Arts Careers

“Arts” covers a variety of disciplines — the visual and performing arts, auction houses and museums. Passion, perseverance, and patience are as vital to success as is strategic networking.

Like any other field, there are some larger institutions, theaters and galleries with set hiring timelines. Otherwise, employers hire on an as-needed basis.

Information Gathering

If you are interested in a career in the arts, you must be able to demonstrate to employers that you know your stuff, and that you follow the field closely. Read trade magazines, newsletters, and popular industry websites. Join relevant email lists. Follow industry insiders on social media. Research the types of positions that are available in your field. Vault (available for free to Georgetown students) is a good place to start your search. Company websites, O*NET, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook can also help you learn about the types of jobs in your field.

Select Arts Associations

American Alliance of Museums
Since 1906 the Alliance has been a leader in developing best practices and advocating for museums, as well as providing a host of opportunities to museum staff and volunteers. More than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners benefit from the work of the Alliance.

AIGA, The Professional Association for Design
Founded in 1914 as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, AIGA is now known simply as “AIGA, the professional association for design.”

The American Society of Appraisers
Fosters professional excellence in its membership through education, accreditation, publication and other services with an emphasis on professional ethics to protect the public.

National Art Education Association
Founded in 1947, the National Art Education Association is the leading professional membership organization exclusively for visual arts educators.

Making Connections

Attend employer information sessions, industry events — on and off-campus — and connect with the local chapter of popular professional organizations.

Professional associations host a variety of professional development, educational and networking events. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are sliding scale prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry.

Develop a LinkedIn profile that communicates your personal and professional brand. Joining groups related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask them questions. Reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway, the alumni section of Georgetown’s LinkedIn page, and Georgetown’s Alumni Career Network. Our website provides helpful guidelines on networking, including tips on building your LinkedIn profile. 

Making Connections at Georgetown

Joining a school club is another excellent way to learn more about the arts, develop your skills, and get hands-on experience. Georgetown offers a number of opportunities for Hoyas to get involved. Check out the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society, and The Anthem, to name two.

Join a group based on your personal interest and develop your professional skills. For example, if you are interested in graphic design, you could join Georgetown’s chapter of Amnesty International and work on the communications or design team.

On and off-campus jobs are another excellent way to build skills that employers value. According to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the following are key attributes employers seek in new hires — all qualities Georgetown students have in abundance:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Communication skills (written)
  • Leadership
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical/quantitative skills
  • Communication skills (verbal)
  • Initiative
  • Detail-oriented
  • Flexibility/adaptability

Preparing Your Application Materials

To better understand what skills to highlight on your resume, check out internships, fellowships, and entry-level positions in fashion. Artsearch, HumanitiesDC, New York Foundation for the Arts, Playbill, Indeed and employer websites are great places to research industry opportunities.

Your resume should be one page. Use strong action verbs and focus on your skills and accomplishments to show (not just tell) an employer that you have the required abilities. Be concise. See our resume formatting guide for more tips and advice.

Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities.

The purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you. For more on cover letters, see our cover letter tips.

In the creative industries, you may be required to have a portfolio or “book” of your best work or a website that doubles as your portfolio. You may also need to have a visual resume, either as a supplement to your traditional resume or instead of it. Be sure to research the application requirements in your industry. Check out Vizualize.Me and ResumUP for ideas. Free virtual tools for designing a portfolio include WIX, Behance, Coroflot and FigDig.

Applying

Internships enable you to gain valuable professional experience prior to graduation.

If you are having a difficult time finding a full-time job after graduation you may want to consider a post-graduation internship or fellowship, which is common in these industries, and often leads to full-time employment.

Select Employers and Internships