How to Write a Pixel-Perfect Freelance Graphic Designer Resume
Companies will always need good freelance graphic designers.
For everything from business cards to logos to branding campaigns.
Whether you are a recent grad or have been in the industry for years, there will be a demand for your services.
And the idea of becoming a freelance designer is very appealing.
You get to be your own boss and set your own hours. You can choose your clients and work from wherever you want, all while doing the creative work you love.
The key to landing freelance work is to build a resume that showcases your experience and skills.
You have the creativity, and now we’ll show you what to do to get freelance clients to take notice.
In this guide, you will learn:
- 8+ samples and examples of freelance graphic design resumes
- Experiences you need to include to attract potential clients
- Marketable skills you need to use to get hired
- Creative ways to include your portfolio throughout your resume
Your goal is to leave the potential client wanting to:
- Review your portfolio
- Read your whole resume
- Talk to you more about the project
- Hire you
Your freelance graphic designer resume has to include compelling content and look great. This guide will help you achieve both.
Freelance Graphic Designer Resume Samples
Read our comprehensive guide on how long a resume should be.
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How to Write a Freelance Graphic Designer Resume
You are the creative mind that conceptualises and illustrates the image and tone of a brand or company.
Your resume shows how you’ve done this in the past.
Graphic design jobs require technology-driven and creative skills.
Successful graphic design applicants, have resumes that combine design skills with a range of soft skills—more on that later.
Include technical skills that show you are experienced and professional:
- You can create and edit visual material with Adobe InDesign
- You can create graphics with Adobe Photoshop
Here’s What a Client Will Look for in Your Resume:
- Have you successfully built a brand for yourself?
- Are your designs brave, bold, and professional?
- Do you go the extra mile for your clients?
- Have you paid attention to the latest and greatest design trends?
The Most Important Aspects of a Freelance Graphic Designer Resume:
- Eye-catching design
- Resume summary that gets interest
- Resume experience
- Graphic design and project management skills
- Killer portfolio examples
How to Create an Eye-catching Freelance Graphic Designer Resume Header
You’re applying to work with a creative agency that works across digital, print and environmental design as a freelancer.
Your header originally looks like this:
This needs improvement. Here’s why:
- This provides only the bare-minimum, it doesn't set you apart from other candidates
- It doesn’t showcase your speciality and how this relates to the job that you’re applying for
Make sure you come across as a strong candidate.
Start off on the right foot and properly introduce yourself.
This is much better as it:
- Identifies on what basis you want to work for the company (freelance)
- Notes your speciality
- Sets you apart from other candidates
How to Choose the Right Layout Your Freelance Graphic Designer Resume
The top priority is readability. If your resume sacrifices flow and depth, you need to simplify your design.
Here are some possible layouts that can get you noticed by the reviewer:
4 Ideas to Make Your Resume Design Memorable
- Use an infographic to convey information in an appealing manner
- Shape your resume into something unique like a milk carton or top secret file
- Incorporate folds to shape your resumes into a marketing brochure or a piece of origami
- Add color to enhance the content and draw the eye to the most important or relevant sections
Another design tip is to keep your resume to one page unless you have significant relevant experience.
No matter what you choose for your resume, make sure it has a proper flow. After all, cohesiveness matters in the design world.
Creativity is Key on a Freelance Graphic Designer Resume
Remember, when constructing your graphic designer resume, creativity lies at the heart of everything you do.
Whether you’re working on a company’s branding, or you own, it is important to exhibit your creative intuition.
In your resume you can do this by:
- Noting that you have an eye for creativity
- Referencing creative projects you have played a significant role in imagining and developing
- Reference the programs you have used to express your creative vision
Work these examples into your professional summary and experience section.
We’ll walk through them both now.
Writing A Comprehensive Freelance Graphic Designer Resume Summary
Don’t fall into the trap of providing the standard “career objective” in your resume. Those have become passé, and reviewers tend to skip over resumes that include them.
Write a concise professional summary that, in a sentence or two, describes who you are and what you do best.
Your summary needs to highlight your qualifications and make the client want to hire you.
3 Freelance Graphic Design Resume Samples - Summary
Here are some samples of novice freelance graphic designer resume summary sections:
Recent design program graduate who is seeking to quickly build a portfolio of digital and traditional projects.
This summary does not reflect your suitability for the role. Here’s why:
- It shows you have zero experience
- It gives the impression that you don’t have a work product to offer the company
- The wording comes across as unenthusiastic and passive
Instead, word your summary to stress your strengths and hide your lack of experience:
Enthusiastic graphic designer with solid training and necessary skills to make a difference for XYZ company. Proven ability in digital design with an eye for creativity and an ability to problem solve. Highly adept with multiple design platforms including all aspects of the Adobe Creative Suite.
This is much better as it:
- Shows enthusiasm for the role
- Suggests you will positively impact the company if hired
- Exhibits your relevant knowledge and abilities
This next sample shows summary sections for a more seasoned freelance graphic designer:
Veteran graphic designer with 10+ years of experience using Adobe Creative Suite to successfully produce a multitude of materials for clients. Creative and versatile project manager who adheres to deadlines and budgets.
