A graphic designer’s work involves the creative use of images and letters to communicate ideas and information. This could involve working in advertising or the media, or working within a large, global organization, designing packaging for their products. It’s a very competitive field and recruiters expect to see an above-average resume from job applicants and nothing less due to the creative and design expertise they will expect you to possess.
One really effective technique you can use to gain an edge over other applicants is to include some of the most important keywords used in the job advert in your cover letter and resume. For example, if the job advert says that the company is searching for someone with advanced knowledge of InDesign software, make sure you include this at the top of your cover letter and highlight it in your resume. Always tailor each resume you send out to fit each job you apply for; never just use a catch-all generic one.
A stand-out resume that showcases your skills and abilities will put you above the competition and on top of the recruiter’s shortlist. Here’s how to put together a killer resume for a graphic designer’s role.
1. Skills, Interests and Qualities
Graphic design positions demand a specific skillset. Obviously, you’ll need to place emphasis on drawing and IT skills, but you must also be a good communicator as you’ll be discussing projects with clients and other team members, as well as working from detailed briefs. Other important skills to have are effective planning and problem-solving.
Employers look for experience and knowledge of different photographic and printing techniques, computer design software applications and project management software packages. If you can demonstrate that you have a good working knowledge of current trends and styles within your industry, then that will also be a big plus point in your favor.
2. Education and Qualifications
When it comes to qualifications, the most professional graphic designers have at least a basic foundation degree in a relevant subject; art and design or graphic design for example. Make sure you include any additional courses you’ve done in similar subjects and include summer schools you’ve attended whilst in education.
Emphasize your interest in furthering your skills and knowledge by mentioning any upcoming courses or independent online studying you intend to do.
3. How Your Resume Should Look
Remember that you’re applying for a position in graphic design therefore, set out your stall accordingly in your resume. PDF is a great format to use, as it allows you to create impressive-looking, cross-platform documents.
Employers will be looking very closely at the layout you’ve chosen for your resume in addition to its content. Use a really good DTP package like QuarkXPress, InDesign, Illustrator or any other that you’re experienced in using.
It’s crucial that you include some samples of your work with your resume. Stills taken from motion graphics projects you’ve worked on are ideal, as are infographics. Keep your resume simple and easy to read but remember that it’s also a reflection of your personality; make it stand out with personal and idiosyncratic touches.
The general rule of black and white only, does not apply for design positions. Touches of color and perhaps your own logo are acceptable as long as you don’t go overboard. Examples of your work should always be in color.
A small amount of novelty is acceptable and can be memorable, but keep it sensible as well as creative, and never plagiarize someone else’s ideas! You can usually get a vibe from the job advert and the nature of the company you’re applying too; if they would appreciate an off-the-wall, quirky approach or would prefer something more conservative and professional.
4. Using a Website as a Graphic Design Resume
Putting together your own website to act as your resume and portfolio is a great idea. It’s much easier to showcase your talents online than it is on paper and it also presents the ability to be discovered rather than having to apply for every available position. Use your portfolio site to highlight and demonstrate what you can do, rather than just listing your experience and qualifications.
Use your website to host a PDF resume too. Infographic-style resumes work well for graphic design positions and you should also include plenty of links to examples of projects you’ve worked on as well as a clickable email address.
Another great way to show off your personality is by embedding an introductory video into your website. The more you showcase what you have to offer, the more likely an employer will be to offer you that very important interview.
See Also: How to Create an Online Portfolio
When putting together a resume for a graphic design position, think of it as an exercise in marketing and storytelling. Be succinct, whilst still getting across the picture you want potential employers to see of you.
Tell them what you can do for them and illustrate this through the use of examples of your work and demonstrations on your website. Make your resume easy to interpret and memorable. Above all, put across the value of your skills and abilities that will add to their company.
How creative do you think a resume should be? Would you create an online portfolio as well or just stick with the traditional resume? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.