For most applications you will be asked for some form of résumé or CV
In this post, I am going to break down the difference between an artist résumé, a CV and a business résumé.
All of these varieties are living documents, to be edited and added to as you grow in your career. It is a good idea to make it your practice to edit these documents every time you have another line to add. It’s easy to forget what you have done, so try to update these documents regularly.
I strongly recommend that you do not use an online résumé writing template. These templates are used in business and the formatting is quite different from the needs of an artist.
All these documents should be formatted in such a way that you are able to add to them easily using the same format every time. Resumes list most recent items first, in reverse chronology, going back in time. This helps the reader see where you are now, and then where you have been. Please read the Documentation and Consistency post for clues.
CV: “curriculum vitae” literally means “course of (one’s) life. This document does not get edited- merely added to and is a comprehensive document of your professional experience. Every accomplishment should be listed. After a 40 year career, this document can be many pages long. These documents are usually used in an academic setting. If you end up teaching, this is where your teaching experience would be listed.
Artist Résumé: Sometimes called a “short CV” or artist résumé, you can use your larger CV to curate your experience for a targeted audience. The artist résumé is an abbreviated document, typically one to four pages in length, and is often tailored to reflect a specific expertise. For example, a residency might want to see if you have taught workshops, while a gallery or Museum would prefer only to see your exhibition record. An artist resume is usually used for galleries. Typically one page, an artist resume briefly lists the accomplishments you are most proud of as an artist: exhibitions, residencies, awards and publications. This document gets edited as you gain experience: removing lesser known galleries and adding in the higher caliber or removing group exhibitions as you gain solo exhibitions.
Business Résumé: should you end up working outside the arts, where your exhibition record does not matter, you should create a document listing your working experience only. This is the place you can use an online template. You can list Objectives, and Qualifications summary. These résumés are typically written in paragraph form, giving an explanation of each position held.
CV vs Artist resume: Take all the space you need on a CV, white space is fine, you do not need to save paper. This is the best possible way for you to accurately write down ALL of your experiences. Clarity is the most important thing in this case. The artist resume on the other hand, briefly describes your recent history as an artist. This can include exhibitions, professional affiliations, awards (art related), residencies and commissions. You don’t need to have all the information. Space is at a premium so making sure you have the information organized consistently from one section to another is vital.
*I like to have my CV, resume and artist resume all in a similar format, all the same font and size, so I can easily move information from my CV to my other resumes. This way, I only type the information once. While I condense the space the information takes up in the resume versions, the order of information is the same.
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