This summary doesn’t say ‘highly experienced and accomplished candidate’. Here’s why:
- It appears rushed and brief
- It doesn’t give evidence to support the experience of the candidate
- It lacks specificity
Meanwhile, this summary section example shows both longevity and results:
Highly creative and multitalented Graphic Designer with extensive experience in multimedia, marketing and print design. Exceptional collaborative and interpersonal skills; dynamic team player with well-developed written and verbal communication abilities. Highly skilled in client and vendor relations and negotiations; talented at building and maintaining "win-win" partnerships. Passionate and inventive creator of innovative marketing strategies and campaigns; accustomed to performing in deadline-driven environments with an emphasis on working within budget requirements.
This summary appears much more professional:
- It provides details of the candidate’s experience without waffle
- It uses action language that highlights achievements
- It asserts authority and is results-based
PRO TIPThe key to writing a successful summary section is to list what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. Showcase your skills and explain how those talents benefitted your clients or employers. This can also be done in your experience section.
Listing the Right Experience for Your Freelance Graphic Designer Resume
When writing about your experience, it is important to explain what you have learnt and achieved in previous roles. You can then explain how this relates to the job you are applying for.
Instead of listing your experience, elaborate on the programs and design software you can use.
Explain how long you have used them for and what level of proficiency you have. Be specific. Be thorough.
Your freelance graphic designer resume experience section should highlight several things:
- What you’ve done
- How you’ve done it
- What the benefits were to the client/employer
- Hard data rather than anecdotal results
Too often, graphic designers like to focus on the types of projects they managed:
2 Freelance Graphic Design Resume Experience Samples
Graphic DesignerI-Catching Creative
None of those entries passes the “so what” test. This is why:
- They are generic and broad outputs
- They don’t highlight the benefit to the client
- They are highly anecdotal
This next example provides more depth and substance for previous work history:
Freelance Graphic Design ManagerDesignWorks
Note that longevity is not that important when listing your experience. Long-term client relationships don’t always reflect the quality of your work. It is quality over quantity.
Tailor your freelance graphic designer resume for each job you’re seeking. Pick and choose the experiences that are most pertinent for the desired position.
This can be different for each resume crafted. One version can highlight design software while another spotlights client communication skills.
Use SEO skills for your experience section. Integrate exact keywords from the job listing to show your experience is a good match.
How to Describe the Duties of a Freelance Graphic Designer
Listed below are some samples of work experience duties to bear in mind when writing your resume. Try to respond to them in your education, skills and experience sections:
- Drove creative contract strategy using graphics, video animations and printed material
- Lead design-led multi-variate testing
- Generated creative ideas and design concepts
- Developed, evolved and translated the brand across multiple platforms
- Combined commercial awareness with execution to keep the target customer at the centre of all creative solutions
- Communicated effectively to internal stakeholders
A good way to enhance a novice resume, or one that has empty spaces, is to focus on previous experience and elaborate on your education:
- Explain how your education has supplied you with specific experience, certifications and “hard skills”
- Include any volunteer work, internships, mentorships or apprenticeships that have given you valuable insight or connections
- Show how our experience in other industries links to the job posting. What responsibilities and skill set do they share?
Does Your Freelance Graphic Designer Resume Need an Education Section?
When hiring a new freelance graphic designer, companies want to be sure a candidate is qualified and capable. So, including an education section in your resume is vital.
This section allows you to showcase your qualifications and academic achievements.
While there are many routes into graphic design, employers usually look for an HND (Higher National Diploma) in the UK or an (AAA) Associates Degree in the US, a foundation degree or a degree in graphic design or another visual arts subject.
Of course, a Master’s is always a plus.
Alternatively, note any relevant work experience that demonstrates your capabilities, as well as any past or ongoing certifications.
Skills to Highlight in Your Freelance Graphic Designer Resume
You need to show the right set of practical skills in your resume.
Give your resume the same time and attention you give to your design projects.
Here are some of the top graphic design skills clients are seeking today:
9 “Hard” Skills You Need to List in Your Graphic Design Resume
- Adobe CC Suite
- Specialized design software
- Digital media
- Coding (HTML and CSS)
- Photo editing
Reviewers also have become more aware of non-technical skills. These include the following:
9 Top Soft Skills to include in your Graphic Design Resume
- Time management
- Problem solving
- Strategic thinking
- Conflict resolution
- Presentation skills
Tie each skill into your experience section to bring the reviewer full circle.
Promoting Your Portfolio in Your Freelance Graphic Designer Resume
The ultimate resume goal is to get the client to view your portfolio.
Remember that not everyone will have a digital copy of your resume.
Make sure the links are short and easy to type into a browser so the viewer of a printed version can access the material.
Don't have a page filled with past projects. Instead, create individual links to specific materials.
Finally, avoid using clichés and buzzwords so a non-designer can understand everything.
How to Include Your Certifications on Your Resume
Certifications show the employer that you have received formal training in the technical aspects of the job. They also show that you will be able to deliver when it comes to, for example, image editing or coding.
Below are some relevant certifications for graphic design.
Top 6 Graphic Designer certifications worth including
That’s how to create a memorable Freelance Graphic Designer resume
Remember, the following should be of utmost importance when creating your resume:
- Choose a design that shows your creativity without going overboard
- Summarize your experience and skills in a way that answers the question, “Why should we hire you?”
- Include tailored experience that provides hard data that measures success
- Display the hard and soft skills that will make the potential client want to work with you
- Selectively display portfolio items that best market your skills and work quality