Graphic Designer’s Resume Tips
You know what a good graphic is. You’ve got skills. How do you translate flair into a winning graphic designer resume?
Have you seen David Kelley’s TEDTalk? The one about "How to build your creative confidence", where he says "Everybody has a change-the-world thing".
How about we look at changing the world of your career, getting you a better job and a salary boost?
The research has been done and here’s our guide to give you some graphic design resume inspiration.
Write a Graphic Designer’s Resume Career Summary/Objective — Top Tips
In the realm of jobs in graphic communication, there’s many roles. Whichever niche you fit in, you need a stand-out resume.
When the question is: "Tell me about yourself, graphic designer?" what’s your answer?
Tick the query off straight away with your resume summary or objective.
A career resume summary works on a senior graphic designer resume because it’s perfect for showing years of work you’ve done.
This is a great example of a career summary:
A resume objective is better-suited for entry-level or freelance graphic designer resumes; it demonstrates commitment to your field.
Here’s some inspiration:
You don’t want anything generic when you write your graphic designer resume objective.
What works is details showing your strengths related to the job you want.
You’re a designer, be creative with how your resume looks. Check out one of our creative graphic design resume templates for free to demonstrate your eye for design.
Work Experience Section for a Graphic Designer’s Resume
At the top of your graphic design resume work experience section goes your most recent role.
You need to list as bullets what you were responsible for and what you achieved
Don’t be vague; don’t do this:
Fantastical Studios, Michigan
Made graphics for clients daily
Held team meetings on projects thinking how to increase blog traffic and value
Created lots of logos for many clients
What’s wrong here? There’s no facts and it’s all a bit wishy-washy.
Here’s what you should aim for:
January 2017‒February 2019
Fantastical Studios, Michigan
Qualifications & Responsibilities:
- Took lead on daily design requirements in dynamic firm
- Ran project meetings developing ideas to drive blog clicks and visitor conversions through design
- Worked as a creative lead to produce layouts for multiple websites that host written content
- Designed two logos that were shortlisted in the Michigan Small Business Forum Creative Awards
Primary designer on more than 250 projects covering social media, infographics, and websites
Redesign and rebrand projects in 2019 averaged purchase rate increases by 35%
This one is more specific, including facts and figures.
Considering how to get a graphic design job without experience?
Easy — create an online portfolio and mention it in your resume:
Portfolio at designsbyjess.net
October 2015‒December 2016
- Created logo for Smith & Grieves Legal Offices, Michigan
- Awarded Best T-shirt print at ComicCon 2016
- Designed website and landing pages for CrystalsCharmsandChanges.com, Milwaukee
It’s perfectly possible for anyone to make a great resume — give facts and clear examples every time.
How To Showcase Your Graphic Designer Skills on a Resume
Key skills in resume for graphic designer are:
- Adobe Suite
- Free Hand
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Corel Draw
These are known as hard skills.
Soft skills are equally vital for a graphic designer; be sure to add things like:
- Managing schedules and deadlines
- Organizing workflows
- Collaborating online and offline
- Adapting to feedback
Need help presenting your list of creative skills for a resume?
Here’s our take:
Portfolio at designsbyjess.net
- Researching and designing shareable infographics for high-converting social media accounts
- Redesigning commercial websites, strengthening brands, and driving click conversions
- Creating landing pages for eCommerce stores, growing click-funnel activity
Build a Killer Graphic Designer’s Portfolio
As a designer, you want to show potential employers examples of your best work.
And here portfolio comes in handy.
In order to build a killer portfolio, create your graphic designer portfolio at one of the two major portfolio platforms for creatives: Dribbble or Behance.
Let’s compare them.
- Behance has content and ideas for nearly any creative field you can think of.
- Dribbble is more specifically for illustrators and animators and people who do microinteractions, UI/UX design, and web design.
