What's the first thing a hiring manager typically sees? It's your resume, and that means it better make a great first impression. In one (or sometimes two) pages, you need to be able to summarize your work history, showcase your skills and exemplify why you're the candidate the employer needs. And because of the nature of the role, it’s vital that your graphic designer resume is visually appealing. Long story short, one wrong step and your chances of landing that dream design job could be over.
Ready to get your graphic designer resume in front of more employers?
Every day, hiring managers see hundreds of resumes. And some may only spend a minute or two looking at each one. So it's important that your document is as clear and compelling as possible.
If you want your graphic designer resume to shine, you need to avoid making any faux pas. Take a look at this list and see if you're making any of these seven common mistakes on your resume:
1. Making typos or grammar errors
You could be the perfect candidate for a particular graphic design position, but if you have a typo in your resume, hiring managers will very likely pass you by. That's because typos make it seem like you are careless and lack attention to detail.
Avoid losing your credibility and make sure you check (and recheck) your resume. Catching your own errors can be difficult, so ask a detail-oriented friend or trusted member of your professional network to look it over for you. Try reading your resume out loud, too. It may be easier to catch a mistake when you say it, rather than when you read it in your head.
2. Not tailoring for a specific job
When it comes to graphic designer resumes, one size definitely does not fit all job postings. If you're using the same version of your resume to apply for every job, you're missing out on the opportunity to stand out and show why you and you alone are perfect for that specific role with that particular company.
Take a close look at the description of the position you're applying for. What keywords or phrases can you include in your resume to align with what they're seeking? What additional insights can you gain from reading the employer’s website or marketing materials? You want to make sure you come across as an ideal candidate, and your resume needs to reflect that.
3. Spotlighting duties instead of accomplishments
It's easy to fall into the trap of just listing your duties for all of your past jobs on your resume. For example, if you're a graphic designer, maybe your resume sounds like this:
- Designed newsletters, promotional materials and sales collateral
- Created design theme for marketing presentations
- Collaborated with sales and marketing to complete graphic design projects
While it may seem like this is valuable information to share with a hiring manager or prospective freelance client, you're not truly illustrating your accomplishments and what you've achieved. Instead, think in terms of ROI. Try using active and quantifiable statements to show how you've added value in your previous positions like this:
- Led major graphic design campaign that increased customer response rate by 70%
- Developed a new graphic design production process, increasing efficiency by 30%
- Earned two [insert organization name here] awards for logo creation
4. Failing to make your graphic designer resume visually appealing
Beyond making sure your resume has all the necessary and relevant information, you also absolutely need it to look great. In fact, there’s no job one could apply for where the look and feel of the document is more important. If you're manipulating your margins and using a tiny font size in an effort to stuff as much text on the page as possible, you’re not conveying your skill as a polished designer. When it comes to graphic designer resumes, you must deliver both substance and style.
5. Using cliches or jargon
There are some phrases that almost everyone seems to use on their resume. Phrases like team player, self-starter and outside-the-box thinker are so overused that they've completely lost their meaning. Review your resume and remove any vague or hollow phrases. You'll also want to rephrase any jargon, buzzwords or obscure acronyms specific to your current or previous company.
6. Forgetting to add your contact information
If there's one thing you absolutely need to get right on your resume, it's your contact information. And you’d be surprised how often people forget to include it—or proofread it. If you fail to include your information at the top of your document, how will the hiring manager be able to call you for an interview? Your contact info should be quick and easy to find.
7. Including personal information
Besides your name, address, email and phone number, don’t include other personal information on your resume. Your age, social security number, marital status, religious preferences and other personal details don’t pertain your ability to perform the job. Leave them off.