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Resume Remedy 2008-05-07 13:01:30

Graphic Designer's Résumé, Remedied

TeamSugar member suzanneheidi is a graphic designer who's had some trouble getting interviews over the past few months. She has enough experience in her field to make a well-focused résumé and is obviously very capable and smart, but she's not sure how to improve what she already has so that employers see her as an attractive applicant.

Before I began my attempt at remedying this résumé, I asked the opinion of our fabulous graphic designer here at Sugar HQ. Here's what she had to say about creating your résumé as a graphic designer: "The biggest thing I would say for a design résumé is not to make it boring. If you are a good designer, your résumé should take some kind of stylistic approach to make it stand out from the boring white Word document résumés. I feel that if you are applying for a creative job, you should strive to show you are creative right off the bat. Some people feel differently, but I think it really depends on the company where you're applying."

I love her advice about giving your résumé a more creative edge depending on the company to which you're applying. Check out my observations and advice when you

.

  1. Be attentive to grammar and punctuation: Your résumé is the first time you get to show an employer that you're attentive to detail. Capitalize the first word of every sentence and end each sentence with a period. It may not seem like it's important, but you want to give the impression that as an employee you'd produce polished work. Even if composing brief emails is only writing you'll be doing in your actual job, you need to show that you don't miss a beat. Choosing to write your résumé or cover letter in all lower-case letters isn't showing off your creative side, and it just looks like you weren't careful.
  2. Get rid of the fluff: When I asked our graphic designer if showcasing a summary of qualifications was standard for these types of résumés, she responded that "design résumé seem to run the gamut" and "listing that information first gets to the point and tells the employer what that person can do." It's a teaser for the employer to want to continue reading your résumé, so these points should be sharp if you're going to include this section. The summary doesn't really list her qualifications as she implied with the section's "Summary of Qualifications" title. It lists personal characteristics and skills that shouldn't introduce a résumé. Think about swapping the general statements for more specific accomplishments that will make your résumé shine.
  3. Don't forget about education: Even if you didn't get a formal degree, you should mention any courses or seminars you completed that relate to your chosen career. Even if you'd describe the experiences as forgettable to your friends, it's important to show off these related tidbits on your résumé.
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gitwenty5 gitwenty5 8 years
I think any resume must be concise and to the point. What really gets me now (I was guilty of the same act when I was younger) was how much "filler" we all try to add to our credentials in ways like trying to use "smart" words (like, we try to say "experienced" or "learned" in 5 different synonyms?). Just get to the point, using "learned", "gained knowledge" and "adapted to" in one single job description really makes me wonder how much there was to "learn" in the first place...
Smart-Living Smart-Living 8 years
MindayH- The grammar and punctuation are absolutely not exclusive to graphic designers, I was simply pointing out that her resume in particular had these flaws.
Smart-Living Smart-Living 8 years
MindayH- The grammar and punctuation are absolutely not exclusive to graphic designers, I was simply pointing out that her resume in particular had these flaws.
suzanneheidi suzanneheidi 8 years
Thank you for all the tips:) I reformatted and rewrote parts of my resume and it's Much better - and I'm certainly feeling more confident! (and my education is on my resume, I just had left it off of the post) Thanks again!
suzanneheidi suzanneheidi 8 years
Thank you for all the tips:)I reformatted and rewrote parts of my resume and it's Much better - and I'm certainly feeling more confident!(and my education is on my resume, I just had left it off of the post)Thanks again!
MindayH MindayH 8 years
I feel like the punctuation and grammar part shouldn't be exclusive to just Graphic Designers.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great tips.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great tips.
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
gitwenty5, I know exactly what you mean. At my last job I was in charge of hiring and I wouldn't even consider interviewing anyone who sent me something with too many pages or sent samples of work with tacky starbursts. DearMissPriss, my current boss won't hire anyone for her agency that spells QuarkXPress wrong.
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
gitwenty5, I know exactly what you mean. At my last job I was in charge of hiring and I wouldn't even consider interviewing anyone who sent me something with too many pages or sent samples of work with tacky starbursts.DearMissPriss, my current boss won't hire anyone for her agency that spells QuarkXPress wrong.
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 8 years
I think another important thing is to do something different than everyone else. I was interested in getting into design for the beauty industry, so I did a self promo lip gloss with my company name on it. It was a LOT of work because I did it myself (labels, safety seals, packaging....), but it was well worth it.Now I want to get into nightlife promotion, so I take my business cards to bars and clubs when I go out and make an effort to introduce myself to promoters and management.Don't be afraid to try something seemingly crazy, you have nothing to lose.
