As a graphic designer, you understand how to make a project appeal to the eye, and when it comes to your resume, you might be tempted to focus more on the design than the content. But that would be a mistake. While a great design might spark interest, it’s the content of a graphic designer resume that truly counts so follow our handy list of resume writing tips.
1. Know What To Include (and What To Omit)
A graphic designer resume can look a bit different from a typical business resume or a resume for a teacher or nurse or programmer. All resumes typically include information about education and work experience, but a graphic designer resume might also include a section for awards or perhaps a section where you list software programs with which you are proficient, such as InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. Additionally, a graphic designer resume might also include a section for freelance work. This could be entitled “Projects” or “Additional Projects.”
In general, many items should not appear on your resume. This includes jobs unrelated to graphic design (unless you are just graduating from college) and information about your high school education. This information is not relevant and just takes up space. Also, resist the urge to add a picture of yourself as this should never be included on an American resume. You also won’t include your age, gender and other personal information as hiring managers in the United States cannot even ask questions relating to your age and personal life.
2. Keep It Simple
A resume rarely should be longer than a single page in length. It’s basically a quick snapshot of your skills and work experience. However, when it comes to a graphic designer resume, many designers are tempted to create a wild resume design to show off their skills. This isn’t necessary and often detracts from what’s most important about the resume – the content.
Focus on writing error-free, dynamic content and less on the design. A simple, clean format is best. This is easy to read and looks crisp and professional. Your portfolio will demonstrate your artistic abilities, so let your resume simply act as a simple, professional, one-page document that showcases your experience and skills.
3. Don’t Forget About Applicant Tracking Software
Applicant-tracking software (ATS) can review resumes quickly, searching for relevant keywords and flagging resumes that seem to match a set of pre-determined criteria. For your graphic designer resume, this means three things.
One, you need to include relevant keywords from the job posting so that the software flags those keywords. Two, you need to ensure that your writing doesn’t simply sound like keyword stuffing. It needs to include those target keywords but don’t just put them in again and again. The resume needs to appeal to software and humans. A human will know that you’ve just stuffed it full of keywords, and, these days, the software often is sophisticated enough to pick up on it.
Lastly, you need to think about format in terms of applicant-tracking software. This type of software does not understand odd margins or unique design choices. For a resume that you submit electronically, it’s best to stick with standard margins and fairly ordinary typefaces such as Times New Roman, Calibri, etc. The software might not be able to read some typefaces and fonts, and they certainly don’t understand graphic icons and other artistic elements.
4. Consider Creating Two Resumes
We know that at this point you are probably cringing at the idea of presenting someone with a bland, pasty resume filled with fonts such as Times New Roman or, gasp, Helvetica. However, this doesn’t have to be the only resume you create. Consider building your basic resume first, focusing on content, strategy and keywords. This is the resume you can submit electronically and let it run through ATS.
The second resume can showcase your design skills. This is the resume that you hand out at trade shows, workshops, mixers and other business-related meet-ups. Bring this quirky resume along on interviews to pass out to a hiring manager or hiring team. Attach it to your LinkedIn profile and add a copy to your website. This second resume should still include all of the important content we’ve recommended, but you can add some cool design elements that show off your design prowess.
5. Include A Link To Your Website
So, in that last point, about creating two resumes, we suggested placing your resume somewhere on your professional website. Don’t have a professional website? Get one. Use this as your portfolio. It doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. You can create a free basic website using WordPress or another free service, purchase a domain name and hire a hosting service for less than $100 per year. You can display samples of your work as well as your resume and a short bio.
6. Consider Strategy
A resume is meant to set you apart from other job candidates. Therefore, it is crucial that this document clearly describes what you can accomplish. It’s not enough to say you designed direct-mail flyers for a business. It’s better to say you “designed direct-mail flyers which were distributed to more than 500 potential clients, increased response rate by more than 30%.”
This helps a hiring manager better understand how your work benefitted an employer. It also helps to describe the scope of your abilities. Instead of stating that you designed promotional event collateral, you should describe the items you created. You might say “Designed promotional event collateral, including t-shirts, hats, posters, banners and flyers for national trade shows.” This expresses that you can complete complex projects that include many different design challenges.
7. Consider Hiring A Professional Resume Writer
As we stated before, the content of your resume is crucial. Professional resume writers can ensure that your graphic designer resume is filled with the type of content that hiring managers want to see. You might be an amazing graphic designer, but your writing skills, especially your resume writing skills, might not be as strong, and pro can handle this task with ease.
Of course, there are tons of resume services out there and it can be tough to select the best resume writers. At Top 5 Resume Writers, we can help. We’ve studied resumes from a variety of online resume providers and chosen the best ones for you.
To find the best writers, we conducted an experiment. We created a “mystery client” and sent out identical information about this client to many resume writing services. Once they returned the resumes, we had these documents judged by an independent panel comprised of hiring managers and other professionals often tasked with hiring new employees.
This panel reviewed the resumes and unanimously chose Resume Writing Group as their favorite option. Their resume was error-free (some of the other resumes contained several errors), but it also was written strategically and well organized. Additionally, the writer at Resume Writing Group was the only writer that contacted our mystery client to ask for more information.
Resume Writing Group is our top pick not only because of the quality of the resume but also because they offer competitive rates, exceptional customer service and they back their resumes with a unique guarantee. If you use their resume and follow their advice, but aren’t hired in 45 days or less, they will refund the cost of your resume and pay you an additional $100. If you need a fantastic graphic designer resume, we highly recommend using Resume Writing Group.