The potential for boundless creativity is the main reason people go into the arts. They become composers to create beautiful musical scores for theatrical productions; special effects artists and set decorators to build immersive environments and enchant movie-goers; fashion designers to transform fabrics into wondrously wearable garments; comic-book writers and graphic novelists to transport readers into imaginary realms; or visual stylists to ornament merchandise displays in department stores. But all throughout—they pursue arts jobs to unabashedly realize their creative dreams.
Are you a star-gazing idealist or someone who relentlessly scours their mind's eye to materialize their vision? Do you believe that creative goals are achievable through talent and hard work? Then you may want to consider a career in the arts, which encompasses a vast mixture of roles—from art directors and art therapists to writers, dance instructors, and gallerists. Tech savviness will give you an advantage if you want to work in film, television, digital media, and video games, but arts jobs are still available across more traditional industries, including print publishing, manufacturing, and good ol' brick-and-mortar shops.
If you're more visually inclined, dig through our curated selection of visual designer jobs. Or you can tailor your search to other visual-art roles too:
Most arts jobs will require you to have a bachelor's degree. Many students who want to get into the arts opt for a liberal arts degree. This includes majors in literature and theater; dance and studio art; English and communications; history and philosophy; sociology and psychology. By obtaining a liberal arts degree, you're telling employers that you've fostered a strong sense for critical thinking, which is an essential primer for careers in the arts. You may also wish to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Music at a specialized college.
However, you can find positions that don't ask for a bachelor's. These are often seasonal jobs, such as art-handling during busy art fair seasons (where you'll need some training or experience beforehand). Another example could be floral designing, where you'll use your creativity to form ravishing flower arrangements.
Still, you'll need at least your high school diploma or GED, and keep in mind that a liberal arts degree will not only open bigger doors, but also teach you the following skills:
The skills you'll need will depend on the type of arts job you're aiming for, but check out a preview of this career path with these art director job description, animator job description, and creative director job description samples from Monster.
Arts jobs allow for plenty of opportunities to be creative—and that can be reflected on your resume too. So don't be afraid to add stylistic elements that pop—along with some off-kilter typography—to stand out from the crowd. Make sure your descriptions are vivid enough to paint a moving picture with purposeful, declarative sentences. Set aside a section that clearly delineates all the skills, tools, and practical knowledge that may be useful in the position you're applying to. And compile a portfolio that provides a vibrant snapshot of your creations so far.
If you're feeling adrift, browse through our countless resume writing tips to find what you're missing. Or take a look at some specific examples, such as this resume for a graphic designer, this resume for a photographer, and this resume for an actress/actor.
For added zing, throw in a cover letter that showcases your storytelling abilities. Everyone in the arts is a storyteller in one way or another, so scan through Monster's cover letter guidance to work out a unique way to tell yours. You can also draw some inspiration from our artist cover letter and graphic designer cover letter samples.
Salaries and wages in the arts field are largely variable, depending on experience, the industry you're in, and location. For instance, the median salary for an art director is $83,139, while the median hourly rate for a video editor is $22.22. You can find precise pay details for arts positions in your area by using Monster's Salary Tools.
You are visionary, inventive, infinitely creative—and you know you belong in the world of the arts. Don't hold back. Create a profile on Monster to immediately connect with recruiters, receive customized emails, and so much more.