There is currently a high demand for graphic designers across the United States, and that offers an excellent opportunity for a graphic designer to explore new work opportunities.
You will usually include a portfolio and other supporting material, but don’t think for a second that a future employer won’t also look at your resume when estimating your skills and abilities. We are not only talking about the content of your resume but also about how it looks.
You are applying for a designer job, after all, so your resume needs to be error-free, have excellent typography and an appealing layout, without going too far. A simple, tastefully designed CV will take you a long way.
Other than that, you need to show that you have experience working as a graphic designer, and a hiring manager will want to know if you know how to use design software and a little bit about your personality.
We have composed a list of tips and suggestions and a full graphic designer resume sample at the end of this article.
Resume objective for graphic designers
Graphic design is a popular career and an in-demand area of expertise, so expect competition when you apply for your next design job. Start your CV off with a resume objective tailored to the job post or position you are applying for by looking for keywords in the job post. What are they looking for?
Common skills sought in a graphic designer are punctuality, knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite, and other design software programs. Also, the ability to multi-task and create unique, customized, and relevant content.
A graphic designer needs to be a good listener to understand what the client wants, and the language used in the job posting could give you a hint as to what type of creative graphic designer they need.
Creative and dedicated professional seeking work as a Graphic Designer. 5 years+ of documented experience, knowledge of software programs like CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Xara Designer Pro X, and with a desire to continue growing as a graphic designer.
Resume skills for graphic designers
Prioritize your most relevant design skills, and use the job post for inspiration by scanning it for keywords and the skills required. Some companies may use software to sort through applications and resumes, where the software will pick out resumes that include desired skills.
Being a team player is also essential when working with graphic design. It takes specific listening abilities to channel client requests even when they don’t even know what they want (if you are a graphic designer – you know what we are talking about).
Graphic designer work experience
A skilled graphic designer creates anything from magazines, newspapers, books, presentations, flyers, and brochures, to upscale reports, apparel designs, product packaging, and more. A recruiter will likely be interested in your portfolio, but they will also want to know where you have worked previously.
Put together a section of relevant work experience. For instance, if you have worked as a photo editor, flash designer, animator, web designer, product designer, or anything else that relates to the field of graphic design.
The field of graphic design is like a big tree, where it branches out in different directions and leads you down different career paths. It is in your best interest to be specific regarding the work you did for each employer listed.
Sample Work Experience
Metric Mania, Syracuse, NY
Creative Director, 2017 – 2020
In charge of managing a team of 8 for a growing media company. Supervised the creation of high-quality artwork (mostly for television and the internet), and was responsible for final approval before submitting work to the client.
- Suggested an expansion of the creative team from five to eight people, which lead to a more efficient workflow.
- Was frequently recognized for having innovative ideas that paid off both financially and in terms of work efficiency.
- Held a course in time management after identifying flaws in the team’s work routines, and it helped the team meet deadlines and work better together.
- Started a collaboration with university students (graphic design majors) that benefitted both their studies and the company.
Brush Up Media, New York City, NY
Multimedia designer, 2015 – 2017
Worked with multiple software applications to create drawings, sketches, animated videos, images, and costume design proposals for a digital media agency. Was also involved in basic web design to promote the company services.
- Improved customer satisfaction with 85% by implementing a reliable art revision system, to prevent errors and small slip-ups.
- Developed work strategies to meet stringent deadlines and establish client trust, which resulted in the team meeting monthly goals faster.
- Used new marketing strategies to come up with innovative designs, with the goal to reach a wider client base.
- Had my portfolio reviewed by an important international client who chose to work with the company based on my work.
Savvy Tech, Arlington, VA
Brand Identity Designer, 2014 – 2019
Identified design trends and worked to build a strong visual brand identity for the company. Designed the company logo, business cards, and layouts for media campaigns, and helped modernize the material destined for marketing.
- Rebranded the company with a new logo, slogan, essential website updates, and merchandise.
- Called a meeting with the company management to explain the importance of innovation, and this eventually resulted in a significant customer increase.
- Reduced the need to print material with 43%, which got the company noticed by an environmental organization.
- Boosted client transactions with an average of 32.8%.
Graphic designer education
While it is not a legal requirement, most employers look to hire graphic designers with a Bachelor’s degree, and some may even require further studies and academic achievements.
If you have attended a study program approved by the National Association of Schools and Art Design – great, but any associate’s degree, B.A or M.A will look good on a graphic designer resume.
Listing academic achievements on your graphic designer resume can help highlight both your artistic and technical skills.
Emerson College, Boston, MA
MA in Media Design, 2016 – 2018
Upper Iowa University, Fayette, IA
Bachelor of Arts in Marketing, 2012 – 2016
- GPA: 3.5
If you have taken courses related to graphic design – these would go in this section. Having taken recent courses will show a commitment to the profession. It will convince the hiring manager that your knowledge and skills are up to date in a continuously evolving business.
The good thing about a career as a graphic designer is that there are many courses available online, and a number of them are free! If you are struggling to land your dream job, taking a class is a great way to boost your resume!
- Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design
- A Brief History of Typography
- Colors and Their Relationships
Many different certifications are valuable when applying for a job as a graphic designer. Your future employer will want to know that you understand the “language” and the terms used in these work environments, along with understanding the necessary software programs.
For example, you can opt for getting certified through Adobe® in the area or program you are interested in or pursue SEO certification or perhaps a Google AdWord certification.
There are so many things you need to be good at as a graphic designer, and your skillset should be dipping into marketing, business management, copywriting, and much more. The more documented knowledge you can present – the better are your chances of getting the job.
- Google AdWords certification
- Illustrator CC 2018 MasterClass (Udemy)
- Graphic Design Certification by Calarts (Coursera)
Complete graphic designer resume sample
It is not enough to be a great graphic designer – you need a resume that demonstrates just how good you are. Have a look at this real job posting for a graphic designer and the accompanying sample resume.
Have a look at this job post. What can we learn from it? The company is looking for a team player and a self-starter, someone who can take criticism, meet deadlines, be flexible, and understand the importance of delivering quality work.
They require their new employee to have in-depth knowledge of layout and design, be a good listener, know how to work independently, and preferably have a B.A in Fine Arts. If this job sounds like a good fit for you, then your resume could look like the sample resume below.
Innovative Graphic Designer who loves a challenge and understands the importance of flexibility and dedication. Has a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications, 5+ years of experience, knowledge of branding, coding, and typography, and a desire to exceed expectations and continue growing professionally.
Attention to detail | Excellent time management | Professional | B.A in Visual Communications | Flexible | Creative | Google AdWords Certified | Organized | Teamwork oriented | Always looking to learn
Print & Publish, Dallas, TX
Layout Artist, 2017 – 2019
Created appealing media for print, such as brochures, booklets, flyers, and posters, and made sure the material appealed to a large and diverse group of customers. Arranged images and made sure the typeface went with the concept.
- Took on the responsibilities normally carried out by two employees, and saved the company both money and time.
- Increased efficiency by implementing a reporting system to keep track of what goals were met each workday.
- Suggested mid-weekly meetings to catch up with the rest of the team, and once implemented – it increased efficiency.
- Created a marketing campaign targeting a younger generation, which instantly resulted in an increase in business for the company.
Urban News Media, Dallas, TX
Photo Editor, 2014 – 2017
Edited, transformed, and prepared photos for cutting-edge ad campaigns, both digital and print, to meet the needs and requirements of high-profile clients. Used Adobe Photoshop, Canva, and other tools to create show-stopping imagery under strict deadlines.
- Trained two new photo editors to help the company expand, and got them ready to start working faster than with regular training.
- Managed to please a client known for being impossible to please, by listening carefully to his needs and requests.
- Took on design responsibilities to fill in for an employee on sick leave, and received excellent feedback.
- Was awarded for ‘Best Innovative Idea’ in 2016.
John Parson & Son, Austin, TX
Graphic Designer, 2012 – 2014
Responsible for all media campaigns and marketing designs. Designed the company logo, business cards, and other merchandise, and kept track of design trends to update and modernize existing material.
- Successfully rebranded the company with modernized designs, which appealed to a new and younger client group.
- The business cards I designed won a contest for the best-looking business cards in the county.
- Presented a strategy to reach more people through our marketing campaigns, without spending extra money.
- Involved the management team in the creation of marketing material, which was well-received by both customers and management.
- Adobe Illustrator: Mastering the Fundamentals (Udemy)
- Web Designing Certification by University of Michigan (Coursera)
Arden University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, 2011 – 2015
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
Pre-Bachelor in Design, Apparel and Merchandising, 2010 – 2011
- After Effects CC: Complete Course from Novice to Expert
- Canva Graphics Design for Entrepreneurs
- Graphic Design Bootcamp Online (Udemy)
Graphic designers are key players in any successful business, due to the role they play in company branding, marketing, and the creation of great designs and content. It takes an excellent portfolio to get a good job, but it also takes a top-notch resume.
Getting a job as a graphic designer is all about highlighting skills, knowledge, and experience. Employers want to know they are hiring someone who can handle a fast-paced environment and a significant workload.
- Essential skills for a Graphic Designer are the ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines, and accept criticism.
- The client(s) will request changes, and you need to show your future employer that you are someone who can handle this and who listens and understands what the client wants.
- There is no substitute for work experience on a Graphic Designer resume. Be specific and detailed, and show that you know your profession and the responsibilities it entails.
Tips from Experts
“Keep it simple. You want to show the best of what you have to offer the company. You have to sell yourself and show yourself in the best light possible.” – Michael Tierney, Award-Winning Motion Designer
“Graphic design can be particularly competitive. When many applicants are applying for a position – experience can often be the deciding factor.” – Gareth David, Branding Designer & Founder of Gareth David Studio
The BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) predicts a significant increase in open positions for graphic designers over the next few years, and their estimate is approximately 4% in 10 years (2016-2026). This is a good sign for anyone working- or seeking work as a graphic designer.
However, this also means that it is about time you get your resume in order, or someone else might snatch that dream role, even though you have all the qualifications needed. You know your strengths and you know what you are good at, so make sure the recruiter knows it too by looking at your resume.