As I am sure you know, having an up to date carefully crafted design resumé is an essential part of your career. Everybody in every profession must have one for themselves outlining the details of their experience, skills, and education.
Designers have an opportunity to showcase their skills and individuality by creating a unique resumé for themselves.
Here are a few tips on making your graphic design resumé stand out from the rest.
Design resumé tips
What type of job are you applying for?
The most important thing you have to figure out is what kind of job you will be applying for when creating your resumé. For example, if you are applying to a big design firm, you might want to consider keeping the design of your resumé more traditional rather then unique and creative. If you are making a resumé for your own personal website for freelance reasons, you generally have more freedom to be creative.
Branding yourself is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself form other applicants. This means using colours, a logo, themes, etc. You are a designer, aren’t you? Showcase your skills by creating a unique brand around your name.
When developing a brand you have to consider many things… All work that designers do, whether it’s for the web or print, must take into consideration form, flow, and functionality — a design resumé is no different. Plan out what you want to convey and figure out the best way to present the information in a graphical way (without the reader losing sight of what it is they are reading). Make sure the information is laid out clearly and is not overshadowed by the design of your resumé. This leads me to my next point…
Don’t neglect the information
When considering the design, make sure you don’t neglect the information that needs to be viewable on your design resumé. This may seem self-explanatory, but the important point to keep in mind is that your design is there to ultimately complement the information presented, making it a breeze to read through and recall. There are many articles that focus on resume content some of which have been included at the end of this article.
Showcase your style
Every designer has his or her own certain style that makes them unique. Some work really well with effects and colours, others with photographic elements, and some work best with minimal elements. Whatever your forté may be, showcase your style and what you do best in your resumé’s design. As they say, first impressions are everything and in this case the saying is very true. Researching the company you’re applying to can be beneficial in this front. Combine design elements you excel at with characteristics of the company and their industry. Finally, put yourself in their shoes and visualise what design aspects they may be looking for. Base your resumés look around that concept.
Graphic design resumé: print or web?
Design has many different mediums and thus there are different rules for each medium. What works for the web may not necessarily work for print design. Similarly, what is displayed on a high resolution high contrast computer screen looks much different then when printed out. Decide if your resumé is going to be viewable on the web or in print form when considering the overall design elements to be included. Like I mentioned, there is no reason you can’t have a resumé for both mediums. If unsure, a safe bet is to always assume it will be viewed in print form.
Andrew is an online strategist with over a decade of 'getting things done' experience in the business, education and government sectors. He founded The Hope Factory in 2008 and enjoys playing frisbee with his dog Nelson.
@Jack: You are right it can be a daunting task to decide what work experience to include which is why it is important to cater your resumé to a specific type of job you are applying to. For example if you are applying to a web development company, you might want to put more emphasis on your development skills as opposed to design skills.
You have an excellent brand created for yourself on your website, why not use the same fonts, colours, and themes for your resumé as well?
Nice article, Andrew. I recently finished my portfolio website and have been completely neglecting my resumé. As a web designer, I guess I felt that I could just send everyone to my website to get the same information. After thinking more about it, I think it is important to be prepared with both mediums and cater to different people in different ways like you said.
On resumés, deciding which work experience to include becomes as daunting as picking out pieces to showcase in your portfolio. Do I list every damn thing I have ever done, or do I highlight only related or highly regarded jobs?
I’d like to end by saying… creating a personal logo and theme is one of the most difficult things to do!