The first step in order to get a job as a graphic designer is having your portfolio online, in case you still don’t have it, then you might want to take a look at our article on how to build your online portfolio. The second step is making your resume. This is the natural order that most companies follow on their selection processes, when they receive the emails from all the aspirants, first they take a glance at their portfolios and they start discarding people without even looking at their resumes. The ones with interesting portfolios are worthy of having their resumes checked, then another part of the aspirants is discarded based on the resume design.
We are graphic designers, we’re not aspiring for an accounting or secretary position, hence our resume cannot be the same as theirs, which is usually built upon a preset template in Microsoft Word. If a graphic design aspirant sends a resume built upon a Winword template, he will be immediately eliminated without reading a single word about his accomplishments and excellent preparation.
Useful tips for making your resume
Don’t use generic names for the file
If you’re going to send a file via email, do not name it “curriculumvitae.pdf” nor “resume.pdf”. The file name should be something like “RichardiniGraphicResume.pdf” or “cvMishesblog.pdf”. The employers often download all the resumes and then look one by one, so if you want them to remember yours, make sure that you include your name on the file.
Send a print quality file
It’s OK to have a 72 dpi resume to upload in your website or share with your friends. But when you’re about to send it to a company, then a 300 dpi version is the best option, many companies tend to print the preselected resumes to socialize them with other people inside the company, so if yours gets pixelated when printed, it will go straight to the trash can.
Before you send it, print it on Black and white at the lowest quality
As we said on the previous part, many companies print the resume of all the preselected candidates, but don’ think that these prints will be made on full color laser printers, because usually they are printed in black and white, using cheap paper and in the lowest quality possible, so if you decide to use small typefaces, very subtle details or light colors atop dark backgrounds, it’s probable that your resume’s print will be disastrous. This does not mean that your resume should be in black and white, just make sure that it does look good at even the poorest printing conditions.
Your Mom and Grandma are not the best judges
A couple of extra eyes are always useful to help you notice things that might pass unnoticed to you, the problem is that your mother and/or grandmother will always think that anything you make is better than Picasso’s work. That’s why we suggest you to share your resume before sending it to the employer with a couple of friends and people that can give you some real feedback and can help you improve your resume in terms of design and content.
Show it to people outside the design business
In some companies, the crew selection is made by people inside the design business, though in many occasions, the big companies after the preselection phase is finished decide to pass over all the resumes to the Human Resources department, where your resume is going to be seen by people who have no clue about design and the only thing they want is not wasting any time trying to figure out what you tried to transmit in your resume with those crazy designs. So it’s a good practice to show your resume to people who are not related to the design business, take a note at their reaction and ask them if everything seems clear or if there’s something confusing on your resume. Then you can modify your resume by simplifying the parts that presented more difficulties at the moment of reading the document.
Make it one or two pages tops
Nobody is going to stop reading with detail the long paragraphs on your resume, so put only the important stuff and be as brief as possible. Only include what you think is going to help you get the job (if you’re applying for a web design, it’s not relevant to say that you worked as a messenger), such as your personal information, studies, working experience, your portfolio URL, spoken languages, software knowledge and a short review where you tell about the kind of designer you are (so they won’t think you’re a web designer when you strong is actually illustration). If you’re a graphic designer you need to show your abstraction and synthesis capacity.
Pay attention to grammar and spelling
Even if you’re a graphic designer and your thing is communicating through images and not text, I can assure you that not all the people thinks like you, specially those who grammar-obsessive people in charge of choosing the personal, they cannot stand seeing a curriculum with spelling mistakes and something that they often say to aspirants is “if you did not take the time to check your resume, I can’t imagine how’s it going to be when reviewing something for the company”. So if you are not so good with grammar and spelling, take the job of asking other people to help you out with this, so you can be sure that everything’s fine and you can send it, otherwise it will go straight to the trash can.
Do not include your portfolio works
Even so, don’t you ever forget about including your portfolio’s link. Some companies only ask for a physical portfolio and if they do, you can attach it on a cd, an USB or a small book with your main works included (personally I prefer to carry the cd so they can keep it).
If you’re going to include your picture, please don’t use the one in your passport.
Come on!, you’re a designer and your resume should be a clear example of that, don’t put the 3 x 4 blue background picture that you used in your school id or the one you currently have on your passport. If you have decided to include a picture (some companies ask for it while others don’t), show them how you really are, let the photo show more than just the physics and give them a little bit of your personality, though you cannot cross the line by putting a picture of your ultimate binge or a nude picture showing all your attributes.
Show up your style and give some personality to your resume
If your thing is children illustration, make sure that as soon as they see your resume, people can realize what your specialty is without having to read a single word. If you want to inform that you’re really good at making infographics, then why not making your resume as a nice infographic?, just be creative and harness your abilities.
Great examples of graphic designer resumes
And to finish this article, nothing better than a juicy roundup with some of the finest graphic design resumes around, so lay down and enjoy this final part of the article, we hope you’ve enjoyed it and we’ll see you soon, bye.