Finding art jobs is a difficult task. They are not so plentiful that they are found in the local newspaper. Many types of art jobs, especially those in art history, are scarce. You’ll need to either be Internet savvy so you can find jobs hidden online or be able to network with companies and art professionals in person to sell yourself and market your work.
There are many web sites that cater to those looking to find art careers. Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) is a site that allows you to search for employment in major cities throughout the world. There are often many jobs available for those looking for art and media careers. If graphic design is your niche, All Graphic Design (www.allgraphicdesign.com) is a site that has a variety of jobs in the graphic design field. Creative Hotlist (www.creativehotlist.com) is for all types of artists. You can search for jobs all over the United States and post your resume and portfolio for employers to view. ArtBistro.com is a site dedicated to art and artists. It has a special section for job searches. It features jobs in all types of art. ArtWanted.com is another web site that features a job forum and new jobs in all types of art posted regularly.
If you prefer to do your job search by networking, first decide on an area you want to work in. It’s best to choose a metropolitan area, such as New York or Los Angeles, since the bigger the city, the more jobs you’ll find. Be sure to network with people. If you’re fresh out of college, check with your art instructors and ask for any leads. If you did an internship, let the company that you interned with know that you’re available for work in the field. Attend any art-related events in the area, such as gallery openings and lectures. Check with local museums or galleries to see if they have any openings available. If you’re an artist, see if they are interested in your work. Bring a portfolio along with some business cards. Be sure to sell yourself by letting potential employers know about your education and any unique skills, such as computer design.
If you’re lucky, your hard work sending out resumes will result in an interview. Although you may think the hard part is behind you, think again. A lot of work is involved in preparing for an interview. The better prepared you are, the better your chances are of landing that art career of your dreams.
Remember that especially in this economy, there are many people out of work. That means that likely hundreds of qualified people applied for the same job you’re after. That means you need to work especially hard to sell yourself to a prospective employer and make yourself stand out from the others. Here are some ways to do so.
Do some research beforehand. Check out the company’s web site and see what type of services it provides, what it stands for, how long it has been around, what it offers its employees, etc. Knowing these things can help build credibility with the employer, plus you can come up with intelligent questions to ask. You should also know where you’re going and with whom you’re meeting. Know where the office is and the name and contact information of the person with whom you will be interviewing. Find out how long it takes to get there and where to park. Knowing these things will result in less stress on the day of the interview. Do some planning. Think about common questions you may be asked in the interview and how you would respond to them. Practice with someone else if you feel especially nervous. Get permission from at least three people you can use as references. These are people who can vouch for your work ethic and skills. Choose people who are familiar with your work, such as supervisors, co-workers, or art instructors.
Get there early. Shoot for 15 minutes before the interview. Check your appearance before checking in. Be sure your cell phone is off and that you are not chewing gum. You want to look and act professional. That includes dressing the part. Jeans, shorts, tank tops, and ripped clothing are a no-no. Be sure you bring any required materials. These can include extra resumes, your driver’s license, and a portfolio of your artwork. A portfolio is a must for those looking for art careers. If you have any writing samples, bring those as well. If you graduated recently, especially with a postgraduate degree, it may be a good idea to bring a copy of your degree or transcripts.
Be sure to sell yourself. The interview is about what skills you can bring to a company and why the employer should hire you. Don’t be modest. Be truthful about your accomplishments and why you are different from the other candidates. After the interview, be sure to follow up. Send a letter or e-mail thanking the interviewer and expressing your interest in the position. If you don’t hear back within a week, you can follow up with a phone call to see when a final decision will be made. Interviews can be nerve-wracking and stressful. Each one is a learning experience. Continue to practice and prepare. Practice and preparation will put you at ease and boost your confidence, which will increase your chances of being employed in the art career of your dreams.
Many art jobs, especially higher-level positions, will require applicants to provide personal references. References are people who can provide information about an applicant’s work performance. Employers will often contact references for information about candidates so they can efficiently evaluate candidates. References are especially critical in art careers where there is an incredibly large talent pool.
It’s a good idea to have three to five references that can be used depending on the type of job. Picking references can be difficult, however. You want to be sure the ones you pick will have positive things to say about you and your work ethic. Contact your references first and ask them if you can use them as references. If they are reluctant, find someone else. They may not feel comfortable being a reference for you. You don’t want to have a reference who will say negative things about you and ultimately sabotage your career. Choose from supervisors, co-workers, art instructors, clients, and previous employers who are familiar with your work. For those looking for art careers, use references in art fields who can verify your work, such as gallery owners, fellow artists, and others in the art community.
When you do choose your references, make sure you have their current contact information, especially if they are a past employer or someone you haven’t been in contact with for a while. Employers may ask for names, addresses, phone numbers, job titles, and years known. If an employer asks for this information, the employer will verify it, so make sure it is factual. Falsifying information can prevent you from being hired, as you will be considered a liar.
Letters of reference are sometimes required by employers. Letters are useful because they can be copied and handed out when requested. There is no need to continually ask references each time you want to use them. However, employers may still contact the reference for more information.
When compiling references, you may come across some stumbling blocks. Some companies may prohibit leadership from acting as a reference for those they manage. If you’re leaving your current company on not-so-good terms or your boss is unaware you are leaving, you may not want to use your current boss as a reference. Another thing to remember is that you want to pick references who will give a glowing review about your performance and work history. If you’re not sure what someone will say about you, don’t use that person. Look to those who have given you compliments and rave reviews about your work in the past.
Resumes are the first meeting between the artist and the employer. They are very important for anyone looking for job, even for those seeking art careers. Companies do not have time to interview everyone interested in a job, so they use resumes to eliminate those who do not have sufficient skills or education to perform the job.
Resumes tell employers a lot about you—what you’ve done, what you are currently doing, and what you plan to do with your career. The resume must tell the story of your life quickly and clearly. It must shout out to the employer that you are the one it needs. The purpose of a resume is to get an interview. It must be interesting enough that employers will want to know more about you. Use it to your advantage. Emphasize the good and de-emphasize the bad. However, do not lie or falsify information, as this can get you fired if the company were to find out the truth after you were hired.
Your resume should include basic information about yourself, including contact information so the employer can contact you should it be interested in your skills and experience. It should also include your education and skills. List each employer, from most recent to oldest. Include information such as company, job title, responsibilities, and the dates you held the job. Also include any professional licenses or affiliations, if they are relevant to the job.
Before writing your resume, do some preparation. Make a list of your skills and abilities as well as your work experience. Make sure your contact information (name, address, phone number, and e-mail address) are at the top of the resume. They should be the first thing the employer reads. Next, add education, with the most recent education first. Include degree type and academic honors, if any. Next, add your work experience. Your most current job should go first. Be sure to list your responsibilities and highlight any special skills or achievements. Only include work experience that is relevant to the job for which you are applying. After your work experience, you may want to add any special skills, leadership experience, or membership in professional organizations.
After your resume is written, be sure to review it for any grammatical errors. A simple typo can cause your resume to be tossed in the trash. There is no need to use any fancy paper. Plain white or off-white 8½ x 11-inch paper will do. Keep it simple. Don’t use any graphics, colors, or shading. Print on one side of the paper. Keep the font size at a decent size – 10-14 points will do.
Following these tips and making your resume the best it can be will ensure that your resume gets you the results you want – interviews for the art careers of your dreams.