How to Write a Graphic Design Resume That Will Stand Out in 2018

What to add to have a winning Graphic Design resume:

Preparing for your next gig as a Graphic designer? You need a resume that looks the part, and speaks for your accomplishments. Here are some key success tips:

  • Highlight your project management and multi-tasking skills
  • Show that you thrive on feedback and collaboration
  • Mention projects which required great attention to detail
  • Convey that you work fast in high pressure environments
  • Include a strong portfolio highlighting your best work
  • Make sure it’s a one-pager
  • Scan the role responsibilities section of the job post
  • Name drop any notable clients you’ve worked with based on name or size
  • Highlight your highest education, or most prestigious institution you studied at

As the old saying goes, graphic design and arts are all about the portfolio. While that is true, a powerful resume to accompany it helps tell recruiters your full story, and highlight parts of your work that a portfolio may not tell.
This includes your collaboration skills, your attention to detail, and ability to deliver against demanding deadlines all while applying feedback from briefs and revisions.
Today we share the definitive guide on how to design a graphic designers resume in 2018.
Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • How to write a graphic design resume
  • The 9 things recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in a graphic design resume

Best Graphic Design resume examples by users who got hired

How to write a graphic design resume

1. Make it about more than just your portfolio

Recruiters reviewing portfolios may naturally be subjective. Make sure you give them more than a portfolio to fall in love with you professionally. That’s where your resume will shine. Focus on what you’ve done in the past that acts as an aid to your portfolio, highlighting the variety of skills that you bring to the table.
Reverse engineer what the job spec has to match things you’ve done before. If you haven’t done it before, try to find a commonality between what you’ve done in the past, and any transferable skills or qualities that would be instrumental to the success of this role.

2. Design your resume, but don’t over do it

The best designs are simple and intuitive. Similarly, don’t fret about ensuring all your experience is listed on your resume. Rather, take this opportunity to tailor your experience to fit what you believe is most important and relevant to mention. Overarchingly, you want to make sure that your resume is well designed - ideally a one-pager.
Keep your design simple and sweet. Graphic designers that come up with wacky resume designs are eye-catching but not necessarily effective. Keep it sleek, keep it professional.

3. Focus on what most designers won’t

It’s easy to show off that your creative. Companies hiring a graphic designer are not looking to hire merely a creative person, they’re looking to hire a professional. With that in mind, make sure to display empathy towards the full-roundedness of the role, which may include such key responsibilities as cross-department collaboration, rapid turnaround times, and excellent communication skills.

4. Name drop early in order to grab attention

If there are known clients or brands you worked with previously that are sure to leave a lasting impression, this is the time to build credibility by association by mentioning them.
The recruiter is by no means the final decision maker. Their job is to merely look for cues to know when a candidate could be interesting to refer on to a hiring manager or not. This is your chance to build that impression. They may not know you yet, but they certainly know who you’ve worked with previously.
If it’s someone that you do not believe is known, you may use this opportunity to reframe it by focusing on a key attribute that makes that client stand out. Examples of that include: “AAA, who are the biggest player in the XXX industry.” Alternatively, you may phrase it as “AAA who’ve grown 25% YoY for the last 5 years”.

5. Focus on what makes you a team player

Graphic designers are fortunate to have one of the more collaborative jobs in a company, given the level of value they can add to help different represent and convey stories on behalf of business functions in an organization. It is imperative that you highlight this as one of your strengths.

What 9 things recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in a Graphic Design resume

Now we come to the design and structure of the resume. Here are listed 10 key sections to keep in mind on your graphic design resume:

1. Experience
2. Most Proud of
3. Skills
4. Projects
5. Languages
6. Awards
7. Technologies
8. Education and Courses

Experience

Be specific where you’ve worked, and do list as much experience as you can. Unlike other resumes, a graphic design resume is one where you want to highlight all experience you have accumulated no matter the duration of the project. This helps to highlight different skills, such as flexibility in work and deadline-management.

Resume Section

Most Proud of

While you may use a resume as an opportunity to document all the great work you’ve been involved in to date, the most proud of section is essential to bring attention to 2 things: call-out accomplishment you want hiring managers to be aware of, and show who you are as a person and the things you care most about.

Resume Section

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Skills

This one is self-explanatory. Do not rely on the experience section to convey to the recruiters your technical acumen. Make sure to leverage the Skills section as a relatability tool, ranking all the skills you possess that are an exact match for what the role needs. It’s best if your experience section shows how you can apply these skills to have an impact. In this example, Aleksandra listed Web Design and UX among others as top skills as they related to the role that she was applying for.

Resume Section

Projects

Similar to experience, if there are any specific projects that you can think of that stood out to you, be sure to include them - listing your specific focuses and deliverables that you spearheaded. In this example, they also included a link to their Behance profile to illustrate their work.

Resume Section

Languages

Depending on where you are in the world, as teams continue to grow multinationally and culturally, additional languages become a huge asset to have. Not only do they portray a candidate who will be able to effectively communicate in various languages, but it also shows flexibility to different styles of working and open-mindedness to new ways of thinking. If you have any languages, even if just an elementary command of them, jot them down here.

Resume Section

Awards

Awards, like other sections in the resume, help to tell a compelling story about you by building instant credibility in the minds of hiring managers and recruiters. Do not worry if your projects are not an exact match of what the role asks for, but if it conveys other transferable skills that could be deemed valuable.

Resume Section

Technologies

We consider this one an accompaniment to the Skills section above. Use this section to list down all the industry standard technologies you work with, as well as any other softwares that you may be familiar with.

Resume Section

Education and Courses

As in all creative arts careers, portfolio and what you’ve actually worked often is valued higher than any specific education. However, this provides a solid backbone for your entire resume and body of experience - so do make sure to include the highest level of education you have attained.
Separately, you may choose to also list any relevant courses you’ve accomplished, especially if you know that those are relevant to the role. Nothing is too small to mention, for all of this helps build a well-rounded image of how much you’ve done and how much you’ve learnt.

Resume Section
Resume Section

How to get a referral on LinkedIn for the Marketing role you want

Check out our guide to getting a referral for any job you’re applying for. Generally speaking, you want to go on LinkedIn and search your 1st and 2nd degree contacts to see if anyone you are connected to is currently working for this company.
If not, you may do a LinkedIn groups search on graphic design, creative arts, front-end design, and web design groups, where people from that company may be members.
You may then reach out to them expressing that you are both members of so and so group, and that you’re currently interested in applying for a role at their company, if they have any advice - and if they may be able to help with a referral.

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