When you are trying to land a job as a graphic designer, you need a resume that does more than tells the reader about your experience in the field. You need one that shows off what you can do. This can be tricky, but it’s a rare opportunity. There aren’t very many fields in which you can show off your work-related skills right on the resume, and this unique opportunity is something every graphic designer should take advantage of.
The design of your resume can set you apart from fellow applicants and give employers an idea of your style as well as your skills. While it still needs to contain relevant contact information, qualifications, etc., you can do so in a way that shows off your capabilities. Because the standard rules don’t apply, though, creating an impressive graphic-design-focused resume isn’t easy.
Whether you have been working in the field for several years or you are a recent graduate looking to land your first gig, here are a few tips for creating an eye-catching and professional graphic design resume.
1. Start with the Basics
No matter what type of job you are applying for, start with your full contact information, including your name, email address, website URL, and phone number. If you are submitting the document via snail mail, you’ll also need to include your address. This information should be placed either at the top or bottom of the page. If your resume is more than one page long, make sure your contact information is on each page.
List your work experience and your education, starting with the most recent. Include dates, job titles, and a brief synopsis for every piece of work experience you list. Keep it short, though. An overly wordy resume won’t get you far when you are applying for a job in the graphic design field.
2. Use the Right Software
Microsoft Word is an excellent tool for creating resumes…if you aren’t a graphic designer. When building a graphic-design-focused resume, it’s best to use design software like Illustrator or InDesign. These programs allow you to develop cohesive designs that work well for both printed and digital resumes. Using them to create your resume also shows off your skills for working with the tools that frequently surface in the field.
3. Think Twice Before Using a Template
Resume templates are useful, but, if you’re applying for a graphic design job, you probably shouldn’t use them. Your resume is an opportunity to show off your skills, and if a prospective employer discovers that you used a template rather than designing one yourself, you probably aren’t going to get the job.
Even if the hiring manager doesn’t realize you created your resume using a template, it could still lead to problems. If they are impressed by design and later discover that it’s not something you are capable of doing on your own, you may not be able to hold on to the job for very long.
Ideally, you should create your design that showcases your capabilities. If you are running short on time and feel you absolutely must use a template, you should, at the very least, make enough alterations to make it your own.
4. Be Mindful of Font and Color Choices
In most fields, basic black and a plain font are your best bet for a resume. As a designer, though, you are free to get a bit more creative. While you should be careful to ensure that your resume is legible and easy to read, using various fonts and pops of color could help make your resume stand out.
When choosing fonts, look for ones that are simple and easy to read. Use a few different fonts to make certain elements stand out, but don’t go overboard. Be careful when choosing colors, too. Generally, it’s best to stick with darker colors that aren’t difficult to read. Yellow ink on white paper isn’t a good choice, but you could make a big impression by using colors like burgundy or navy blue in addition to basic black. It’s also beneficial to print your resume with a quality laser or inkjet printer, on high-quality paper. This extra effort will be noticed and appreciated.
5. Show Off Your Personality and Style
Graphic design jobs are few and far between, and it’s common for hiring managers to receive hundreds of resumes for a single position. While your resume should be simple and easy to read, adding small touches to show off your personality and style will help set you apart from the competition. Choose a non-traditional format. Highlight your achievements using your favorite color. Make a chart or diagram that showcases your skills.
While adding too many personal touches could result in a disaster of a resume, sprinkling a few in here and there helps set you apart from other applicants and gives the readers a better feel of who you are and whether your style is one that will suit their needs.
… But Don’t Get Too Crazy with Your Design
Showing off your creativity could help you land your dream job, but getting carried away could wreck your chances. Add personal touches, but resist the temptation to do something off-the-wall. Sometimes great risk leads to great rewards, but, more often, going too far outside of the box is likely to cost you. Express your creativity in a way that is relevant to the job and which won’t annoy your prospective new boss. There are lots of ideas for creative resumes, but be careful not to get too creative for your audience.
As a graphic designer, you already know all about how to create things that are eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing. By applying these skills to your resume, you can set yourself apart from fellow candidates and put yourself one step closer to landing the job of your dreams.