If you are a graphics designer looking to explore new career opportunities, you will definitely need a strong skillset in your niche. On top of that, you will also need a strong application, which, among other things, includes a resume and cover letter.
Below, we will look into how to craft an effective resume and analyze a graphic designer resume example. If you are also looking for tips on how to improve your graphic designer cover letter, check out our Graphic Designer Cover Letter Sample + Guide.
However, before we get into our resume writing guide, let’s have a quick look at what the job of a graphic designer entails.
Graphic designer job description
So, what does a graphic designer do?
The job of a graphic designer covers the entire process of visualizing and creating a variety of graphic materials: illustrations, logos, layouts, and more. Graphic designers are responsible for the visual aspects of websites, books, magazines, marketing materials, product packages, and more.
Some of the key responsibilities of a graphic designer include:
- Developing the concepts for visuals based on established requirements
- Creating illustrations and images either by hand or via professional software
- Testing how the graphics perform across different media
On average, a graphic designer in the United States makes around $57,118 annually, according to Salary.com. The salary range for graphic designers is estimated to be from $45,248 to $72,715. Salaries depend on a variety of factors: education, certification, experience, additional skills, and more.
How to write your resume as a graphic designer
Now, let’s get into the resume writing process. This is where you will start asking yourself: “How do I write about myself as a graphic designer?” Let’s take a look at the graphic designer resume example below.
The resume sample above is written in the so-called functional format that emphasizes professional skills over experience. This format has been chosen because the person is looking for a career change and doesn’t have enough experience in the new field yet.
In a chronological resume format, you will need to list your work experience in reverse chronological order — starting with the latest position. These types of resumes are centered around professional experience and are suitable for experienced professionals with several years of design work.
In a skill-based format (also known as functional), a resume is centered around the skills and expertise that you possess. In these types of resumes, you would spend more time highlighting what you can do and backing it up with certification— rather than focusing on work experience.
Skill-based resumes are suitable for new professionals who may not yet have much work experience — but do possess the skills needed to do a good job. They are also good choices for professions that require a set of specific hard skills in industries like IT, science, medicine, etc.
As we’ve mentioned, the resume above uses a functional format. This means that it is more focused on skills and expertise.
A hybrid resume format is a combination of both formats above and uses all of the above elements.
The three formats above are the most popular ways of organizing your resume and are well recognizable by HR managers. You can learn about them in Top Resume Formats: Tips and Examples of 3 Common Formats.
As you can see, there are several key sections in our resume example above. These are:
- Resume header
- Professional summary
- Professional skills
- Professional Experience
- And Education
Let’s take a look at each of the sections above in a bit more detail and see what information should be included in each one.
The header may be the simplest section of your resume. However, even a section this small offers opportunities to present yourself in the best light. Here’s what you can include in your resume header:
- Full name and professional credentials
- The country and city where you are currently located: this can help your employer estimate commute time and whether relocation is needed. Do not include your full address.
- The way you want to be contacted: phone, email, etc.
- A link to your portfolio — this will give your potential employer a chance to quickly get acquainted with your work.
- A link to professional social media —including a link to your LinkedIn profile or other professional media is also a useful extra.
This is where you explain to the hiring manager who you are as a professional. Explain your most relevant experience and expertise, your most valued skills, and other qualities that make you a great candidate for the job you are applying for.
As evident in the sample above, the applicant starts by mentioning their extensive experience in the industry, key skills, and personal qualities needed for the job.
This is one of the key sections of your resume. Keep it brief, to the point, and as specific as you possibly can. Mention any relevant certification that you possess, the tools and software you use, technical competencies, industries in which you have experience, and more. This is a good place to use a bulleted list so that this section of your resume stands out to your potential employer.
This section of your resume probably needs no explanation. Here, you will need to list your professional experience in reverse chronological order — starting with the most recent position.
When listing your experience, mention the position you held and the company you worked for.
Dedicate a special section of your resume to professional certification — especially if you have a lot to be proud of. Include all relevant certifications in your industry and other fields that may be beneficial in your line of work.
As you can see from the above sample, the applicant mentions both design certification (Adobe Certified Associate) and digital marketing and advertising certification (AdWords).
This is another section that probably requires little explanation. Here, mention your highest obtained degree and the educational institution where you conducted your studies.
Extra tips for writing your resume
Here are a few quick tips for making your graphic designer resume, UX designer resume, etc. more effective:
- Keep your resume brief. It’s best if it’s about one or two pages long. If you have a lot of work experience, your resume can be longer. However, it may also be a good idea to only select the most recent and relevant work experience for your resume.
- Keep in mind that some companies use resume reading software to shortlist the application they will go over personally. These programs are known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) — and large companies that receive a lot of applications often use them. To make your resume ATS-friendly, you will need to understand how Applicant Tracking Systems work. Here’s how: Applicant Tracking Systems are designed to screen resumes based on the specific requirements outlined by hiring managers for this position. If no matches are found, the resume may be rejected and never make it to the hiring manager’s desk. To make sure your resume is not rejected by an ATS, carefully go through the job description/ad that you are applying for and try to use the same keywords and phrases in your resume.
- Use a clear format. Hiring managers are typically very busy people — especially if you are applying for a job in a big company. They will genuinely appreciate it if you make their task easier and use a clear and easily readable format for your resume. This can also be a way to showcase your organizational skills to your potential employer. Select a clean readable font, eliminate any unnecessary blank space, use bullet points to highlight key information, etc.
Learn more about how to write a resume.
Summing things up
So, here’s the key take-away. An ideal graphic designer resume should be clean, clearly formatted, ATS-friendly, and show the recruiter that you are the best person for the job. Keep to a clear structure that includes a professional introduction, work experience, and certification. Make sure to use other sections of the resume for your benefit as well. So, add links to your portfolio or professional social media to the header of your resume.
To complete your application, you will also need an effective cover letter. Learn more about writing a cover letter in our Graphic Designer Cover Letter Sample + Guide.
Graphic Designer cover letter
An ideal resume is a combination of content that would allow you to stand out and format that is
ATS-friendly, neat and comfortable to read. Learn more about writing the perfect resume here, and be sure to
check out expert tips on creating an effective Graphic Designer cover letter to go with your resume.
Go to cover letter
Seun Ibukun has spent several years working in media, comms and HR. He has multiple degrees in linguistics and loves to talk about literature, tech, and offer career advice. He`s currently hanging out in the tropics on the first leg of a world tour.