When you use Behance, you can add lots of details about your work:
- Information about the project and the client
- Add your first draft sketches or the first few rounds of revisions to demonstrate your working process
- Share the finished product across different settings like display items, editorial writing, posters, business cards, or any other format you need
Dribbble works differently, in that you can:
- Upload different elements of a project, show different accents through transition effects, animations, and even your current work in progress
- Add tags for easy searching and bespoke color palettes
- Show projects in full detail, with attachments, milestone activity, project statistics, etc. when you use the paid version
Whichever platform you use, you should see your chances of getting a graphic design job increase.
In terms of cost, Behance gives you more features for free and it’s easy to join — just pop on the website and sign up.
With Dribbble, you need to get a personal invite link, but with that you get access to potential job offers on the exclusive community.
Starting out on your design career path?
There are websites out there that promote design challenges you can take part in, such as 👉 this one.
To go all out, you can even design your own website to show off all your portfolio pieces.
With your own site, your potential employers will be less distracted than with a portfolio hosting site and they should stay longer.
However, to really make your website work for you, you’ll need to understand search engine optimization and marketing.
The investment should be worth it for senior graphic designers, but students and freshers to the industry might not have enough content to fill a website well.
The last question is, where to put a portfolio link on a resume?
Add a portfolio section to your resume in order to add links to your work or even to your personal website.
Pro-TipWhen you're writing a resume or a CV, it's better to include all of your contact information at the top of your document.
Best Certifications for a Graphic Designer
For certifications, as a graphic designer, you’ll know it’s important to get qualified in lots of different things.
Check these international certificates to add to your visual designer resume:
Adobe is clearly popular and it’s not a surprise. Most graphic designers heavily rely on Adobe’s tools to produce quality work.
Education Section and Where to Learn Graphic Design Resume Skills
When writing a freelance illustrator resume, or other graphic design resumes, does education really matter much?
When it’s industry-related — yes.
Most positions for graphic designers require at least a Bachelor’s.
Here’s how to make your education section speak as loudly as your designs:
Current GPA 3.7
On a team participating in Commerce in Reality Program; designer of a fully functional eCommerce website.
Interned as designer for Big Bear Developers during second year
Favorite area of study: User website experience
There are lots of resources to spice up your artistic skills list to make recruiters notice your graphic design resume. Here’s our pick:
- Canva lets you create banners, posts, newsletters, etc. There are also free graphic design courses on Canva, taking lessons from successful graphic designers internationally.
- Skillshare hosts thousands of cheap and free online courses, including ones about the technology used in graphic design plus basics like what makes a good graphic designer?
- LinkedIn Learning has specific courses for aspiring graphic designers and information for anyone wanting to broaden skills in design and communication.
Writing a Cover Letter for a Graphic Designer’s Resume
For an example of a graphic designer cover letter, aim for something like this:
In this paragraph, it covers the job applied for, relevant experience, and even gives solid facts and figures to back everything up.
Your graphic designer cover letter is a great place to shine a light on your career achievements to date.
Graphic Designer’s Job Outlook: Useful Statistics
According to the BLS (US bureau of labor statistics), for graphic design, here are the industries with the highest rates of employment:
|Industry||Employment||Percent of industry employment||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Specialized Design Services||27,720||19.12||$28.28||$58,830|
|Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services||21,650||4.42||$28.01||$58,270|
|Printing and Related Support Activities||19,910||4.63||$21.87||$45,490|
|Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers||13,720||4.51||$23.45||$48,770|
|Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services||10,830||0.73||$29.64||$61,650|
Even with this, it’s expected that graphic design employment will decline up to 4% between 2019-2029.
There’s going to be a lot of competition for graphic design jobs.
Get ahead of the game by following our tips for a great graphic design resume.
Still wondering "Why is it so hard to get a graphic design job?"
Use our graphic design resume examples for inspiration to put you ahead of the pack and land the job you want.
Now you know what kind of resume a graphic designer needs to find the perfect job, you just need a ready-to-use resume template, free of charge, to get you going!