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As a creative individual, you may consider the idea of writing a resume dry and uninteresting, but you also know that to be successful, you need both aesthetic vision and practical skills. What better place to showcase both than your resume, where you can write about who you are, what you can do, and why you’re good at it.
Just as you might flip through the pages of the latest issue of Interior Design before you tackle a new project, reviewing interior design resume samples before you begin writing will provide you with an idea of what information to use and how best to present it.
As you read further, you’ll be presented with the basic elements of a resume, the suggested order, and guidance on how to write each section. Examples are provided for complex concepts, and you’ll even find advice on the kind of mistakes to avoid.
What to Include in an Interior Design Resume
Interior designers come in many varieties. Some do free lance work while holding down an unrelated salaried job, some are self-employed, and many have specialized their services. And just as the nature of each interior designer’s career path is different, the contents of each resume will be different.Those resumes will vary in the way they include education, experience, and even skills, but one way in which they’ll be similar is in the way the overall format is mapped out.
As you review interior design resume samples, you’ll notice a few different formats – chronological, functional, and combination.
The chronological style is the most common and the one potential employers are most familiar with. It takes its name from the fact that the focus is on an uninterrupted work history and traditional career path, beginning with your most recent job. The recommended sections are:
- Contact info (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Work experience
The functional style focuses on your achievements with the addition of an Accomplishments section between the resume summary and work experience sections. This style works well for those who have been self-employed, are considering a career change, or who have work experience not relevant to interior design.
You may even choose to design a resume style that’s a combination of both styles.
How to Write the Interior Design Resume Summary Statement
When you think of your resume summary statement, consider it similar to the first impression a client would have walking into one of your design projects. While every section of your resume is important, by virtue of its placement as the first element, your resume summary is critical to drawing a potential employer into your story.Here are some guidelines for crafting this introductory section:
- It should be no longer than 2-3 statements
- If possible, construct each statement to show an acknowledged problem, your solution, and a positive result
- First-person pronouns are fine for your cover letter, but they don’t belong anywhere in your resume
To get a feel for how other interior designers have written their resume summaries, take another look at the summaries in interior design resume samples. Additionally, here are two examples of well-written summaries:
- Interior design specialist with a strong commercial design history and a current focus on the healthcare industry. Prepared winning bids for three major clients, sketched preliminary design plans for each project, and created a time-line and estimated project costs. Even during times of overlapping immediate needs, was able to complete each project on time, on budget, and to the clients? complete satisfaction.
- Free lance interior designer specializing in residential design projects. Fostered relationships with vendors in the furniture, appliance, and architectural communities, enabling favorable pricing. In ten years, created a loyal client base who not only has returned for additional design services, but has made so many referrals, some new clients? projects have had to be temporarily deferred.
How to Write the Interior Design Work Experience Section
Before you begin putting together your work experience section, you need to decide which resume format you want to use. Take a look at the interior design resume samples, keeping in mind the following generalizations:
- The chronological resume usually works best for those with no employment gaps and who have relevant work experience, and an evident, traditional career path
- A functional resume is a good vehicle for those who have been free lance designers, self-employed, or who have irrelevant job experience
- The combination style is individually constructed by you, using what you like best from each
In the chronological style, a typical job listing would look something like the example below. Each job listing should include your job title, the company your worked for, your employment dates and a bulleted list of 3-4 key responsibilities and accomplishments.
Design Authority – Akron OH
February 2011 to February 2016
- Specialized in kitchen and bathroom design
- Prepared bids/estimates and negotiated options
- Coordinated trades and vendors through completion
The functional style separates your accomplishments from your previous employer. By inserting an accomplishments section prior to the work experience section, you can list your achievements in order of importance to the employer (based on the requirements in the job description), without linking them to previous jobs.
This style is well suited to those with an erratic employment record or unrelated work experience. It also allows a job seeker who’s been self-employed to focus on what they’ve done, not their employer. If you’re considering a new career path, this format will allow you to present your transferable skills.
In the actual work experience section, you then just need to quickly outline your previous job titles and the company you worked for. There is no need to list employment dates or to include responsibilities associated with each role.
