Graphic Design Résumé Tips

When you apply for any type of creative position, employers won’t judge your graphic design abilities based solely on the work samples you include in your portfolio. They’re also going to scrutinize your actual résumé design.

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In a recent survey by our company, nearly half (46%) of advertising and marketing executives said that for job candidates pursuing creative roles, how a résumé looks matters as much as what it contains. Another 43% of respondents said good résumé design is somewhat important. Following are some tips for creating a résumé design that attracts attention for the right reasons:

Focus on Clarity

The easier you make it for time-strapped hiring managers to quickly peruse your résumé, the better. To do this, start by using a clean, simple typeface at a normal point size that’s easy on the eyes. Use clear section headings and bullet points to showcase your most relevant skills and qualifications.

Next, don’t overdesign it. It’s generally acceptable to incorporate an element of personal branding into your résumé (your logo, for example), but avoid excessive embellishments. Too many fonts, images and colors will distract from the content, particularly if the first person to review your application is a non-designer in the human resources department.

Explore Different Formats

While you should always have a traditional, hard-copy résumé to present to employers, you also may consider marketing yourself through new channels and nontraditional approaches, too:

  • Infographic résumés. With an infographic résumé, for example, you can display your work experience and professional achievements via illustrations, charts or other visuals. This format allows designers to convey important career information while showcasing their creative abilities. You also can easily display and promote this type of résumé online, including websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest. Resources like and Kinzaa are available for less-experienced or busy designers who don’t have the ability or time to create their own infographic résumés.
  • Twesumes. If you (or your target employers) are Twitter fans, you might consider crafting a “Twesume” or 140-character version of your professional biography and/or objective statement. (Example: “In-house sr designer with 8 yrs experience seeks new opportunity. Possess proven leadership skills and several industry awards”) The career-focused tweet is commonly followed by a #twesume hashtag and link to an online résumé, portfolio or networking site profile page. The twesume can be sent as a direct message to an employer you’re targeting or function as your Twitter bio.
  • Video résumés. This type of résumé has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to webcams and YouTube. If you’re comfortable on camera, producing a polished and compelling one- to two-minute video résumé can help pique a hiring manager’s interest. The goal is to succinctly explain why you’re the right designer for the job—and spotlight your excellent presentation abilities. A variety of video résumé sites exist to help you, including ResumeTube, and VidRes.

Utilize the ‘Social’ Sphere

While LinkedIn remains the largest professional networking site, there are a growing number of next-generation résumé services that, in essence, piggyback on your social networking profiles. They pull from the biographical or career information you’ve posted and analyze your connections to create a succinct, easy-to-digest profile that may appeal to prospective employers.

BranchOut, which helps users identify connections at target companies through Facebook, is one of the best-known services. Identified is another option; it assigns a numeric value to your connections and job experience. Or consider exploring, which can give employers a fuller picture of your background and personality.

Just remember that these approaches should be used to complement—not supplement—a traditional graphic design résumé that’s both well-designed and error-free.


For more job-seeking advice, check out “The Everything Resume Book” and “Creating Your Digital Portfolio.”

3 thoughts on “Graphic Design Résumé Tips

  1. agasparetti

    I worry that infographic resumes are overdone. Thoughts? As an infographic designer, it’s completely appropriate for me, but I also see a LOT of people doing this (often badly).

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