A dream job opened up at Pixar.
You sent them your Illustrator resume packed with every single one of your artworks.
You know you’re better than the rest of the candidates, but…
They sent you the “We’re sorry…” email.
Open the recruiter’s door, and you’ll see him swamped with hundreds of Illustrator resumes to review.
He never saw your experience, because your intro was vague and all over the place.
No worries. Round two is on its way, but this time we are in your corner.
Grab a pencil and get ready to draft the best version of your Illustrator resume.
Insights from our illustrator resume example guide:
- 10 do’s and don’ts to guide you on the road to a great illustrator resume
- How to prepare an artist resume header and summary that grab the attention
- What skills and experience should the ideal candidate have
- How to present your art education and style development
- Creative graphic designer resume samples to spark your muse
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How to write an illustrator resume recruiters will notice
Whether you are an Art Director or a freelance Illustrator, you know that a picture is worth a thousand words.
So before starting with your illustrator resume, make sure that you have an outstanding portfolio. Without a showcase of your best work, even the carefully tailored resume won’t do you any good.
Gather your most appreciated projects in one place, categorize them and let the head hunters know which is your preferred medium: 2D or 3D illustration, photorealistic or comic ones, etc.
If you are just starting your career as an illustrator, select several design briefs from the Internet and work on them. Prepare a comic strip, illustrations for a mobile app or a character design for a children’s book.
You are a part of the art and design world, so the hiring manager will have high expectations for the overall look of your resume.
Be mindful of the color palette and typography you choose. Recruiters should fall in love at first sight with your creative Illustrator resume.
What template should you pick for an illustration resume
Once you’ve chosen the typography and colors, it’s time to select the most suitable layout for your concept artist Illustrator resume.
Opt for a visually appealing layout that isn’t too cluttered and allows an easy scan.
Consider the following Enhancv templates to present your accomplishments:
- Single column resume layout- it’s ideal for people who are now starting their illustrator career and are looking for junior positions.
- Double-column resume template- if you are an artist with years of experience behind your back and numerous successful projects, then this template is for you. It also has a condensed version to fit everything on one page.
- Creative resume layout- given the nature of your work, you might prefer this template with a more modern touch. Use the personal sections to tell your story.
Here's what a recruiter wants to see in an Illustrator resume
- A portfolio of illustrations that you are most proud of and have brought actionable results for your clients
- What drawing techniques and software you are proficient in?
- What types of projects you are interested in: ads, books, magazines, brochures, websites, apps? Be specific.
- Are you capable of prioritizing projects and meeting deadlines?
- Are you good at communicating with clients and cross-functional teams?
Here are 6 illustrator resume sections to make use of
- Non-vague summary specifically tailored for the position
- Experience section where you list results not just responsibilities
- Soft and hard skills
- Art education and certificates
- Side projects, exhibitions or awards (if applicable to you)
How to create the perfect Illustrator resume header
Even if you think the word “Illustrator” describes your career well enough, go the extra mile and explain a bit more about yourself.
Take advantage of the header section and give valuable details about your work experience.
Mention if you are a freelancer or in-house illustrator. Or if you have worked for agencies and animation studios.
- Do you have experience in a certain business sector?
- Do you prefer 3D over 2D illustrations?
- Do you enjoy creating art for print or digital media?
Choose what is the one thing which describes you best and add it to your resume header.
Take a look yourself and see that it truly makes a difference.
2 illustration resume header examples
Don’t forget to add a link to your illustrations portfolio in the header. Recruiters will be curious to see what you have to offer them.
The most common options for showcasing your creative work are:
- Personal gallery website;
- Dribbble, Deviant Art, Behance or another professional design community;
- Social media account focused on your projects, e.g. Instagram or Pinterest;
Other elements to feature in the header resume are:
- First and last name;
- Contact details - email, Skype and/or phone number;
- Current location;
- Personal photo(Depending where you are applying!);
Design your illustrator summary with recruiters in mind
The resume summary section, outline some of your best achievements along with details about your experience. Don’t oversell yourself, be confident but avoid bragging too much.
Give on-point details about your creative career. Include information such as:
- For how many years you’ve been an illustrator
- What kind of drawing software or tools you use
- Do you work for an agency or are you self-employed
- Are you focused on character design, sketches, print media, comics, etc.
3 illustrator resume summary examples
The best way to learn is through example. So let’s take a look at several summaries and analyze them together.
This resume isn’t actually that bad but it can be improved in your favor. It provides a good intro about your soft skills and field of expertise. But it lacks info about your actual experience.
Switch the word “very” for the real number of years you’ve been working with that software. Also, mention a successful project you’re really proud of or an award you’ve received.
Use the opportunity to tailor your summary to the position and the company you apply for.
These two resume summary examples give more in-depth information about who you are and what you have accomplished so far. They show focus.