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 8 years
I think another important thing is to do something different than everyone else. I was interested in getting into design for the beauty industry, so I did a self promo lip gloss with my company name on it. It was a LOT of work because I did it myself (labels, safety seals, packaging....), but it was well worth it. Now I want to get into nightlife promotion, so I take my business cards to bars and clubs when I go out and make an effort to introduce myself to promoters and management. Don't be afraid to try something seemingly crazy, you have nothing to lose.
cubadog cubadog 8 years
Resumes on cheap/printer paper drive me nuts.
gitwenty5 gitwenty5 8 years
I have been trying to hire a designer in the last month. It shocks me as how many designers do NOT know the etiquettes of sending a resume and portfolio preperation. The horrors I've received include: 1) Resumes that are 7 pages+ Like really, I DON'T need to know what your previous company do to full-page details. I'm trying to hire you, not your previous company. 2) People who show me filler-work When I mean "filler-work", I mean don't show me work that does not showcase your creativity. Sure yeah you did a thing for Citibank, GREAT. But it's a crappy below-the-line ad with 120 pt type screaming "60% off" and giant star burst. I am not looking for a portfolio manager, I am looking for someone who will do great creative work. In the end, design/advertising is marketing, visual communication, strategic planning rolled into a nice little ball. Your resume is more important than you think!
gitwenty5 gitwenty5 8 years
I have been trying to hire a designer in the last month. It shocks me as how many designers do NOT know the etiquettes of sending a resume and portfolio preperation. The horrors I've received include:1) Resumes that are 7 pages+ Like really, I DON'T need to know what your previous company do to full-page details. I'm trying to hire you, not your previous company.2) People who show me filler-workWhen I mean "filler-work", I mean don't show me work that does not showcase your creativity. Sure yeah you did a thing for Citibank, GREAT. But it's a crappy below-the-line ad with 120 pt type screaming "60% off" and giant star burst. I am not looking for a portfolio manager, I am looking for someone who will do great creative work. In the end, design/advertising is marketing, visual communication, strategic planning rolled into a nice little ball. Your resume is more important than you think!
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 8 years
Do NOT spell QuarkXPress wrong. Once I forgot to capitalize the "P" and my agent left me this frantic message about a "huge" typo on my résumé. I thought I spelled my name wrong or something. =p
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
It is very important to have a unique resume that doesn't look like it was done in Word. I designed my own personal logo using my initials to give mine it's own look. I also make sure to use nice paper, not cheap 20lb. basic white printer paper but don't go with anything crazy that makes it unreadable. If you can include a link to an online portfolio or a disc with one that also helps. Another tip is to make sure if you're listing the software you know how to use, spell the name correctly. Many employers will think you don't know how to use it if you can't spell the name.
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
It is very important to have a unique resume that doesn't look like it was done in Word. I designed my own personal logo using my initials to give mine it's own look. I also make sure to use nice paper, not cheap 20lb. basic white printer paper but don't go with anything crazy that makes it unreadable. If you can include a link to an online portfolio or a disc with one that also helps.Another tip is to make sure if you're listing the software you know how to use, spell the name correctly. Many employers will think you don't know how to use it if you can't spell the name.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Great ideas, I wish you luck!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Great ideas, I wish you luck!
ur_momm ur_momm 8 years
good timing, im actually trying to get back into graphic design (i have a college diploma in graphic and web design but I have been working as a sales assitant for 3 years) and I totally agree about the part of changing your resume to go with the employer... i remember my teachers in school say not to make it too flashy. employers want your information, u dont want to overdo it, thats what your portfolio is for!!! Having an online portfolio and a link to the portfolio on your resume is a good idea. I dont really know what advice i would give since im not an employer nor currently working in graphic design but the above is what i would suggest!
ur_momm ur_momm 8 years
good timing, im actually trying to get back into graphic design (i have a college diploma in graphic and web design but I have been working as a sales assitant for 3 years) and I totally agree about the part of changing your resume to go with the employer... i remember my teachers in school say not to make it too flashy. employers want your information, u dont want to overdo it, thats what your portfolio is for!!!Having an online portfolio and a link to the portfolio on your resume is a good idea.I dont really know what advice i would give since im not an employer nor currently working in graphic design but the above is what i would suggest!
graylen graylen 8 years
They say that, for a graphic designer, the hardest job you will ever have is marketing yourself. Give the employer a whole package: business cards that complement your resume, that have design elements that compliment your portfolio. The employer needs to see that you can make the whole package.
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