CV Tips for the Art World Candidate

In the competitive art world landscape, a well-crafted CV or resume can be crucial to landing a new job and progressing your career. Whether you are a recent graduate, a seasoned professional, or someone transitioning careers, your resume plays an important role in showcasing your skills, experience, and suitability for a position, and, if you’re not interviewing for a job through a referral or a recruiter, your resume is often a potential employer’s first impression of you.


However, what works in Paris might not have the same impact in New York; understanding regional nuances in resume formatting and content can be key, especially when applying to roles overseas. In this post, we’ll offer general resume tips as well as delve into regional distinctions in formatting across the US, UK, Europe and Asia.


Suzanne Julig, Owner of Suzanne Julig Art Advisory, kindly contributed her valuable insights to this post. Suzanne is a fine art professional with more than three decades of experience, including as a member of senior management at Sotheby’s Institute of Art as well as Christie’s Education, where she served as Career Services Officer. Suzanne was also a Director at three New York galleries before she founded her Art Advisory business in 2008. Over the past several years, she has expanded her expertise to include Career Consulting to provide individuals with the tools to pursue and secure employment in the Art World. Please visit her website for further information about the services offered.


Note: Given our global candidate network, we use the terms “CV” and “Resume” interchangeably throughout this post.


General Tips


“On average, employers spend only about seven seconds reviewing a candidate’s resume, so it is vital the document summarize [key] elements in the most concise and impactful way. It is important to have a summary paragraph at the top, rather than an objective, and it is essential for the professional experience bullet points to be accomplishment-driven, and not just a listing of responsibilities and skills. Significant certifications, honors and awards are good additions to provide a complete picture of what the candidate has to offer.” – Suzanne Julig

Use a Clean, Professional Layout: This enhances readability, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to quickly and easily find the information they need. Simple fonts and clear headings guide the eye naturally and make it easier to scan for key details and achievements. Templates with intricate designs or excessive graphics can sometimes be distracting and can detract from the content of your resume. Additionally, larger companies frequently use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes, and complex designs, graphics, and unusual fonts can confuse those systems, leading to your resume being misread, or even discarded.
Tailor Your Resume: Customize your CV for each position. This need not involve extensive edits; simply rearranging bullet points and positioning skills and experiences that align best with the job requirements toward the top of each section can go a long way in highlighting to an employer that you have the relevant knowledge to be successful in the position.
Keep it Concise: Aim for a one-page resume, especially if you are a recent graduate or have less than ten years of experience. Use bullet points and concise language to convey information most effectively.

“Since clarity and readability are extremely important, less is more. Even for a long career, the resume should ideally not exceed two pages… It is best to focus on accomplishment-driven content that demonstrates the candidate’s unique value, and formatting should be clean, uncluttered and easily skimmed.” – Suzanne Julig

Highlight Achievements: Rather than simply listing your various job duties in prior roles, emphasize your accomplishments and how you added value in those positions. When it makes sense to do so, ensure that you are quantifying your achievements to highlight impact. For example, “Managed the company’s social media accounts and content creation, increasing engagement by 25%” reads more impressively than “Created content for the company’s social media.”
Use Action Verbs: Begin bullet points with strong action verbs to convey proactivity and achievement. For example, “Managed”, “Collaborated”, “Optimized”, “Developed”.
Proofread: Ensure your resume is free from grammatical errors and typos and consider asking a friend or mentor to review it for clarity and coherence.
Regional Differences
United States:


    • Personal information usually includes your full name, contact information, and optionally, a summary or objective statement at the beginning.
    • Reverse chronological order is most common, with your most recent job listed at the top of your experience section.
    • Education details are usually kept brief and includes the degree you obtained, the institution you attended, and your graduation dates. Specific course information should only be included if specifically pertinent to the role for which you are applying.
    • Skills are often presented in a separate section highlighting technical and soft skills related to the job.


United Kingdom:


    • Format is similar to the US, but often includes a personal profile section at the beginning that summarizes key skills and career objectives.
    • It’s a bit more common in the UK to include a section with references or to state that references are available upon request.
    • In terms of length, resumes can extend to two pages, especially for mid-career professionals.


