Studio Mate Problems - What shall I do?

Resumes - How much is too much info?

ASK Harriete:

When putting together biographical information for a prospective retail venue, is including personal information appropriate? If so, what information should be shared and what information is TMI (too much info)?


Resume Challenged

 Dear Resume Challenged,

Let’s first talk about resumes. A resume for your art/craft career should stick to professional information only. Leave out your birth date, children, husband, pets, and previous occupations.  A one-page resume should make you look focused on your art or craft (even if you have multiple lives as a wife, mother, father, or another occupation that earns money.) Include only the information that is relevant to your art/craft career. If you are just starting out and don’t have anything to list in the categories suggested below, then delete that category (don’t have a category title and leave the space blank). You can enhance your resume by participating in shows sponsored by the Metal Arts Guild, taking on a board of directors position, or teaching a workshop to your peers. Volunteering your time in support of your art community is an excellent way to build your professional experience. 

If your limited professional exposure as an artist or craftsperson will not fill a one-page resume, then create a one paragraph bio instead. This bio should highlight your professional experience in a descriptive and entertaining manner using facts and achievements as much as possible. You may use your non-art education or other work experience but only if it can highlight how this has enhanced your artistic or creative vision. 

Do not include your home or mailing address if this resume will be shown to the general public or shown to collectors by your gallery. These days a phone number, email address, and/or website are adequate information for anyone to contact you.

The education category would include your formal education in the arts.  I personally do not care to see workshops or seminars that you have taken in the education category. A workshop (whether it is two weeks or a weekend) is not extensive enough education to warrant mention on your resume.  It just highlights the weakness of your formal education in craft or art. This last statement runs contrary to advice in a number of books and reflects my personal opinion, so you decide for yourself how relevant your workshop experience is to your current situation.

If you are self-taught, there is no issue. Just skip the education "category" and write about your extensive experience or abilities in the cover letter. 

Exhibitions should be listed with the most recent show first, then listed by years, as necessary. If you have enough shows, the Exhibition category could be further subdivided into solo shows, invitational shows, and juried exhibitions. Juried exhibitions could be further divided into international, national, and regional. Participation in a wholesale/retail craft fair or street fair does not fit in this exhibition category. Instead, you could create a category such as “retail venues.” 

The Publications category should include any books, magazines, or newspapers that included a picture or a review of your work either in a group or solo show. If you have a long list of items in this category, it could be subdivided into books, magazines, and newspapers. Sometimes it is nice to include the name of the juror or curator. 

Writing a review or article is a good way to gain additional professional exposure and experience. Consider building your resume by writing an article for your local guild or arts organization newsletter or other publications to help build your professional credibility in the art community. 

List only public collections such as museum or corporate clients. If you want to list the name of private collectors that own your work on your resume, you should ask their permission first. 

Professional Experience
Your art/craft resume should focus on establishing your credibility as an artist or craft person. Professional experience could include places where you have taught, worked as an artist-in-residence, or given slide lectures.  If you have organized a show or lecture, worked as a volunteer at the local art museum, helped with the installation of an exhibition, or involved in a leadership role with the Metal Arts Guild; all of these experiences enhance your art/craft career and get you out to meet new people and build your resume. List them under Professional Experience.

Professional Memberships
This could include your membership in a local or national Guild, or other art organizations. 

Some resume books suggest listing your hobbies, etc. This is not appropriate for an artist's resume. Skip it, no one cares. 

Here is an excellent resource for finding out more information about resumes.

Resume or  C.V.
A Resume is a summary or condensed version of your professional experience. You might have multiple versions of resumes such as one page, two page, and five page as your career develops.

A C.V. (abbreviation of curriculum vitae, Latin for “course of life”) is usually expected to include everything in your professional life, most often for an academic situation. The terms “resume” and “C.V.” are often used interchangeably. If a gallery asks for a C.V., clarify what they are really expecting, a one-page resume or a complete C.V. 

KEEP YOUR RESUME(s) & C.V. updated – ready at a moment’s notice. When a magazine, gallery, or curator calls for information about your work, they don’t want to hear that your resume isn’t current (it doesn’t sound professional) and they don’t want to wait. They want the information yesterday!

This post was updated on January 5, 2022 

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