Resumes come in all “flavors.” And those flavors are based on two critical factors – the position for which the resume is being created and the “culture” of the organization. An MBA graduate who is applying to an investment banking firm, for example, will craft a resume that is more traditional in format (sometimes called conservative). A graphic designer, on the other hand, looking at a position with a creative avant-garde startup agency, will write a resume that is far more “creative” in order to fit the “culture” of that company.
As a graphic designer, you fall into the latter category for resume designs and formats. You can get creative with color, typography, and even the structure of the background and experience you will be listing.
But before we get into those considerations, some general tips will give your resume that added “boost” that will make a potential employer take a second look. Here are some of those key resume writing tips.
1. Lose the Typical Career Objective Statement
No hiring manager, whether a part of an HR department of a large organization or a startup founder, is interested in your career goals. Unless, of course, they relate to their goals. But they are not really interested in what you want. They are interested in what value you can bring to them.
So, whether you call it a “career objective” or a “summary,” the focus must be on what you can bring to the organization, not what you want out of your next job. This section should appear at the top of your resume, but be very careful with your wording – the focus must be on the organization’s needs, not yours.
2. Brevity is Critical
No matter how many years of experience you have had, a resume should ideally be one page in length. This will require that you work through your previous job experience and identify only those tasks and achievements that relate directly to the opening you are seeking to fill. There will be plenty of time for expanding on those other experiences during the interview process. Your goal at this point is to get that interview.
3. Customize Each Resume
One size does not fit all, and you cannot just submit the same resume to all potential employers. You customize a resume by carefully analyzing the job posting and the requirements and skills that are listed. You identify the keywords in those posting and get them into your resume, as close to the top as possible. Digital screenings are commonplace now, and those keywords will be what the machine picks up as it sorts resumes to trash or sends on for further review.
4. Focus on Achievements
As a graphic designer, your achievements must relate to what you have done thus far. This is a bit different from other types of positions. For example, someone in sales may be able to point out a specific increase in sales as a result of his activities. As a graphic designer, you don’t have such concrete figures. Yours is creative business, and achievements are a bit more difficult to identify, especially if you are a recent graduate looking for an entry-level position.
Because your skills and talents are so visual in nature, you must direct the hiring manager to your website or a portfolio of your designs. Those designs may include work that you have done for actual clients or in coursework you have completed. And, of course, if you have received any recognition or awards for your designs, you will want to include them.
Resume Example for a Graphic Designer (Word version)
Resume Sample for Graphic Design Jobs (text version)
Contact Phone: 555-555-5555
Profile: A graphic designer with 12 years of experience as both a freelancer and team member. A pro who is ready to bring his creativity and design skills to a progressive organization looking to increase its contemporary client base.
Freelance Design Agency – Self-Employed 2012 – Present
Design logos, marketing materials, posters, brochures, and websites for small business clients in numerous niches. Designs have been recognized by AIGA and featured on the Association’s website.
XYZ Design Agency 2007 – 2012
Specific projects for business clients – logos, websites, marketing materials. Successfully served over 100 clients with their design needs. Reason for Leaving: Agency owner retired and the agency closed.
SKILLS: Here, you will list the most relevant design skills that relate to the position posting and summarize your achievements in each of those areas.
- Saving the Planet
- Exotic Animal Rescue
- Deep Sea Diving
Kemper School of Graphic Design 2005 – 2007
Completed entry, middle, and advanced programs
Received awards for best logo design, best brochure, and best poster
University of Arizona 2001 – 2005
BA in Graphic Art. 3.8 overall GPA. Dean’s List
Struggling to come up with a memorable “look” for your resume? Check out as many creative resume templates as possible and pick ones that catch your eye. Then customize each to match your personal brand and suit your needs. Experiment with colors, splashy fonts, and such, based on what you see on the organization’s website.