Creativity is important for good interior design. But an interior designer’s job is not just about making rooms and homes look pretty. Rather, some important technical skills are required to achieve beautifully-designed, aesthetically pleasing indoor environments.
Interior decorating is one thing, but a designer needs to have a working knowledge of software applications and building information modeling (BIM) as well as a solid grounding in health and safety issues, structural requirements, and building codes.
It usually takes qualified designers about five years to define exactly where their careers are going. During this mid-career phase, many specialize and pursue certifications.
At the end of this article, you will find a sample resume that will provide some insight into an interior design position that involves working with an architectural design team. It is not so much the details, but rather the overall concept illustrated by the sample that will help you to craft a resume that will showcase your own skills and experience.
Resume objective for interior designer
The common objective of all interior designers is to craft beautiful indoor spaces. But there are many different paths an interior designer can follow.
But there is a wealth of possibilities for anyone wanting a successful career in interior design. If you haven’t chosen a specialty, decide where you want to go and what you want to achieve before you look for a job.
Many interior designers start their own firms and target their skills to homeowners. Others work with contractors, architects, engineers, and other professionals they know and trust. Some find jobs in businesses that manufacture products that are central to good interior design.
You might want to be independent of commercial constraints and create alliances with furniture or textile manufacturers, lighting designers, and even graphic designers and talented decorative artists. Because you aren’t employed by them, you won’t have to specify their products, but if you do, you might benefit from a commission or even just goodwill in the form of positive references.
The route you decide to take will directly affect your resume.
You also need to look for job opportunities that match your aspirations and/or specialty. Ideally, your job objective will correspond 100% with the employment options you are considering.
Passionate, certified interior designer with more than six years of experience now specializing in commercial design. Creative eye and an excellent ability to communicate and translate clients’ wishes into reality. Skilled in AutoCAD and Adobe Suite programs.
Resume skills for interior designer
Interior design skills are vast and varied, and they range from being highly technical to elaborately creative. Perhaps even more important than being able to do the job is the ability to communicate, after all, an interior designer is there to make other people’s dreams come true.
But it isn’t that simple.
As an interior designer you need to be able to use your knowledge to design and create interiors that work within the confines of what is available. This applies to organizational skills and 2D or 3D design abilities to show how spaces will be transformed as much as to budget.
A skilled interior designer is able to convert a blank space into something that not only matches a client’s prerequisites and desires. It will also make the best of the environmental canvas that is available.
The skills required to do this will depend partly on the job, but there will be other pointers in the client’s specific requirements. These could include anything from a need to follow sustainable practices to a request to follow a traditional style or incorporate particular colors. Presuming you have these skills, it is important to include them on your resume.
Self-management and team-building abilities | Extensive project management experience | Reliability and high tolerance levels | Good at specifying materials, furniture, and soft furnishings | Strong networking abilities | Good business etiquette and personal accountability | AutoCAD | Autodesk Revit | Adobe Photoshop | In Design | PowerPoint
Interior designer work experience
There are a host of different career options from which to choose, from an interior designer who concentrates on residential, commercial, resort, or hotel properties, to furniture, lighting, or even set designers who specialize in television, theater, or film. The options really are vast and very varied!
This should show you immediately that no one interior designer’s resume will be the same as another’s. Every single interior designer’s resume needs to show the knowledge and the skills that person has to offer.
Having extensive work experience is a definite plus for interior designer resumes, provided they are credible and ideally come with written references that recommend you. In fact, if you send out a resume that says you have no experience, the chances of you landing the job will probably be zero – even if you have superior skills and excellent theoretical knowledge.
But everybody has to start somewhere, and if you don’t have much experience yet, could do some volunteer work for friends or family to boost it. You do the design work and organize installations, just get them to pay for materials, fixtures, fittings, furnishings, and so on.
Internships are another great way to get work experience while you are studying, or even once you have graduated. In fact, some colleges and universities insist on internships, incorporating them into the interior design qualification.
Again, to boost your resume work experience, doing an internship mid-stream could be an excellent idea.
