How to Land a Job in the Art Industry: A Comprehensive Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Assess your interests and skills
  2. Research art industry career paths
  3. Obtain relevant education
  4. Gain experience through internships
  5. Build a strong portfolio
  6. Network with art industry professionals
  7. Apply for art industry jobs
  8. Prepare for art industry job interviews
  9. Consider graduate school
  10. Stay updated with industry trends

If you've ever pondered about how to get a job in art, you're in the right place! This comprehensive guide is your roadmap to landing a job in the art industry, whether you dream of becoming a groundbreaking painter, an innovative graphic designer, or a visionary art director. Let's dive right in!

Assess your Interests and Skills

One of the first steps in embarking on your art career journey is to evaluate your interests and skills. What kind of art do you love? What are you good at? Here's a simple four-step process to help you figure out how to get a job in art that matches your interests and skills:

  1. Identify your art interests: Perhaps you're captivated by the vibrant world of animation or maybe fashion design is more your thing. Jot down all the areas of art that fascinate you.
  2. Highlight your skills: What art skills do you possess? Are you a whiz at sketching, or does your talent lie in crafting beautiful sculptures? Don't limit yourself to just technical skills—soft skills like creativity and problem-solving are equally important in the art world.
  3. Match your skills to your interests: Now, it's time to find the intersection of your interests and skills. This will give you a clearer picture of what art careers could be a good fit for you. For example, if you're interested in animation and have a knack for drawing, becoming an animator could be a viable career path.
  4. Identify areas for improvement: No one is perfect—we all have areas we can improve. Perhaps you love painting but struggle with color theory. That's okay! Identifying these areas gives you a target for further learning and development.

Remember, figuring out how to get a job in art isn't just about finding work—it's about finding work that you love and are good at. So, take your time with this step and be honest with yourself about your interests and skills.

Research Art Industry Career Paths

Now that you have a better grasp of your interests and skills, the next step in figuring out how to get a job in art is to research the various career paths in the art industry. Here's how you can start:

  1. Explore different roles: The art industry is vast with a multitude of roles. From traditional roles like painters and sculptors to digital roles like graphic designers and animators, the possibilities are endless. Spend some time learning about the different roles and what they entail.
  2. Understand the job market: It's equally important to understand the job market for different art careers. Which roles are in high demand? What's the average salary? This information can give you a realistic picture of your potential career path.
  3. Consider your long-term goals: Think about where you want to be in five, ten, or even twenty years. Do you want to be a renowned art director at a major design firm? Or perhaps running your own successful freelance business? Knowing your long-term goals can guide your career path research.

Researching career paths might seem like a daunting task, but it's a crucial step in figuring out how to get a job in art. So grab a cup of tea, find a comfy spot, and start exploring the fascinating world of art careers!

Obtain Relevant Education

Once you've explored the art industry and have a clearer vision of your career path, it's time to focus on obtaining the right education. But where do you start? Let's dive in.

  1. Choose the right program: There are countless art programs out there, from fine art degrees to digital design diplomas. What you choose should align with your career path. So, if your dream job is to become a 3D animator, a degree in animation would be a good fit.
  2. Take relevant courses: Along with your main program, consider taking additional courses that can enhance your skills. For instance, a course in art history can provide context and depth to your work. Or a business course can help if you plan to freelance or run your own art business.
  3. Participate in workshops: Many art schools and community centers offer workshops that can help you refine your skills and learn new techniques. These workshops can be a fun and engaging way to boost your education.

Remember, obtaining the right education is an important step in your journey of how to get a job in art. So don't rush this process. Take your time to research, explore, and choose the best educational path for you. After all, this is your art career we're talking about!

Gain Experience Through Internships

Now that you've got your educational path lined up, it's time to roll up your sleeves and jump into the real world. And there's no better way to do that than through internships. Here's why:

  1. Real world experience: Internships offer hands-on experience. You'll get to put your skills to the test and learn how things work firsthand. It's like a trial run before you start your actual job.
  2. Build your network: An internship allows you to meet and work with professionals in the art industry. These connections can be invaluable when you're looking for job opportunities in the future.
  3. Develop your portfolio: The work you do during your internship can be a great addition to your portfolio. It will show prospective employers that you're capable of producing professional work.

So, are internships the secret ingredient in the recipe of how to get a job in art? Well, they definitely play a key role. So start looking for internships that match your career goals. And remember, every bit of experience counts!

Build a Strong Portfolio

Alright, let's talk about the cornerstone of your art career—your portfolio. This is your golden ticket to showcase your talent, style, and versatility. So how do you create a portfolio that stands out? Here are some pointers:

  1. Showcase your best work: This goes without saying, but always put your best foot forward. Your portfolio should only include the pieces that you're most proud of. Keep it crisp and high-quality.
  2. Include a variety: Show that you can work with different mediums, styles, and themes. This will prove your versatility and adaptability, two traits highly valued in the art industry.
  3. Keep it updated: As you continue to grow and evolve as an artist, so should your portfolio. Regularly add new pieces and remove older ones that no longer represent your current skill level.
  4. Present it professionally: Presentation matters. Organize your portfolio in a neat, user-friendly manner. If it's a digital portfolio, make sure the website is easy to navigate. If it's physical, arrange the pieces in a visually pleasing way.

Remember, your portfolio is the visual representation of your journey of how to get a job in art. It's the first thing that prospective employers will look at, so make sure it leaves a lasting impression!

