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What to Include in a Designer Resume
Gather inspiration from several designer resume samples to see what other professionals include and how they format their documents. Whether you are striving for a creative profession in graphic design or looking to utilize your technical skills as an industrial designer, your resume should include a few basic sections.
- Summary Statement
- Work Experience
- Skills or Accomplishment
The above order is common to use for chronological resumes where you go through your experience and work history starting with your most recent item. Seasoned professionals who embarked on a traditional career path prefer this format because it better highlights their progression throughout their career.
However, many designers, especially in the graphic design industry, start off as freelancers doing a lot of contract work. If this is the case or you are a recent graduate with limited experience, you might want to choose the functional resume. This type gives you the freedom to focus on your skills and core qualifications, and it also allows you to downplay the appearance of gaps in employment.
Review multiple designer resume samples that use both types to get a better idea of which one works for you. In some cases, you may want to combine aspects of chronological and functional formats to best highlight your talents and experience.
How to Write the Designer Resume Summary Statement
To keep this statement concise, you should write in sentence fragments while leaving out first-person pronouns. Employers read through dozens of resumes daily, so you’ll want to highlight your best traits in a limited amount of space. Try to incorporate your experience, relevant talents and soft skills in one, brief statement. Even if you have abilities ranging across many areas of design, try to tailor this element of your resume to align with the key skills outlined in the job you’re applying for.
Read designer resume samples in your particular specialty to gain ideas. The following examples should also help you get started.
Collaborative freelance graphic designer with over 10 years of experience delivering both digital and print content to a variety of clients. Highly skilled at design layout, visual strategy and multiple aspects of electronic production. Well versed in creative brainstorming to enhance projects and contribute to a team of designers.
Intuitive automotive designer with a passion for emerging technologies and new concepts. Practiced in utilizing sustainable resources for the design and production of automobiles. Capable of working within a team environment of designers and engineers to produce quality vehicles that meet the evolving needs and preferences of consumers.
How to Write the Designer Education Section
Designers with limited professional experience may want to enhance the education section by including courses that provided classroom training in relevant skills.
The education section is also the place where you would list any certifications you have earned that pertain to your industry or career. Some states require interior designers to have licenses due to building codes and inspection regulations, so you would list that information under this section as well. Checking out the education section of other designer resume samples will help you figure out what belongs on your document.
How to Write the Designer Work Experience Section
If you’re going with the traditional chronological approach, all of your past experience should be listed in reverse chronological order. Typically, you should include a headline that indicates your job title along with the company name and location. In traditional scenarios, you would also add the dates of employment.
Beneath each listing should be bullet points highlighting your contributing actions and achievements within that position. Include skills that you picked up or utilized, and also state professional achievements like promotions or increased responsibilities. Make your bullet points short and concise, start each point with an action verb, and include about four to six points per position.
If you have extensive experience across several specialties, try to focus on positions that most closely relate to the job you’re applying for. For instance, if you have a history in marketing positions and web design, choose the roles that feature qualifications for the job at hand. Pick designer resume samples that correspond to the position you want to see the types of work experience those professionals list.
If you have been a freelance designer or have done a lot of contract work, you may want to consider a functional resume, which would give you the opportunity to organize your resume so that it doesn’t look like you have unexplained gaps in employment. To do this, add an accomplishments section that details your professional achievements and the responsibilities.
You can then use the work experience section to simply list your past jobs, in order of the most important work first.
If you’ve just graduated, keep in mind that internships and volunteer work also count toward experience. Just because you didn’t receive payment for work does not mean that you didn’t gain valuable skills during that time. These items also show your dedication to the field of design.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Designer Work Experience Section
How to Write the Designer Skills Section
With the minimum requirements fulfilled, you can then include additional skills that you believe would add value to the position and impress the employer. Even if a job requires you to have print publication experience, you will likely increase your chances if you are also adept at multiple types of media. Consider the following skills while you decide what to include in your resume.
- 2D and 3D Computer-Aided Design
- Web Development in HTML and CSS
- Fashion Sketching
- Electrical System Design
Depending on your specialty, you might want to include any design-related software or platforms that you utilize. Since many companies are integrating computers into their production systems, you may benefit from having experience in Adobe, InDesign and other industry-specific programs.
How Important is a Designer Portfolio
No matter your specialty, you can create a website that houses your previous work and most impressive accomplishments. Physical portfolios are fine as well, especially if the position requires someone with hand-drawing skills. In highly competitive fields like fashion design, an organized portfolio will help put you ahead of the crowd when it comes to landing the job.
Should I Include References in my Designer Resume
When you have come to that point in your job search where you need to start thinking about references, try to come up with people whom you have worked with professionally. Managers, supervisors and coworkers are excellent choices because they have insight into your skills as they pertain to your career. If you have done mostly freelance work, you might have some satisfied clients who would be willing to speak to a hiring manager about your talents. Remember to always ask permission before using someone as a reference, and ensure that they are comfortable with you listing their contact information.
Designer Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- Avoid using jargon, slang and unclear acronyms in your resume. If you mention something like “computer-aided design” a few times in your resume, make sure you use the full term first before writing “CAD.” You can’t assume that every design company in your industry uses the same jargon and phrases, so be clear and professional in your resume.
- Keep the formatting clean and easy to read. Even if you have the skills to create colorful resumes with borders and fancy font types, it is best to use professional standards. Hiring managers want to see candidates that stand out because of their skills and experience not because their resumes were bold and flashy.
- Do not use first-person pronouns anywhere in your resume. To maintain brevity and professionalism, only use concise sentence fragments without stating “I,” “me” or “my” all over the document.
- Never break any confidentiality agreements. Whether you are writing your resume or interviewing with a hiring manager, you should never reveal confidential or financial information about previous employers or clients. This practice will give you a bad reputation for being untrustworthy, and the company will probably not want to hire you.
Job Prospects in the Designer Industry
As the construction industry expands, more interior designers are needed for new buildings and remodeling projects. Professionals with a subspecialty, such as kitchens or bedrooms, may have higher chances of employment while collaborating with a team of designers. Hotels, schools and hospitals also offer job opportunities in the field of interior design.
The decline of manufacturing impacts both fashion designers and industrial designers. The highest demand in fashion will be for designers who have knowledge of the latest technologies and who can utilize new fabric types. Fashion designers will have better opportunities in New York and California. Ongoing demand for new products and styles leads to growth in industrial design, especially in the fields of precision and medical instruments.
Graphic design has been a growing field due to its attractive career prospects for graduates and creative individuals. This appeal also leads to strong competition in the industry. Traditional graphic design is expect to decline, especially in print media. However, design using computer systems is projected to grow by 35 percent thanks to the increased integration of the Internet. Employment of graphic designers is nationwide with higher concentrations along the East Coast.