV to apply to an exhibit that wants to know what your experience is? Kind of a catch-22 but there are ways to deal with this. The Practical Art World site has a page that will help you: How to Write an Artist’s CV When You Don’t Have Much (Or Any!) Professional Experience . This page has some very good suggestions on how to create a professional CV for an emerging artist.
Arts Business Info For Artists is another very good site. They break down the needs of a North American based CV and a UK based CV. I think this will be useful to the rest of the world too. There are also some useful tips and guidelines.
I hope these are helpful.