Network with Art Industry Professionals

Now that you've got your portfolio in check, let's move onto networking. It may sound intimidating, but it's just a fancy term for making friends who share your interests, in this case, art. Here's how you can get started:

  1. Join art communities: Look for local art clubs, online art forums, or social media groups. These communities can provide support, inspiration, and opportunities.
  2. Attend art events: Art galleries, exhibitions, and workshops are great places to meet like-minded people. Plus, they can offer insight into the latest trends and techniques in the art world.
  3. Reach out to professionals: Don’t be afraid to approach artists you admire. Most people are happy to share their experiences and advice. Just remember to be polite and respectful of their time.
  4. Build relationships: Networking isn't about using people for your benefit. It's about building genuine relationships. So, keep in touch with the people you meet, share your experiences, and support each other's work.

Remember, networking isn't a one-off thing. It's a continuous process that can greatly aid your journey on how to get a job in art. After all, in the art world, sometimes it's not just what you know, but who you know.

Apply for Art Industry Jobs

With your skills, experience, and network in place, you're ready to take the next step on how to get a job in art: applying. This might seem like the most nerve-wracking part, but it doesn't have to be. Here's a simple guide to help you out:

  1. Find the right job postings: Look for job advertisements on art-specific job boards, company websites, and even your social media networks. Be mindful of the job requirements and make sure they align with your skills and interests.
  2. Customize your application: Each job is unique, so your application should be too. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job, showcasing your relevant skills and experiences. Don't forget to include your updated portfolio!
  3. Follow application instructions: This might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people overlook this. Make sure to read the job posting thoroughly and follow any application instructions to the letter.
  4. Be patient: After you've sent off your application, all you can do is wait. It might take some time to hear back, so be patient. Use this time to continue developing your skills and networking.

Applying for jobs can feel like a full-time job in itself. But with each application, you're one step closer to landing that art job you've been dreaming of. Remember, it's all part of the process.

Prepare for Art Industry Job Interviews

So, you've sent out your applications and now you're starting to get responses. It's time to start preparing for your interviews. Interviewing for a job in the art industry can be a bit different compared to other fields, but don't worry, here's what you need to know:

  1. Study your potential employer: Take the time to learn about the company or organization you're interviewing with. What's their mission? What type of art do they produce or showcase? The more you know about them, the better you can tailor your responses and show you're a good fit.
  2. Review your portfolio: You'll most likely be asked about your work, so be ready to discuss it in depth. Be able to talk about your creative process, the inspiration behind your pieces, and how your work aligns with the company's style or mission.
  3. Practice common interview questions: While every interview is different, there are some common questions you can expect, like "Why do you want to work here?" or "Tell me about a time when...". Practice your responses, but keep them genuine and personal.
  4. Prepare questions of your own: Interviewing is a two-way street. Come prepared with questions about the company, the team, and the role. This shows you're serious about the job and helps you get a sense of if it's the right fit for you.

Remember, interviews are about more than just proving you're qualified—they're also an opportunity for you to see if the company is the right fit for you. So take a deep breath, you've got this.

Consider Graduate School

So, you've put your best foot forward and you're making progress on your career journey. But maybe you're feeling like you need a bit more to truly shine in the art world. One path you might consider is graduate school.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "More school? Really?" But hear me out. A graduate degree in the arts can provide many benefits:

  1. Deepen your knowledge: Graduate school allows you to dive deeper into your area of interest. Whether it's painting, sculpture, graphic design, or art history, you'll be able to focus on what you love and gain a deeper understanding of it.
  2. Improve your skills: Graduate programs often offer advanced training that can help you refine your art techniques and develop new ones. This can enhance your portfolio and make you more attractive to potential employers.
  3. Expand your network: Graduate school is a great place to meet like-minded individuals and industry professionals. These connections can be invaluable as you navigate the art world.
  4. Boost your credentials: A graduate degree can open up more job opportunities in the art industry, especially for roles that require advanced expertise or leadership skills.

However, graduate school is a big commitment of time and resources, so weigh the pros and cons carefully. As with any major decision, it's all about finding what works best for you in your journey of how to get a job in art.

Okay, so you've assessed your skills, researched career paths, got that shiny degree, and even made some headway into the industry. But the work doesn't stop there. If you want to stay competitive in the art world, it's important to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. And how do you do that? By staying updated with industry trends.

Art, like any industry, is always evolving. Styles come and go, new techniques emerge, and what's considered 'in' today might be 'out' tomorrow. That's why it's important to stay informed. Here are a few ways to do just that:

  1. Follow art blogs and magazines: These publications often cover the latest happenings in the art world. Plus, they're a great source of inspiration!
  2. Attend art events: Exhibitions, workshops, art fairs — these events are not only fun but also a great way to see what's current and up-and-coming in the art world.
  3. Join online forums and social media groups: These platforms allow you to engage with other artists and art enthusiasts. You can discuss trends, share ideas, and even get feedback on your work.
  4. Take continuing education classes or workshops: These can help you stay up-to-date with new techniques and practices in your field of art.

Remember, staying relevant is key when figuring out how to get a job in art. By keeping up with industry trends, you'll not only improve your own art but also show potential employers that you're committed and adaptable—qualities they'll surely appreciate in a candidate.

If you're looking to take the next step in your art career and considering further education, check out the workshop 'Applying for Your MFA (Masters in Fine Art)' by Ciarra K. Walters. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and advice on what to expect and how to prepare for pursuing an MFA degree, which can significantly enhance your chances of landing a job in the art industry.