Remember that even internships require skills and some experience. For instance, some companies require interns to have Council for Interior Design (CIDA) accreditation. Experience with Microsoft Office suite (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel) is also often required, as well as proficiency with AutoCAD and/or Revit and the Adobe suite. Responsibilities and various other experience requirements are also listed.
Sample Work Experience
Interior designer, 2017 – 2019
Collaborated with the interior design studio and architectural project team supporting development, documentation, and all design elements of projects. Worked closely with project managers. Helped to maintain the materials library.
- Gained valuable experience in BIM
- Developed palettes and presentation materials for clients from scratch
- Conducted product research for a wide range of projects that lead to several new contracts
- In early 2019, promoted to lead interior designer
Interior designer education
A good interior design degree will cover technology and design and enable students to gain a wide range of skills in modeling, specifications, 3-D visualization, and a host of contemporary issues including all-important sustainability.
All professional interior designers need knowledge, training, and ultimately experience in a range of elements that affect their work, from hard materials (like tiles and sanitaryware) and textiles, to color, spatial planning, and environmental sustainability.
A university degree will definitely provide the credentials clients are looking for, and additional courses can help you broaden your knowledge and insight.
Most interior design university degrees take four years to complete, but some colleges offer two- and three-year courses. Anyone starting out needs to consider very carefully where they are headed before making a final choice.
An increasing number of US states have mandatory licensing requirements that govern interior design practitioners. If you don’t have the required level of accredited education in most of these states you cannot claim to be an interior designer – even if you can do the job.
New York Institute of Technology, 2014 – 2019
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design with a Management MBA
- Awarded an NEWH Scholarship for my final year of study
It is generally considered preferable to study for an interior design degree or diploma, but there are interior design courses available at colleges and on-line. These courses may also be taken to bolster areas of specialty when interior designers choose to focus on a specific area of interest.
Any courses you have completed in addition to those that were part of your degree or diploma should be listed on your resume.
The sample courses listed below all relate directly to interior design, but courses in subjects like art, sculpture, or even writing might turn out to be invaluable.
You should also consider software courses if certain applications were not included in your degree or diploma.
- Design thinking
- Kitchen design
- Styling for homes
- AutoCAD for interior designers
- Technical drawing for interior design
- Lighting for residential interiors
- Building and/or home renovation
Certifications are designed to test the knowledge and core competencies of professionals operating in a wide range of fields. They help to promote valued guidelines and ensure that people are qualified to do specific jobs. Of course, it’s the knowledge and skills that matter, but certifications are also a very valuable element on resumes because they offer proof of ability.
The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) is the primary certifying organization for interior designers. The Council incorporates regulatory boards from throughout the US and Canada, and it is their mission to test for competency in the sector.
NCIDQ-certified interior designers are recognized as being competent not only in terms of maintaining industry standard aesthetics, but also for safety, public health, and welfare. In essence, it’s a gold standard certification.
While the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) doesn’t offer a certification program, it does recommend several specialist certifications that interior designers might consider. These are included in the list below.
Other certifications are available for lighting specialists, those who specialize in kitchen and bathroom design, and even sustainable interior design.
The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ) Accreditation, which maintains standards in higher education, offers accreditation, but these require at least two years of training on-the-job.
- CIDQ certification
- NCIDQ certification
- RIDQC certification from the Designer Society of America (DSA)
- Certified CAPS Aging-in-Place Specialist
- Certified AAHID Healthcare Interior Designer
- Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC)
- Certified Lighting Consultant (CLC)
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
- Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors
- State certification, including the CCIDC from the California Council for Interior Design Certification
Complete interior designer resume sample
Your skills, experience, and specialty (if any) will determine the kind of interior design job you will look for. It is also an excellent idea, not compulsory but pretty well imperative, to provide some sort of portfolio with your resume. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but it should provide a visual picture of what you can or have achieved.
Now we are going to look at a real advert for a job advertised for an interior designer. There are no right or wrong ways to respond to job advertisements as long as you follow a logical sequence in your resume and provide all the information asked for. And don’t forget to sell yourself!
