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Graphic Designer Resume Tips and Templates to Land Your Dream Job

by Matt Ellis
art & design, featured

For graphic designers, resume writing isn’t always easy. What does the perfect graphic design resume look like? Where can you find resume examples? How does a new job application work?

In order to become a successful freelancer or graphic designer, you need to know how to navigate the job application process, and that means having an impressive resume. As tempting as it is to use an automatic resume builder, the greatest resume creator will always be you! Read on for advice to create a compelling graphic designer resume and land your dream job.

Design Job Application Process

Every graphic designer has their own personal methods for getting new jobs, but most follow the same basic steps:


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  1. Find a job forum you like. Some designers prefer standard job hunting sites like LinkedIn, while others do better with crowdsourcing sites like 99designs or Upwork.
  2. Read the job descriptions to discover new jobs that suit you.
  3. Apply to jobs you like with a cover letter and resume. Invite hiring managers to browse your online portfolio — as long as you avoid the 5 most common portfolio mistakes.
  4. Often, resumes are sorted through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This software filters job applications by certain keywords, design skills, years of professional experience or even schooling — which is why today resume writing is more important than ever.
  5. If your graphic design resume makes the cut, it will be reviewed by hiring managers — typically art directors or senior graphic designers. They’ll send you a follow-up with the specific instructions for their company.

Your online portfolio does most of the heavy lifting, while your resume is more about getting your foot in the door. If you’re worried that your portfolio doesn’t make a strong enough impact, consider taking a class on creating a knockout graphic design portfolio.

Resume Design

Graphic design resumes are more than just documents, they’re also a work sample. Graphic designers benefit from a creative resume that shows off their design skills in areas like typography, spacing and color choice.

The actual resume design should be good enough to stand out, but not good enough to distract from the resume itself.  Take a look at some preexisting resume examples for some design inspiration.

As for the technical format, PDF works well because most companies use Acrobat or similar software. Also, avoid unprofessional document names like “My Resume.”

Graphic Designer Resume Template

You can construct your graphic design resume any way you want, but be sure to include these four essential sections:

1. Contact information

Full name, number, email and physical address. Don’t forget your online portfolio URL, too.

2. Work experience

Share your professional experience, typically with a list of bullet points. You don’t have to list every design job you’ve had, just the most impressive ones.


Make a living doing what you love. Join Debbie Millman to build your brand and create a meaningful career.

A Brand Called You with Debbie Millman


3. Education

Where did you learn your craft. You can mention four-year degrees, two-year degrees, certifications, etc.

4. Design skills section

The skills section is where you list your proficiency in computer languages like HTML and CSS, or software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign (anything in the Adobe Creative Suite). You don’t need to list your level — a single name is sufficient — but it could earn you extra points if you’re an expert.

Extras

For some extra flavor, you might consider adding a profile section with some background on yourself: job titles, specializations or even just personal info — whatever you want employers to know about you.

Sometimes it helps to see an actual graphic design resume sample to base your own off of. Speckyboy offers a lookbook of 20 exceptional resume examples.

Final Tip: You are your own personal brand

As a graphic designer, you are your own personal brand. It’s the job of graphic designers to understand their client’s brand identity, but when it comes to understanding their own personal brand, it gets complicated. Think about your resume as another one of your design projects, except this time, you’re the client.

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around structuring your own personal brand identity, check out CreativeLive’s highly-rated class A Brand Called You. Taught by Debbie Millman, whom Graphic Design USA described as “one of the most influential designers working today,” this class includes individual lesson exclusively on graphic design resume writing.


Make a living doing what you love. Join Debbie Millman to build your brand and create a meaningful career.

A Brand Called You with Debbie Millman


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Matt Ellis