Art Auction House Cover Letter

Gallery Assistant Cover Letter

Gallery Assistants aid staff members with administrative and creative tasks, performing duties ranging from managing correspondence to monitoring visitors. They are usually in charge of special events, as well as the safety of the gallery’s collection and computer systems, and they may assist in the setting up and breaking down of exhibits, as well as the coordination of on and off-site events.

A cover letter is a form of communication that acts like a dialogue with your prospective employer before you ever even meet him or her. It can be a great way to offer up your skills and experience so as to stand out from other candidates who are applying for the same job.

Job descriptions for Gallery Assistants showcase such duties as:

  • Assisting clients during sale viewings and on sale days
  • Showing clients property that is on display
  • Answering general inquiries about sales and property
  • Assisting security in the viewing areas

A sample cover letter for a Gallery Assistant that expresses the skills and expertise required for the role is shown below. Also, be sure to check out our extensive Gallery Assistant resume samples.

Dear Ms. Agnes Hamilton:

The description you posted for a Gallery Assistant matches my interests and qualifications perfectly.

With a strong background in fine art and former experience as a gallery assistant, I am confident that I would be a successful part of your team. Having worked for a number of museums and galleries in the past, I have been exposed to a number of aspects of the art world. My experience as Program Coordinator at Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami, Florida demonstrates my capability of working with others through the creative process of production while meeting project deadlines. Also, my education including an MFA in Media Art and MA in Chinese Culture and History have allowed me to learn the nuances of people and have provided me with good investigative and analytical skills that will suit your needs for exceptional customer assistance.

I have a unique international background and have lived in several countries across Europe, South America, and Asia, I have also studied and worked in the US and am currently planning to relocate to New York City. I am fluent in English, Spanish, and German and have familiarity with Portuguese and Mandarin. My extensive cross cultural background makes it easier for me to work successfully with clients of all nationalities.

Some of my key skills include:

  • Creativity, ability to improvise to meet customer needs
  • Strong administrative, communication, and organizational skills
  • Quick learner and self starter with high energy
  • Proficient with the internet and social media

I welcome the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss my candidacy and will contact you to see if we might arrange a time to speak about the position. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Irene Lopez

“Going…going…Sold to the billionaire in the front row!”

Art auctions are the stuff of Hollywood drama, be it spy thrillers or dishy tales of divorce and estate battles. Who could blame anyone for wanting to work in this world of seemingly nonstop glamour? And, if that’s your dream, your goal might be more achievable right now than you might expect.

In 2014, Christie’s auction house hired more than 115 people in the Americas and may surpass that number this year. “It’s a reflection of the growth in the art market overall and increased participation from new and young collectors who have a passion for everything from fine art to design, jewels, watches and wine,” according to the company.

Offering a variety of experiences, auction houses are one of the top employers for those hooked on art. Some jobs don’t require a college degree and many don’t call for a deep knowledge of Picasso’s blue period.

With the help of eight art auction houses—Christie’s, Doyle New York, Phillips, Skinner, Sotheby’s, and Swann Galleries plus online auctioneer Auctionata—here’s some suggestions:

Know What You’re Getting Into
Auction seasons are cyclical and tightly defined, so auction house jobs tend to be marked by periods of insane busyness interspersed with total down time. Specialist positions, in particular, are not for people looking for predictable workweeks. And, as for that glamorous image of the business, experts warn there’s lots of record keeping, some heavy lifting, a bit of client brown-nosing, and unusual amounts of dust.

You’re Not in College Anymore
The same worn tweed jacket or sensible black turtleneck dress worn by teaching assistants at college art history departments isn’t proper attire at many extremely style-conscious auction houses where the clientele can be the Forbes 400.

Consider one top candidate for a job who was brought back repeatedly for interviews due to his smart ideas, but was ultimately not hired. Among other weightier issues, the head of the division said, “Every interview, he carried in a beat-up, dirty, old backpack. He never noticed no one else on the floor had one.”

There’s No Room for Error
In some creative fields, a boss might overlook imprecision in order to get an employee with high energy or a particular knowledge base. An auction house isn’t one of those forgiving fields. One typo in an auction catalogue can make a 1938 Joan Miro a 1968, cutting its value. So there’s zero tolerance for mistakes on applications.

Gregory Reid, vice president and recruitment manager at Christie’s New York, told us, “Misspellings and typos on a resume are a very big turnoff—especially when it’s the candidate’s own name. It always makes me laugh.”

Cast a Wide Net
According to Swann president and principal auctioneer Nicholas D. Lowry, “Swann doesn’t only hire specialists, we employ a whole team of people, from marketing and communications staff, to art handlers, to creative and IT folks. It takes a village.” He added: “We also want to see candidates who are engaged and ask questions during an interview and, of course, have done their homework on our company.”

Be Mobile, and Multilingual
The larger auction houses have several offices worldwide (Phillips, for example, is in Berlin, Zurich, Istanbul and seven other cities), and the willingness of someone to relocate or to get on a plane with little warning is welcome. It helps if you speak the language, whatever it may be.


Burn your backpack, do your research and expect to get dusty.


In the Interview, Talk Long-Term
Auction house employees tend to stay for decades. Trish Walsh, marketing and communications manager at Phillips told us, “People who join us with an interest in being specialists have a strong interest in art as a business, have studied art history and have interned at auction houses and galleries. So they have a good understanding of the business and a strong interest in having a career in an auction house.”

Such devotion can pay off, she noted: “They have an interesting career ladder that takes them from department administrator to cataloguer or registrar to researcher and then specialist. They then build a client base that they enjoy working with and they are very interested in the art and design objects that they work with. It’s a fast-paced, ever-changing and exciting business to work in.”

Don’t Play It Cool…
These are sought-after jobs, so sell yourself and your love of art. Jessica Phillips, human resource and systems administrator at Sotheby’s, said, “We look for candidates who are passionate about the arts. Everyone goes through a rigorous process in his or her knowledge of the art world. We look for applicants who realize the scope [of working in an auction house], who are interested in seeing the art they’ve once studied.” According to Kathleen Doyle, chairman and CEO of Doyle New York, “talented, smart and energetic candidates for employment are drawn to working in the art field because of their passion.”

But Don’t Show Off
Since the odds are someone in the auction house will know more about art or antiques than you do, your master’s in English Regency-period porcelain is not necessarily your best selling point. Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner, for example, said she loves to hear that an applicant has bought art at an auction or online, and the applicant’s ideas for marketing particular pieces online.

(Surprisingly) Be Nice
While many candidates looking for a job in the arts are under the impression that auction houses are snooty, formal, and well-to-do, Mr. Lowry told us, “Swann, like many auction houses, does not follow this model. A family-owned business since 1941, we are all about approachability and customer service, education vs. intimidation. Our team of specialists prides itself on personal relationships.”

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