How To: Navigate Job Hunting in the Commercial Art World

In today’s increasingly globalised landscape, job hunting can be an international endeavour. Whether you are looking to begin your career, need a change, or are considering your next steps, our international recruiting team share their practical insights on navigating job hunting across the key market hubs of the global commercial art world: 


The United States

  • Where to Look: Start by tapping into online portals like NYFA  and exploring company websites for available roles. Major art world businesses frequently list numerous opportunities that provide a valuable starting point. For positions with smaller or niche organisations, your way in could be through networking and word-of-mouth information.

  • Approaching Prospective Employers: When approaching potential employers in the United States, it’s essential to respect a company’s preferred method of communication. Given our digital age, many prefer emails over in-person applications, especially for the first contact.

  • Your CV: Particularly when just starting out, or looking to break into a new field, your CV (Curriculum Vitae) can make or break your reputation. It is vital to tailor your resume to the role and company you’re applying for, highlighting skills and experiences which align with their needs. From past work experience to academic and professional qualifications, ensure every item on your CV is there for a reason. Senior candidates who have built a name for themselves may see less of a need to present a CV…but we would say, as an easily digestible overview of your professional trajectory, it is aways good to have to hand!  

“A well-thought-out CV accompanied by a detailed cover letter could be your winning ticket to a job interview. The key is to foreground your fit to a role, supported by proof of your potential. Show them your strong communication, self-awareness, and drive in a concise yet compelling way.” Thomas Eilertsen, SML Consultant. New York 


United Kingdom and Europe

  • Networking: Per career tip no.3 from Glen Hardwick–Bruce, founder of Art World Advisory Group and former Director of Continuing Education at Christie’s, “[b]uilding a network is crucial in the art world. You gain exposure, accessing opportunities, establishing collaborations, fostering mentorship, staying informed about industry trends and creating a supportive community.” With open events acting as golden opportunities to interact with and understand the ethos of diverse galleries and institutions, seek out and attend any happenings and gatherings aligned with your personal interests and professional ambitions. Be proactive in following up with connections made, particularly in smaller marketplaces such as Paris, where speculative introductions hold a lot of potential. 
  • Profile-Building: LinkedIn can be your best ally. Keep your profile updated with your education, career history, skills and any stand-out achievements. Upload links and sign-post references wherever possible or available. If the chance presents itself, engage with potential employers and colleagues with enthusiasm and initiative. 
  • Your CV: The best way to get your CV in front of someone with decision making power is through an email or over LinkedIn. In this digital age, especially where we are all conscious of our environmental impact, it is less common to physically print documents and hand them out to prospective employers. We would suggest emailing a hiring manager within an organisation introducing yourself with your CV attached and expressing your interest in their company. 
  • Where to Look: As well as major global jobs boards (LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor etc.), we recommend keeping an eye on local jobs sites like Germany’s or ProfilCulture in France.  

“Remember, finding a job is not only about what you know, but who you know. Reach out to your network, which might include old classmates, teachers, and previous employers or colleagues.” – Charlotte Colley, Senior SML Consultant. London  



  • Where to Look: LinkedIn’s international reach also makes it an effective tool for job hunting in Asia. University career sites, social media platforms, and aggregate sites like HK-AGA provide additional avenues for you to explore.
  • Your CV: Less is more. Maintain a clean and easily navigable layout. Avoid incorporating elements such as a personal photo, excessive colour, or extending beyond two pages. If you’re applying for a role specifically in Hong Kong, keep it concise to a single page.  Always state the nature of your work, for example, whether it was a full-time role or an internship, and specify the duration of your tenure.  
  • Preparation: Should you secure an interview, be sure to do your homework, this goes without saying across any region. Set aside time for a deep dive into the company and its employees. Be prepared to speak not only on topics and trends relevant to the role, the business and their respective specialisms but to show you have familiarised yourself with the team, company structure and your place within it as far as possible. You should also be prepared to demonstrate the skills you have listed on your CV, particularly any language proficiencies if targeting organisations with a global presence.


  • Industry Awareness: Familiarise yourself with art businesses in your region or desired location, understanding their specialisations, structures, and audiences.
  • Career Pathing: Consider short, medium, and long-term goals, identifying necessary skills for career progression.

  • Be Proactive: Actively explore all opportunities and build connections through networking. Take every opportunity to foreground (via your CV, LinkedIn, applications etc.) the skills that will make you stand out: languages and international experience for example. To help anyone considering your candidacy, highlight where you have the right to work and be as informed as possible as to whether you will need a visa or sponsorship and the demands of this process on any prospective employer. 

  • Collaborate with Recruiters: Finding a career in the commercial art world can be a daunting task due to the industry’s demand for specific skills and experience. At SML, our vast industry-specific networks and insider knowledge not only open up a wider range of opportunities, including both published and “hidden” jobs, but also means we are best placed in the field to act as your job search advocates, connecting your skills and experiences with potential employers and helping you stand out in a highly competitive field. 

“As expert guides and sounding-boards, recruiters help steer your job hunt and open doors to opportunities in your desired industry or sector. In the art world, this can be especially useful, given the industry’s demand for specific skills and experience that can be tricky to navigate.” – Joyce Wu, SML Consultant. London 


About SML 

SML is the global market leader in art recruitment. With over 20 years’ experience, we have an established track record of strengthening businesses and placing candidates who shape the international art market. Whether you’re interested in our client services, or you are a candidate seeking employment, click on the links below to learn more about how we can help you. 


Stay tuned for our dedicated ‘How To’ on crafting an exceptional CV! 

Image Credits

  • Souvik Banerjee