Seven Tips on How to Highlight Your Professional Experience on Your Artist CV

Suzy Kopf | April 6, 2023

Is your artist's CV up-to-date?

If you’ve been an exhibiting artist for a few years now, chances are you already have a robust exhibition CV that you’re in the habit of updating regularly with new awards, honors, and solo shows.

But, have you revisited the formatting of your artist curriculum vitae to keep up with the latest trends in organization and design?

Here are our quick tips for presenting your most refined exhibition CV, based on a review of over 25 professional artist CVs.


Be aware of where you place your education in your CV.

If you’ve been out of school for five years or more, put your education at the end, not the beginning of your CV. Instead, begin your exhibitions with your solo shows in reverse chronological order, listing the most recent first exhibition first. Or, depending on the importance, list a section on awards and honors first. 

By de-emphasizing your formal education, you are showing what you have done with your degrees in the time since graduation, which is hopefully more substantial. If you’re a recent grad, it makes sense to start with education since it’s a recent major accomplishment. However, for everyone else, emphasizing where you went to school has fallen out of vogue.


Mention COVID or not, it’s up to you.

If your career was impacted by COVID with a rescheduled residency, or a delayed or canceled show, it’s up to you if you want to include that lost opportunity on your CV. In the short term, as we move to the next stage of the pandemic, it might make sense to mention it. Longer term, as you do more things, canceled exhibitions should be removed from your CV to focus on what you have actually gotten to do.

Link articles in your press section at your own peril.

They told us the internet was forever and in concept, linking to online articles is wonderful and convenient for a resume reader—until the link is dead, and then it’s a potentially negative interaction for someone while considering your qualifications. Some artists work around this by linking to articles in the regularly updated online version of their CV  and not linking them in the PDF they send in with applications. Or, they create PDFs of their articles and link to them on their own website. 


Check out a few examples of a typical artist CV standard outline.

If you are a practicing artist, but not an academic, then this example is for you. 

Take a look at the following artist CV examples written by established art galleries:

Now that you’ve seen a few different examples, it’s clear that they follow a general outline, which we’ve listed below. Start by writing down these subheadings and then filling them in. Try to remember everything that would apply to each subheading. Even a weekend residency deserves to be listed! Always order each subheading’s list in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent date is listed at the top. 


Formality is your friend, but a small dose of personality sets you apart.

CVs are never going to be the most interesting or exciting document, but they can give readers a small preview of your design sensibility alongside all their practical information.

This can be accomplished with a logo, the use of color, or a distinct header. Keep the font of the whole document in something accessible— Arial, Helvetica, Proxima Nova and Times New Roman are classics—and stick to left-justified dates for easy reading.


Organize information to be understood quickly.

This goes without saying for any CV, but especially in a world where AI does the first selection, be sure to think of the easiest way to showcase your accomplishments.

Were you a finalist for the same award three years in a row? Consider listing all the dates and then the award name only once. Have you taught at the same college for 5 years but somewhere else recently for less time? Put the place you’ve been employed longer first to emphasize the length of your experience.


Consider adding some new sections to your artist's CV.

In 2023, artists are including sections that specifically emphasize art fair participation, public commissions, workshops they’ve led, and galleries that represent them for the first time. These kinds of sections speak to new ways of being a working artist that make sense for some individuals alongside the standard education, exhibitions, awards, grants, teaching appointments, public commissions, and press sections we’ve seen for the last twenty years. Add a section with these qualifications if you feel it gives new insight into the direction of your career.


Make your artist's CV easily accessible and online.

Once you've started your CV, make sure to save it so it can be easily accessed and updated.

With Artwork Archive, you can store all your important art documents, along with your CV in one place so that you can access your CV at a moment's notice. You can also record your exhibitions, and gallery history so that you can easily build an exhibition history and record the provenance of each artwork. 

Artwork Archive isn't just a place to catalog your artwork and get organized. Along with documenting all the details of your artwork, you can publish them on the Public Profile and include your CV on that online portfolio as well. 

You can learn more with a free 14-day trial and see how Artwork Archive can help get your art career organized and grow your art business. 

Artwork Archive empowers artists at every stage of their careers with cloud-based digital tools. Try it free for 14 days.

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