If you feel confident that you can combine the two formats discussed above, you’ll have a combination style resume. Be careful though, not to repeat your accomplishments. Those in your summary can’t be used again in the accomplishments section, and you’ll need others for the work experience section.
Just keep in mind that every word should lead to new information.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Interior Design Work Experience Section
As a designer, you have pretty strong visualization skills, so picture yourself working, and describe what you do by using action verbs like those in the industry-related list below:
A quick review of the interior design resume samples you’ve identified will provide additional ways to show, not tell.
How to Write the Interior Design Skills Section
Before you start listing all your fabulous skills, take a look at the employer’s job description. No matter how good you are at negotiating, if that’s nowhere on the job description, it shouldn’t be first in your skills section. Let the employer’s requirements dictate what skills you list first. For formatting ideas, refer to the interior design resume samples.Interior design is one of those occupations that transcends the usual skills categories. An example to get you started follows, but don’t forget to individualize the presentation based on your own particular skills that mirror what the employer wants to see:
- Viewed as collaborative
- Good listener
- Strong communication, both written and verbal
- Strong visualization skills
- 3-D Modeling
- Punch Interior Home Design
- Chief Architect Design Software
- Building codes
- Structural requirements
- Health and safety regulations
- Strong negotiator
- Proposal creation
- New client acquisition
- Time management
- Project management
- Business plan creation
How to Write the Interior Design Education Section
When it comes to your resume, you want to give yourself an edge wherever you can, and if you’ve got a degree in interior design, or you’re working on your master’s, make sure to use your education section to show off these accomplishments.The information should be presented as follows: School attended, school location, degree obtained. If you’re still working on your degree, indicate that it’s Ã¢â?¬Å?in progress.Ã¢â?¬
Any continuing education, design seminars, or vendor training courses should be listed. You may want to create an Additional Training sub-heading for programs like these:
- Green energy/eco topics
- Building regulations
If you’ve been licensed, certified, or are a member of an industry organization, create another sub-heading called Certifications/Memberships. Examples include:
- Registered interior designer – National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ)
- Certified healthcare interior designer – American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID)
- Member, Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)
Yet another possible category might be Apprenticeships.
The interior design resume samples you’ve been referencing should provide formatting options and may even prompt you to remember a class or membership you’ve overlooked.
Should I Include References in my Interior Design Resume
Including references on you resume only makes it longer, when that space could be put to better use by either highlighting your skills, or shortening your resume to two pages. A simple statement that they’re available upon request is fine.
Make sure you actually have your list of references ready to go. Choose previous managers to whom you’ve reported, clients you’ve performed design services for, and vendors with whom you’ve developed a strong relationship.
When the employer requests your references, you’ll know for sure they’re interested, you can give your references a heads-up to expect a call, and you can ask them to let you know when they’ve been contacted and how it went.
Interior Design Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- The purpose of a well-crafted resume is to get an interview. If your document is too long, with densely packed text, it won’t get thoroughly read, so don’t go over two pages. A concisely written resume shows focus, organization, and prioritization.
- Proofreading and correct English are important in the world of business, so no matter how comfortable you are with the abbreviations used in social media, there’s no place for that kind of language in your resume.
- Avoid negativity in your resume. There’s a big difference between criticizing an employer or client, and stating that you’re skilled at conflict resolution. If you can’t say something nice…
- Don’t set yourself up for age discrimination you might never be aware of. If you graduated 35 years ago, there’s no need to include that date in your education section. If you’ve worked since you were 16, don’t list every job. The last 10-15 years are the most relevant to employers.
Job Prospects in the Interior Design Industry
According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for all occupations for the period 2014 to 2024 is expected to increase by 7 percent.
Employment of interior designers in specialized design services firms will grow at a rate of 8 percent, which is slightly faster than average, because of their specialization in areas like hospitality, healthcare, and corporate design. Specialization allows designers to better serve their customers because of their extensive knowledge of products required.
Projections for interior designers comes in at 4 percent growth, slightly slower than average.
In the future, interior designers will need to respond to expectations that spaces should be more environmentally friendly and accessible. Many interior designers will be heavily dependent on new construction and renovation projects generated by the construction industry.
Maintaining technical expertise with design tools, like 3-D computer-aided design (CAD) software will improve job prospects, and in terms of where most clients are, look in the high-income areas.