What do I do for a designer’s resume?
Point: Your future employer will receive exactly 100 resumes for the job that you want. What are you going to do to stand out?
When creating a resume for a creative position you have two options – the conventional route, or the creative route. Given that you’re a creative professional, you might want to think twice about the first impression you make to your (future) employer. For the purposes of you getting hired, I’ll be talking about the creative approach.
You might have seen some innovative resumes floating around online, such as the QR code resume with a talking self-portrait, an elegant fabric resume, or one of the many (many) infographic resumes out there*. While these are absolutely cool when taken out of context, they’re even better when given in the context of what job their creators were applying for.
- *Just because there are a lot of them, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make one. It might be the best fit for the job that you’re applying for. If you were applying for Column Five (columnfivemedia.com) it would make sense to make an infographic resume.
For instance, Eric Gandhi (ericgandhi.com) was applying for a job at Google as a graphic designer. He sent them this resume and it was well-received. He interviewed with them but chose not to take the job because it was more of a marketing position. Even so, I’m positive several other people took notice and his creative approach gave him more exposure as a designer.
The Shotgun approach – Don’t send out the same resume to a ton of employers. People hate that. Part of being human is that we can usually tell when someone isn’t being genuine. If your resume smells of generalities and Kinko’s, nobody is going to want to hire you. Take the time to tailor your resume to a specific crowd (or even a specific employer) and make it count. This is one of those cases where quality really does trump quantity.
Your resume should be something you would put in your portfolio. If your resume isn’t as good as the work that you can do, you’re telling your employer that you can only design mediocrity. You should be proud to show it to them and anxious to send it out when it’s finished, because it’s going to make you look that good.
Other things to remember:
- You can send your resume by email, or make a video resume. You don’t have to stick to the traditional format.
- Don’t include things that don’t matter to the position, like how you spent the summer mowing lawns. Sometimes you can find details related to the position aside from work experience, like your belief of what good design is or your mission statement.
- Show personality, but not arrogance. Nobody wants to hire that designer who can’t be taught or work on a team with others. Using humor is good, but only if you’re funny without being offensive.
- Make sure the basics are beautiful. Good spelling, grammar, kerning, etc.
- After you send in your resume, make sure to follow up with them and see how it was received.
- Include a portfolio or link to your portfolio with your resume (duh).
- No effort is wasted. If your work is good enough to appreciate, someone will appreciate it.
I hope I’ve instilled some fire in you to make an unforgettable resume. Just talking about this makes me want to set fire to my old resume and do some really off-the-wall stuff. Edible resume? Maybe that’s asking too much. Scratch ‘n sniff? What does a good designer smell like? Whatever you choose to do, it should speak of your personality and passion for the specific job you’re applying for.