Resume / CV / Exhibition Resume

When people think of career preparation, the resume is usually their first thought. Next to your portfolio or demo reel, the resume / CV / exhibition resume is the most important document when applying for a job, internship, grant or artist opportunity. Depending on your focus, you may not need to have every type of resume, but it is important to be familiar with each.The following page is an overview of authoring considerations for effective resumes. To see RISD resume examples and dive into the details..
Learn more: Resume and Career Essentials Handbook

What is a Resume? 

A resume is typically a one-page document that provides an overview of your relevant education, skills, and experiences as they relate to a job, internship, or similar professional opportunity. The focus should be on highlighting experiences and attributes that make you a good candidate for the position you are applying for.

What is a CV? 

The term ‘CV’ can sometimes be confused or misused, and the use even varies depending on where you are in the world. A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is used predominantly for teaching positions, and occasionally requested for grant and residency applications. In the United States the CV is considered a record of your professional academic career. Outside of the US, a resume is referred to as a CV without any noticeable difference. 

What is an Exhibition Resume? 

This resume serves specifically as a record of your accomplishments as an artist with an emphasis on exhibitions. It’s often provided to galleries and museums but may also be used to apply for grants, fellowships, scholarships, competitions and residencies.

Anatomy of a Resume 

  • Geared towards a RISD student’s first, professional resume. 
  • Name and contact info including portfolio URL. Use large type for your name. 
  • Objective summary. One to two sentences introducing who you are and what your goals are for the coming year. 
  • Education. Stating major and year of graduation. 
  • Experience / Relevant Coursework. List professional experience and/or relevant classes in reverse chronological order (most recent to least recent). 
  • Skills. List relevant skills organized by type. IE: software, art, and professional. 
  • Volunteering, awards, exhibitions, clubs.

Anatomy of a CV

  • Geared towards a RISD student’s first academic CV to be used for teaching applications. For job-related CVs outside of the US, see Resume outline above. 
  • Name and contact info including portfolio URL. Use large type for your name. 
  • Artist summary. (Optional) One to two sentences introducing who you are and what your goals are for the coming year. 
  • Education. Stating major and year of graduation. 
  • Teaching Experience . (Optional) List teaching experience including any TA or instructor positions in reverse chronological order. 
  • Exhibitions. List any showings of your work with title of show, venue, location, dates, etc.
  • Skills. List relevant skills organized by type. IE: software, art, and administrative
  • Volunteering, awards, clubs

Anatomy of an Exhibition Resume 

  • Geared towards a RISD student’s first fine art exhibition resume.
  • Name and contact info including portfolio URL. Use large type for your name. 
  • Artist summary. (Optional) One to two sentences introducing who you are and what your goals are for the coming year. 
  • Education. Stating major and year of graduation. 
  • Exhibitions. List any showings (solo or group) of your work with title of show, venue, location, dates, etc.
  • Awards, Grants, and Residencies. List any artistic awards or residencies with the title and date.
  • Press. List any publications written about you or your work (either print or digital).
  • Experience / Relevant Coursework. (Optional) List professional experience and/or relevant classes in reverse chronological order. 
  • Volunteering, awards, clubs

Resume / CV Tips

  • What to write when starting out: If you haven’t had professional fine art or design experience yet, share your school experience. On campus shows, work study jobs, and your best classes are relevant experience and can be listed as such. 
  • Filter out less important info: Information should be limited to a “need to know” basis. Example: Include descriptions of your past work that are relevant to the opportunity you are pursuing with this resume. 
  • Prioritize the order of info: Information should be prioritized from the top (highest priority) to the bottom of the page (progressively lesser priority). Example: Your name and contact info are the top priority and come first in your resume. 
  • Relevant skills: For artists and designers with a wide range of skills, focus in on the most relevant ones and leave the others out. Too many skills could translate as unfocused for an employer with specific needs. 
  • Design layout considerations: Visual artists and designers should keep their documents simple. Typeface / font selections should be easily legible and use of color should be limited while maintaining strong contrast on a white page. Design layouts should be minimal with generous margins. Your creativity is better demonstrated in your portfolio / demo reel. 
  • Page count: Job and internship-related resumes should be limited to one page. Teaching CVs do not have a page limit. 
  • Recruiting systems: Some design-related companies require a file upload for your resume. In this case, your file will be parsed by a software that looks for keywords from the job listing. Keep your design layout simple and use exact terminology as listed in the job for skills and requirements. 
  • Example Resumes, CVs and more info:
    Learn more: Resume and Career Essentials Handbook