How to Write a Resume for Graphic Design

FT Contributor  | 

The graphic design field is full of a plethora of different job opportunities. From web designers to creative directors, animators, multimedia artists, and more, the number of positions open to graphic designers is virtually endless.

However, just because there are options aplenty doesn’t mean the jobs themselves will be easy to get. If you’re a graphic designer looking for employment, make sure to polish your graphic design resume to stand out against the competition.

How to Organize a Graphic Design Resume

While there’s no one particular way to format a resume — which is welcome news to the artist in all of us — there are still several elements you should  include.  

Header

The best way to begin your resume is with a simple header that provides your name and information. It should be located at the top of the document and either centered or left-aligned. Structure the information like this:

  • Your full name — in large, easy to read font.
  • Your physical address.
  • Your phone number and email address.
  • Any applicable social links, such as your LinkedIn URL.
  • Your portfolio link.

If you’re applying for a remote position, you can either shorten your full address to your city and state, add “open to relocation,” or even leave it off entirely.

Introduction

After your header, it’s common to include a brief introductory paragraph. This is typically titled something like, “Career Objective,” “About Me,” or “Professional Profile.”

In this section, write a concise paragraph that highlights the most important parts of your resume. This is your chance to hook the recruiter and encourage them to continue reading. Include specific achievements, experiences, and career goals that relate to the job description and catch their attention.

Skills

The skills section of your resume is a critical source of information for hiring managers. Skills are often broken down into “soft skills” and “hard skills” subsections.

Hard skills are the most important for a graphic design resume, with technical skills, in particular, being highly sought-after. Some skills of this nature that could be listed include:

  • Adobe InDesign.
  • QuarkXpress.
  • Dreamweaver.
  • Photoshop.
  • Coding.
  • Branding.
  • Delivering presentations.

In addition to these technical skills, here are a few soft skills worth mentioning:

  • Communication.
  • Teamwork.
  • Creativity.
  • Active listening.
  • Time management.
  • Work ethic.

Along with these soft skills, refer to the job description to see what skills the employer is specifically looking for. Present your skills in a vertical list. Use bullet points as a great way to help organize your skills in a neat and orderly manner; consider listing the most relevant, sought-after skills first.

Experience

The experience section is where a graphic artist can shine. List off your various experiences using the following format:

  • Begin with the company name as well as your job title.
  • Include when you worked the position.
  • List a handful of achievements (bullet points work well) that specifically connect to the position you’re applying for.

Your experience can be the factor that makes or breaks a recruiter’s opinion of you. All relevant experiences should be listed, along with specific accomplishments connected to each one.

Don’t feel pressured to list random or unrelated experiences if you’re light on things to include. If you don’t have relevant experience, simply omit this section until you have something to add. This will be better than including experience that is useless to the recruiter, as it will come across as if you’re grasping at straws.

Education

If you have any relevant postsecondary (post-high school) experience, you’ll want to list it in your education section. Just like your experience section, though, if you don’t have any educational experience that applies, you can simply omit the section entirely. List each educational item as follows:

  • The name of the institution you attended.
  • The degree or certification you received.
  • The school’s location.
  • The years that you were in attendance.

References

References can be a great way to bolster your resume. However, these shouldn’t be added directly to your resume itself. A long list of names and contact information will clutter things up. Instead, include them on a separate document, listing each reference as follows:

  • Their name.
  • Their job title.
  • Their company.
  • Their phone number.
  • Their email address.
  • Their physical address.
  • A brief description of your connection with the reference.

When choosing references, look for someone you can trust to give a positive testimony about you. Avoid friends and family, though, as using them can come across as unprofessional. Instead, look for professional references, such as a professor or old employer, who would be willing to vouch for you.

Tips for Writing a Graphic Design Resume

Along with the basic elements, there are a few other things that a graphic artist should keep in mind when crafting their resume:

  • KISS: Keep it seriously simple. It’s tempting — especially for an artist — to dress up your resume to the nines, but adding graphics, illustrations, and other bells and whistles can quickly confuse a hiring manager. Instead, steer them toward the wow factor by adding a link to your online portfolio. Keep the resume itself as simple and straightforward as possible.
  • Use white spaces: Resist the urge to fill every part of your resume. Leaving white spaces can accentuate the information on the page and will make it easier to find the important information.
  • Focus on the facts: It’s important to provide facts and figures as you go. “Managed a graphic design budget,” means little. “Oversaw the allocation and implementation of a $500,000 graphic design budget,” has much more weight.
  • Consider using a template: While creativity is the name of the game when it comes to your work, it’s okay to use a template for your graphic design resume. If you do, make sure to heavily personalize it with your own information.

Graphic Designer Resume Template

If you’re still hesitating on where to begin, below is a template to help you get started. Just copy and paste it into a blank document and fill it out with your own information.

[Your first and last name.]
[Your physical address.]
[Your phone number.]
[Your email address.]
[Applicable social links.]
[Your portfolio link.]

[Your introduction — titled “Career Objective,” “About Me,” or “Professional Profile.” Write a brief paragraph as an opening statement highlighting the most relevant information on your resume and possibly including a brief hook about your career objectives and goals.]

SKILLS

[List your hard and soft skills. Use bullet points and select each skill based on the job description when possible. Make sure to emphasize the hard skills section, in particular.]

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

[List your professional experience using the formatting below:

  • The company name as well as your job title.
  • When you worked the position.
  • A handful of achievements with bullet points. Choose items that specifically connect to the position you’re applying to.]

EDUCATION & OTHER CREDENTIALS

[List your applicable education and any additional certifications or training using the formatting below:

  • The name of the institution you attended.
  • The degree or certification you received.
  • The school’s location.
  • The years that you were in attendance.]

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