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Resumes for Quilting Professionals

Written by Mary Nelson Zadrozny
© 2007-2011 Just Imagine Design & Publications
There are many reasons why it's a good idea to have a resume ready if you are in the quilt world: applying for grants, posting it on your web site to illustrate your credentials, applying for teaching jobs, gallery submissions, book proposals, etc. Quilt artists, teachers, writers, appraisers, judges, anyone who wants to work in a professional capacity in the field may find a resume necessary. (For more information on teaching, check out our booklet A Guide for Teaching Quilt Classes).

The easiest way to create a resume is to start early on. Start a folder to collect all this type of data: every time you get an award, teach a class or take a class/workshop, participate in an exhibition, etc., put a copy of the information in the folder so that you don't forget the details. It is so much easier to write as you go, then try to go back in time to gather all that information after you've been in the field for awhile. Also, it is much easier to have a resume on hand even if it is a rough draft, rather than having to scramble around trying to create one at the last minute when you need it.

Although the quilt world is not nearly as conservative as the main stream business world, some of the basic resume key concepts apply no matter what field you are in. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Your resume should have no spelling or grammatical errors. Be sure to have at least one other person read it instead of just relying on spell check.
2. Your resume should not be too long; one page is best, two at the very most. Less is more. No one wants to sift through pages of information - if you have won 40 awards or taken 40 workshops, just list some of the best ones.
3. Do not list high school education information.
4. Under each heading list information in chronological order with most recent dates first.
5. Never lie on your resume. The quilt world is not that big and it wouldn't be too hard for someone to find out. Plus if you present yourself as someone qualified to do a job when you are not, it most likely will not work out well in the long run.
6. Resumes should be sent out with a well-written, matching cover letter.

A resume for someone in a creative field is allowed more originality in the design than someone who is in a more traditional career. But don't get too casual about it - the design can be unique and eye-catching, but not unprofessional, sloppy, offensive or tacky. Resumes should be printed on the highest quality paper, lazer print if possible.

The format can vary depending on the purpose of your resume, so you might not have a reason to use all the categories listed below. However, here are some of the basic types of information you may want to consider including:

Header Area: Name, address, phone number, email address, fax number, web site address if applicable. Although the order of some of the other categories can be changed, it is best to keep your contact information at the top of the page where people can easily find it.

Objective: List your goal here; a summary of what you want to accomplish with this resume. Particularly important if you are applying for a specific job or a grant. What professional skills are you seeking to promote? What is your area of expertise? (Art quilters may want to call this section "Artist's Statement" and provide a brief summary of their primary work methods and focus.)

Education: This information is best kept to quilt/art related courses and degrees unless your background education would be of some value to the current situation you are applying for. List workshops, classes, independent studies under a particular artist or quilter.

Experience: List full time, part time, internships, free lance and volunteer positions specifically in the quilt/creative field. You can list experience in non-quilting field if it will help show that you are qualified for certain areas. (For example, your non-quilting writing experience maybe be useful for quilt publications.) Include the date, location, and a brief description. If you have more than one category of experience, such as teaching and writing, it is a good idea to separate the experiences into two subsections. If you are applying for a writing job, the interviewer doesn't want to read through all your experience to get an idea of your writing qualifications.

Awards/Honors: List only some of the best ones if you have many.

Collections: List collections that your work is part of.

Exhibitions: List the best ones if you have participated in many. You may want to separate the information into subsections for "Solo" and "Group" exhibitions.

Galleries: List galleries you are affiliated with. Preferably "Current Gallery Representation" depending on the purpose of your resume.

Publications: List publications you have been featured in.

Additional tips:
1. You can add the statement "References and Portfolio available upon request" if you like, however it isn't really necessary. It is assumed that this information will be available if needed.

2. You can customize resumes for different situations, highlighting different aspects depending on the need.

This article is intended to be just a starting place for writing your resume. You can check a variety of places for resume styles and to learn more about them. An internet search will lead you to many sites. Below are a few suggestions to find more information:

General Resumes:
http://career-advice.monster.com/resume-tips/home.aspx?WT.mc_n=SRCH/?s_kwcid=how%20to%20write%20a%20resume%7C735125299 Monster.com
http://damngood.com/index.html Resume and Cover Letter Samples, Tips, from Yana Parker
www.jobbankusa.com/resumewrite/howtowritearesume/ Resume Help - Job Bank USA
www.trincoll.edu/depts/career/guides/resume.shtml Trinity College

Resume Information Specifically for Creative Careers:
www.aroj.com/Sample-Arts-Resume Arts Resume Samples

Many professional quilters and artists have resumes posted on their web sites so you can see how different people have created theirs. There are many books that you can find at your local library or book store with resume styles and information. Below are some available on Amazon.com:

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