The requirements for this job are specific in terms of education and certification. The company is, though, willing to consider newly qualified as well as highly experienced candidates.
It is an opportunity for a professional interior designer with architectural skills to join a design team, working on all elements of projects. There’s a good chance that someone with comprehensive experience will land the position.
Creative Interior Designer
Enthusiastic interior designer with five years experience eager to join a collaborative environment with an architectural bias. NCIDQ-certified and proficient in Revit and the Adobe suite of products. Keen to increase 3D rendering skills using Lumion.
Skills / Certifications
Self-motivated | Good communication skills | Strong verbal and written ability | Cost estimation | Flow planning | CIDQ certification | NCIDQ certification | LEED certification | CLC | AutoCAD | Revit | Adobe Photoshop, In-Design, Illustrator, Lightroom
Greystar Architecture and Design Company
Interior designer and architectural design consultant, 2017 – 2019
Responsible for coordination of layout, design, drafting, and specifying architectural and interior design projects. Maintained the company’s digital furniture catalog.
- Utilized Revit and AutoCAD to develop 3D models of buildings and interior spaces that were used for client presentations
- Conceptualized numerous functional and aesthetically creative design spaces, all of which were accepted by clients
- Estimated costs and requirements for approval by clients that led to increased profits for the company
- Provided consultation and advice regarding the selection and design of items to ensure longevity and aesthetic value outside of my job description
High Street Interior Design
Interior designer, 2015 – 2017
Worked as a creative junior interior designer working with lead designers in the firm. Prepared interior design schemes and sample boards that include architectural finishes, furniture, fabrics, and accessories.
- Developed design drawings and project schedules for several major projects
- Got a reputation for cutting costs when getting quotations and pricing from suppliers
- Accompanied the architectural team on regular site visits as an unofficial advisor
- Regularly had innovative color schemes accepted by clients
Dandelion Contract Furniture
Interior design intern, 2014 (three months)
Assisted with several commercial furniture projects in healthcare, education, and senior living sectors. Prepared sample boards and interior design schemes for furniture selection and layout.
- Awarded a certificate of achievement at the end of three months
- Was able to network with qualified interior designers
- Produced exceptionally good presentation boards which were presented to clients
- Learnt how to design in Adobe InDesign and Illustrator
Helena College, University of Montana, 2014
Certificate of Applied Science, Interior Space Planning and Design
Montana State University, 2011 – 2013
Associate of Applied Science Degree in Interior Design
- Graduated with B-
Interior design, as a profession, was only recognized in the early 20th century! It is not the same as interior decorating, which can be accomplished with no formal training or experience, just flair and a passion to make rooms look stunning.
- Interior design involves working in line with building design and construction codes, fire safety regulations, energy codes, and all the standards and regulations required to ensure houses and other buildings are safe.
- In addition to the aesthetic and technological elements, interior designers need to comply with, they are also expected to cater to the physical and emotional needs of their clients.
- Interior designer resumes must always match the job description. List your education, experience, and skills, but also add relevant details that will make your resume shine.
Tips from Experts
“To get experience, just take the smallest job. Then build your portfolio and do lots and lots of networking.” – Eleni Liapakis-Miller, interior designer and contributor to Design Design Magazine
“Don’t make your resume too lengthy; pick and choose the most important information. Don’t project that you believe some tasks and jobs are beneath you.” – Maureen Mitton, NCIDQ-certified interior designer
Interior design has gained increased recognition over the past five or six decades and is now considered to be an independent discipline that combines ergonomics with aesthetic principles.
There are many different types of jobs an interior designer can do in residential and commercial environments.
Interior design degrees provide a wide range of interpersonal, design, and technical skills, and these should be highlighted in any interior designer resume. But perhaps most importantly, your experience will show any prospective employer which areas you have worked in and where your primary interests lie.
If you are changing direction mid-career, you will need to show that you have the interest and initiative to do so. Certifications and additional short courses taken since graduating will certainly add impact to your resume.