Hiring managers will get the idea that you have a preferred field of expertise and are dedicated to excel in it. You’re not just the next illustrator who takes whatever project comes her way.
Highlight other important achievements that will spark the interest of recruiters:
- Published projects
- High-profile clients
- Gallery exhibitions
- Design or art awards
- Personal side projects
- Design conference speaker
How to Put Your Experience on an Illustrator Resume
Make sure to share all the relevant experience you have. The resume experience section is your time to shine. If you don't have professional experience, make sure to share all the personal projects or "favours" you done in the past.
Imagine that your resume is like an illustration. If you only list your completed tasks, the resume will remain in the sketch phase.
That’s why you should ink and colorize it by answering the following questions:
- What kind of digital art software you’ve mastered
- What is the one achievement in your last job that you’re most proud of
- Which of your responsibilities made you an invaluable part of the design team
- How well do you deal with deadlines and collaboration
Illustrator resume experience examples.
You see the difference a few important details can make. Implement as many relevant facts as applicable to you and your field of expertise.
Recruiters will appreciate it when you go the extra mile and provide specific information about your work.
Show that you are not only a master of the pencil but a master of the words as well. Prove that you are a reputable and recognized illustrator.
Tips on positioning skills in illustration resumes
Being proficient in certain design software isn’t enough to score that interview. You need the perfect combo of soft and hard skills to catch the eye of hiring managers.
Mention them actively throughout the whole resume but also add a special skills section to highlight your personal strengths.
Have in mind that some companies utilize ATS (applicant tracking software) to scan if relevant keywords are present in the candidates’ resumes.
How to position soft skills on Illustrator resumes
Soft skills are often underestimated and lots of candidates don’t even include them in their resumes.
Don’t make the same mistake. Get noticed by explaining in detail your personal strengths.
Analyze the job offer of interest, mark the top 2 or 3 soft skills required by the company. Tailor your illustrator resume to them.
It’s better to choose fewer skills but provide more thorough information about them.
We’ll show you how to adjust this section to make the best of it in an appealing way.
Top 19 soft skills for illustrator resume
- Drawing skills
- Color theory
- Sketching techniques
- Understanding of typography
- Team collaboration
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Ability to work under pressure
- Time management
How to position hard skills on Illustrator resumes
Remember that hiring managers may run your resume through a scanning program in the search for specific terms.
Your Graphic Artist resume might not receive the attention it deserves just because you missed the opportunity to include a keyword.
List all 2D and 3D design software you have worked with.
This section doesn’t need to be stuffed with additional information. If the recruiters want to find out more, they can ask clarifying questions when they interview you.
These are the most wanted Illustrator resume hard skills
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe AfterEffects
- Affinity Designer
- Corel Painter
- Corel Draw
- Microsoft Office
- Data Visualization tools - Processing, R, Tableau, Power BI
- 3D Software - Maya, Vray, Zbrush, 3D Studio Max
Can an education section help my resume?
Most job offers for illustrators require the candidates to have relevant education.
The following degrees will give you a competitive edge and increase your chances:
- Fine Arts
- Visual Arts
- Commercial and Advertising Art
- Design Media Arts
- Graphic Design
- Interaction Design
- Visual Studies
But don’t worry if you are self-taught. It doesn’t mean that your application will be declined based on the lack of a design diploma.
Backup your resume with an outstanding portfolio, amaze the headhunters with your work and your education won’t be in the spotlight.
Should I add certificates to my illustrator resume?
We’ve already emphasized that your portfolio and experience are more important than your education.
However, if you’ve taken part in a live or online art academy, add it to your resume.
Do you have only one significant certificate? Then add it in the header or summary section.
In this case, there’s no need to have a dedicated certificates segment.
Adobe related certifications will give you a competitive advantage.
Top 4 illustrator certificates for your resume
- Adobe Certified Expert - Adobe Illustrator CC
- Adobe Certified Expert - Adobe Photoshop CC
- Adobe Certified Expert - Adobe InDesign CC
- Corel Training Partner
Some graphic artists look for professional development opportunities through industry websites and associations. If you are also a member, don’t forget to mention it.
Recruiters will be impressed that you are proactive about your career and seek recognition beyond your studio or agency.
Top 7 illustration and design organizations to join
- Graphic Artists Guild
- Association of Illustrators
- American Society of Illustrators Partnership
- Society of Illustrators
- American Institute of Graphic Arts
- Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
- Association of Medical Illustrators
Best practices when writing a job-winning Illustrator resume
- Choose a resume template with a clean design that will represent you in the best way possible
- Gather your published projects in one place and add a link in the header section
- Use every opportunity to mention your top personal strengths throughout different sections of your illustrator resume
- List all types of drawing mediums and software that you have mastered in case the recruiters use an ATS system
- Brag about design and art awards, personal exhibitions, conference presentations, illustrators association membership, design certificates, side projects