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Student Blogger: Creative resumes for artists

February 8, 2011

Composition by Sarah Alfarhan

Hello, students and recent grads! My name is Sarah, and I am an illustrator.

If you are an art student putting together your resume, you must have wondered whether or not to incorporate your design or drawing skills into your resume. I have applied to 220 jobs and internships so far (possibly more, because not all positions I applied to were written down in my mini ‘Places I Applied To’ notebook!). I want to share my personal experiences with two types of resumes: the standard one-page and the creative resume.

Everyone is familiar with the standard one-page resume. Recently, I talked about writing for resumes and artist statements with my supervisor at the Letterpress shop (where I am currently an intern). She mentioned the College Art Association website, where they have standard guidelines for artists’ resumes. I found it to be very helpful.

The second kind of resume is the ‘creative’ resume, where artists demonstrate their artistic skills. Examples of creative resumes include: a comic page showing the applicant in various work experiences, Hannah Dollery’s screen-printed tea towel displaying info-graphic designs showcasing the applicant’s background and skills, and my very own ‘creative’ resume that functions as a bookmark. I designed it for publishing houses (A bookmark seemed suitable for the bookworms in the publishing industry!), and it’s fully illustrated to highlight my skills and experiences. You can look at my sketches + final bookmark here.

The three things I usually send to each job or internship are a resume, cover letter and link to my online portfolio. I have mostly sent these via e-mail; only a couple internships required me to send my materials through the mail.

So the first question you need to answer before designing your ‘creative’ resume is,“How am I sending it?’ Is it designed to function when it is viewed on a computer monitor just as well as when it’s printed on that fancy paper you bought? Depending on your specific field and how you intend to contact your potential clients,you may or may not need to have a second type of resume.

Here are some questions to take into consideration when designing your resume:

  • How is your potential client going to receive it? Through e-mail or mail?
  • What’s the function of your resume?
  • How relevant is your designed resume to the field you want to work in?

Share your opinions and link to examples of resumes in the comments below!

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