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A Brand Called You

Lesson 21 of 22

Creating a Stellar Resume and Cover Letter

Debbie Millman

A Brand Called You

Debbie Millman

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Lesson Info

21. Creating a Stellar Resume and Cover Letter


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:12:41
2 Defining Brand Duration:09:34
3 Finding Your Mindset Duration:04:57
5 Busy Is A Decision Duration:02:45
6 Honing your Mindset Duration:07:35
7 Generators vs. Drains Duration:19:39

Lesson Info

Creating a Stellar Resume and Cover Letter

Let's talk a little bit about your resume. Resumes. I am of the mindset that simple is best. Now, this is a topic where a lot of people have a lot of different opinions. Some people think if you're a designer, it should be arty or crafty. I'm not one of them. I think that resumes should be black ink on white paper. Period. The end. No clip art, no icons, no little doodles, no handwritten things, no garnishes, flourishes, anything that makes it look like it's a resume from somebody that hasn't got stature. You want to take yourself seriously, and you want a serious resume. Somebody might tell you you want the resume to break away from the pack. I've never seen a pink resume actually do any good. I've never seen a resume with big icons on it or a photo of the person actually stand out from the pack. Those are usually the ones that go in the circular file. So, simple is better. No gimmicks. I'm not, now other people might tell you other things, you can listen to them if you want to. I hav...

e never seen a resume work that had any kind of gimmick on it. One page, unless you're 10 years into your career. In which case you can have more than one page. But if you are less than 10 years into your career, one page. Spell check. Everything about your resume needs to be perfect. If you're using M dashes, all the dashes should be M dashes. If you're using N dashes, use N. If you're using abbreviations, you shouldn't use some abbreviations and then not use other abbreviations. If you abbreviate September, you should also abbreviate January. You shouldn't abbreviate September if you are spelling out January. You want everything to be consistent. Your use of periods should be consistent. Your use of spacing should be consistent. The paper should be nice if you are actually handing it to someone. Please have a dignified email address. It's not anymore, okay? You'd be surprised at how many strange email addresses I see. And this is something that I also feel really strongly about. No filler. You don't need to put where you went to high school. You don't need to put your skills. If you're a designer, skills are table stains. Unless you have really, really unusual skills that no one else does. Skills in Adobe Photoshop are a given. A given. You do not need to call those out on your resume. You do not need to call out your interests. The only additional things that you can put on your resume are if you've won awards, or if you speak other languages. In which case you can say fluent in Russian and Portuguese. And that's it. There is nothing else. Skills, interests, objectives. No objectives. You don't need an objective. It's obvious if you're a designer, you want a design job. If you're a strategist, you want a strategy job. You're not going for a job in plumbing. Therefore you do not need to have an objective that states the obvious. They always sound hokey. They always sound heavy handed. You just want a clear, concise, articulate way of describing what it is you have done and are doing. And that's it. You want it printed on beautiful paper, and when you hand it to somebody, you hand it with pride, and you don't apologize for the dog ears or the smeared ink because you don't have any of that. It's always beautiful. And when you're sending it via email, it's the same way. You have a clear, concise subject line. You include your resume, and you have a very well written cover letter. This is where your objectives help. Whatever your objective was on your resume, you take that off your resume, and you put that into your cover letter. Anybody that's reading your cover letter, should come away from reading your cover letter thinking you are the wittiest, smartest, most interesting person on the planet. And it should take you a long time to write your cover letter. Because you really want to make it perfect. You wanna talk about why you're interested in them. And you want to do that in a way that no one has done before. You wanna make connections between their work, and your work in a way that shows that you have the right mentality and the synergies that make sense for you to be working there. You wanna be able to articulate what your benefit is without stating it or hammering it over the head of a person. So you wanna be clear, you wanna be concise, you wanna be articulate, you also wanna be witty. Imagine writing your profile on a dating site. That's sort of what it's like. You wanna come across as your optimal, best sense, with the most range, and the most potential for being the person that they want to hire. And it needs to be inspiring. And you need to have other people read it, and assess it, and give you all the possible criticism that you can get. Everybody in this room has to know a writer. Share it with a writer. Have them give you pointers. Shouldn't be overly personal, it shouldn't be overly gushing, you wanna get the right tone that people will take you seriously. And get that hmm response that you get when you articulate your mission statement.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

It takes work to get the work you love. It takes knowing how to interview well, how to communicate flawlessly, how to articulate your own purpose and to simultaneously do this while facing tremendous rejection. Debbie Millman is one of the most influential design minds of our time; an author, educator, brand strategist, and founder and host of the acclaimed podcast Design Matters. In her class you'll learn how to:

  • Create a meaningful philosophy that will guide your career
  • Present yourself in meetings and interviews
  • Network and standout from your competition
  • Find discipline in your approach to work
  • Sell yourself with more confidence

Are you spending enough time on looking for, finding and working towards winning a great job? Are you doing everything you can—every single day—to stay in “career shape”? What else should you be doing?

Join Debbie and answer these questions you should be asking yourself...


a Creativelive Student

B R I LLIANNNNNNT !!!! I love the such solid human being that she is and her grandiosity of holding our shoulder and say : go head! Dare to be your best self, own it. Here are some tips .... !!!! Uhuuuuuuuuu!! So inspiring! Thank you so much, Debbie. For couple of days you were my very BEST FRIEND :) Thanks Creative Live!! This is NOT a live "manual" on technical skills. If that is what you are looking for go some steps down and there are plenty of people teaching that, like traditional schools do. You will only learn what is "there" for you to learn if you are open TO HEAR with sincerity. Debbie tells several things that works and that doesn't in professional field besides showing what successful business look for in the people, or partners. Out standing!! I would love to watch another class with her.


I loved this course. Five Stars. I was initially drawn to this course because of the title. I had read Tom Peter's article (with the same name) in Fast Company magazine many years ago, and found it really inspiring. This was before 'brand' was a household word. Anyway, the course is geared more towards designers looking for their dream job than a typical branding course, but as it happens, I am a designer, so it was quite informative. I can also use much of the advice and lessons and apply them to my own business. From contacting potential employers or clients to creative self promotion, there's valuable lesson to be had. I watched and listened to this course in one day, almost straight through. I highly recommend it. Great insight, great advice - whether you're a design student or not. If you're the creative type, I think you'll find this both enlightening and very enjoyable.