Selling yourself

Your curriculum vitae (CV) is a personal marketing tool presenting qualifications, skills and attributes that demonstrate your suitability for a job. It must be accurate, interesting and up-to-date to make the best impression possible and get you noticed. Advice about the best style and layout for a curriculum vitae differs widely. Frequently asked questions include: How many pages should it be? Which font size should I use? Should I list my interests? The final decisions rest with you. Make your curriculum vitae a personal record of your life that promotes you to your best advantage.

If you arc unsure about what to list on your curriculum vitae, start by analyzing the skills and interests you have to offer in relation to your career choice. Your experience in higher education is not just about what you learned from studying, but about your life. Consider your academic achievements, social life, work experience, hobbies and responsibilities. All can provide evidence of the qualities sought by employers. The following checklist will help you to compile the relevant information for your curriculum vitae:

• Contact details

• Personal profile/statement

• Qualifications

• Employment/work experience

• Responsibilities

• Skills/abilities/specialist areas

• Achievements/competitions/awards

• Interests/hobbies

As an artist, consider the visual aspect of your curriculum vitae. Including images of your work will make you memorable to an employer. Think of ways to promote yourself further, perhaps creating a marketing pack that includes a curriculum vitae, business card with contact details, and postcards or photographs of your artwork. Some people send digital visual curriculum vitaes online in the form of a PDF file. Most importantly, always follow up with a phone call to a potential employer. There are many ways of selling yourself effectively and making sure that you stand out from the crowd.

When it is time to enter the world of employment, it may take you a little while to know exactly what you want to do. The following interviews with industry professionals may help you to decide the path you wish to take. Stephanie Pesakoff, from Art Department, describes the role of an illustration agent. David Downton tells of his fascinating life as a fashion illustrator. Lysiane de Royere, from Promostyl, discusses how to illustrate future fashion trends, and Jeffrey Fuluimari tells of his growing empire as a commercially led fashion illustrator.

Fashion illustrators often work on a self-employed, freelance basis whereby (hey arc hired to illustrate specific assignments. Working as a freelancer involves learning to juggle several commissions at once, invoicing clients and managing all administration. Many freelancers gain the representation of a reputable agent, who promotes them. The services of an agent vary depending on the individual illustrator but, in general, they handle all enquiries, portfolio requests, negotiations, scheduling and invoicing. In addition, a good agent maintains portfolios and an agency website with samples of illustrators' work, and perhaps orchestrates agency promotions.

Stephanie Pesakoff is an illustration agent at Art Department, based in New York. Art Department also represents photographers, fashion stylists, hair and make-up artists, and prop and set designers. Stephanie suggests: "An illustrator should have some professional experience under their belt before approaching an agent, as they then have a better idea of the agent's job and more realistic expectations and appreciation of the agent."

It is not easy to get onto the books of Art Department, They receive enquiries from an average of five illustrators a week, yet take on only approximately four new illustrators a year. However, Stephanie says she is "always happy to see new work" and suggests "email contact with jpcg samples is the best way to approach an agency". When looking for the right agent Stephanie advises: "It's a really personal thing. First and foremost, the illustrator should do their homework and learn about various agencies. The illustrator should like the work that an agency represents and also the branding or positioning of the agency. I also think it is really important to meet the owner, or agent, and get a sense of whether you like and trust them as a person. This is someone you might well be speaking with on a daily basis, so I think it's necessary to like each other, 1 think it is appropriate to check around and enquire about the reputation of the agency; you can ask industry people, or even ask the agent if you can speak directly with some artists already on their roster."

When Stephanie is selecting an illustrator to be represented by Art Department, she says: "They must first be nice, communicative and professional people; I then have to love their work. And finally, I think it's important that their style fits in with the look and client base of our agency."

So, how important is fashion illustration in the commercial world? Stephanie states adamantly: "Not important enough! Historically, there is a very rich and varied legacy of fashion illustration, so it seems ironic that, today, illustration is often considered a 'risky' or 'edgy' option. Look at any issue of Vogue from the 1940s and you will find it's all illustration. I still consider a big part of my job to be education. It is surprising how many art directors have never worked with illustration. It's great to be able to enlighten them to all its benefits and possibilities."

Art Department aims to secure freelance projects for illustrators in many areas, including advertising, editorial, design projects, CD covers, book jackets, and so on. When discussing payment, Stephanie says: "It really depends on the project and can vary greatly. We have illustrators earning anywhere from $20,000 to $300,000 a year." If becoming a freelance fashion illustrator appeals to you, Stephanie advises: "Do what you really love, and focus on having an individual and recognizable style. Good luck."

Freelance Freedom Success as a Digital Freelancer

Freelance Freedom Success as a Digital Freelancer

Freelance Freedom - is the perfect introduction to the world of online freelancing. This simple, user-friendly guide will take a complete newbie and walk them through some of the most important topics new freelancers must know: The benefits of freelancing, The drawbacks of freelancing, Choosing your path, Combining skills, Branding yourself, Becoming a specialist, Setting up a website, Social media skills, Finding work, Online freelancing sites and Pricing - How much should I charge.

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Responses

  • ADAM EDWARDS
    How long to wait for illustration agentto reply?
    8 years ago

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