    • Format can vary widely depending on the country, but often follows a functional or skills-based format rather than chronological.
    • CVs in Europe may contain more personal details than are included in the United States or United Kingdom such as date of birth, nationality, and sometimes even a photo.
    • Given the multilingual nature of many European countries, including language proficiency levels is common on European CVs, especially when applying for roles where language skills are crucial. No matter your location or the location of the role to which you are applying, we would recommend to all candidates that they include any languages they are fluent in on their CV, as in the art world it is often advantageous to be multilingual.
    • It is more acceptable within Europe to include hobbies and interests that demonstrate cultural fit or additional skills.


    • Formatting and length can be similar to the US or UK format depending on industry and country.
    • Including a professional photo is standard in some Asian countries, and depending on country, personal information may include more detail such as the candidate’s birth date.
    • Longer resumes are acceptable in some Asian countries, particularly for experienced professionals, as comprehensive details are valued.


Advice on Content


When applying for positions in the commercial art world, such as roles in art galleries, auction houses, and art advisories, your CV or resume should highlight a unique blend of industry-specific skills and experiences.


Suzanne notes that both relevant experience and education are important to spotlight, “but the balance is determined by the profession.” She says, “certain museum or academic roles require a minimum of an MA degree and sometimes a PhD, but there are positions in the art market that might not call for more than a BA. That said, an MA degree in art history, the art market or arts administration is often an asset, both in how it enhances credibility, as well as the expertise provided to the candidate through this higher level of study.”


In addition to education, commercial art world employers look for relevant practical experience and skills. Suzanne advises that the specific skills employers value depend on the role, and it is important to provide additional context via a cover letter. “That said, in the art market, employers might be most interested in candidates who have had a proven track record in sales and/or business getting, working with high-net-worth clients, as well as supporting artists. If the role is more administrative, registrarial or logistical, for example, then precision, organization, efficiency and related qualities might be emphasized.”


Other targeted content such as your knowledge of art history and art market trends, relevant certifications, and mentions of professional affiliations within the art sector will also demonstrate your suitability for art world roles.


Career Transitions


It can be challenging to transition to a career in the commercial art world from another industry. Suzanne advises, “It is important for [these] candidates to clearly show how the professional experience they have acquired in their current industry can be directly applied to roles in the art world, and to describe specific accomplishments that demonstrate this.”


For sales roles in the art world, building relationships with collectors and buyers is crucial, so showcasing your ability to develop client relationships, manage sales processes, and achieve sales targets in prior roles is valuable. In administrative and operational roles where you may manage exhibitions, auctions, or a gallery’s participation in an art fair, strong project management skills are highly valued. When transitioning from another industry to one of these roles, it is helpful to highlight any experience coordinating projects, ensuring adherence to timelines and budgets, and collaborating with colleagues across departments.


For a successful transition, consider also investing time in educating yourself about the art market, art history, and industry trends through courses, certifications, and self-study. Networking within the art world is also vital. Where possible, gaining firsthand experience in galleries, museums, or auction houses through internships, volunteer opportunities, or even part-time roles can provide valuable insights and connections.


By emphasizing your transferable skills, gaining relevant experience, and networking within the art community, you can make a compelling case to potential employers in the art world and increase your chances of a successful transition.


Thank you to Suzanne for sharing her valuable insights with us!


Suzanne Julig Heashot

Suzanne Julig is a fine art professional with more than three decades in the field. Over the past several years she has expanded her expertise to include Career Consulting, to provide individuals with the tools to pursue and secure employment in the art world. From 2015 to 2021, Suzanne was a member of the senior management teams at Sotheby’s Institute of Art as well as at Christie’s Education, where she served as Career Services Officer. Prior to that, she was a Director at three New York galleries, specializing in contemporary as well as American and European art of the 19th and 20th century, before founding her Art Advisory business in 2008. Suzanne has placed works with private, museum and corporate collections, in addition to organizing exhibitions, leading museum and gallery tours, and lecturing to private groups on a variety of art-related topics. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Art History with distinction.


Additional Resources:

Suzanne Julig’s Career Consulting Services

Starting a Career in the Art World

Career Progression in the Art World

Navigating Job Hunting in the Art World


Photo Credits:

Christin Hume
Suzanne Julig