Please critique my resume?

I have a tough time with resumes. At this point I’m using this to apply for IXD internships. I’ve been trying to whittle it down to 1 page, but not having the best luck. one problem is that I’m older and none of my past jobs speak to IXD very much. I’ve seen the other threads on the subject, but I would love to see some opinions of my draft.

Any input (good, bad, ugly) would be appreciated.

I didn’t read anything on it, but my 5 second impression is that the layout and design hardly match your goal of user centered design.

The layout makes it very hard to read. No hierarchy of information, no grouping of content into manageable chunks, no “design” to it. I’m not asking for a rainbow colored avant garde graphic design, and thankfully it’s at least not offensive (comic sans, or white on black type), but if you are looking for IXD positions I would expect more. If this came by by desk I wouldn’t spend more than 2 sec scanning it as I did.

I went from top to bottom in 1 sec, then back up to the top for 1 sec to read the first line to see that this was in face a resume.

Not trying to be harsh, but critical.

Look for that Portfolio handbook some students made a while back. Had some great basic graphics/layout advice.


You misspelled ‘DESIGN’.
+1 on Richard’s comments.
The ‘trend’ in resumes these days seem to be leading in with a bio, introduction, or brief description of yourself (in glowing terms of course), before going into specific expertise. It might mean in this case that ‘relevant experience’ takes priority over where you went to school and when you graduated. This might be due to more people being self-taught and gathering experience first-hand vs through school.


I think what you have is a good start. If you indeed want all of the information you have here, I’m sure you could get it all on one page if you get creative. Who says the entire thing needs to be one column, for example? I personally prefer shorter lines of text. I think they are easier to read.

Now is the time to bring some life to it through design. You are applying for design positions, but your resume doesn’t look like it. I’m not saying your resume needs to be crazy, but it could be elegant, refined and well designed. Or not, depending on your personality and who you want to work for. Currently, it has very little personality. I’m sure with a little work you could find some great examples of resume design. Some of the members of this community have done very well here. I’m not suggesting that you copy them, but you most definitely should learn from them.

Lastly, I think your overview should be refined. It’s very generic right now. What makes you different and better than everyone else out there? Now say that in two or three sentences.

I hope that helps a bit.

Patrick Healy

Thanks for the feedback - even though it’s frustrating, I need it. Frustrating because I made this version to comply with the recommendations of another resume thread here, using Michael DiTullo’s resume as an example (see here: ) My assumption was that Michael dropped the formatting to fit more on one page, so I did the same…

Attached is an example of the formatting I was working with prior to trying to trim it all down.

Thanks for the feedback Patrick. I think part of the advice I could use is if any of the information I’ve included isn’t relevant. It’s hard to know what I’m going to be judged on. Clearly designers will judge me on portfolio, but I’ve had and heard all too many stories of HR not understanding items on the resume, or rejecting resumes without certain key words. (In the former, a friend had an HR person tell him that she thought “grassroots” in his political work meant that he publicized bluegrass music. In the latter, the university I work at electronically scans all resumes for strings like “microsoft word” and if it’s not in the document, you are rejected.)

Now is the time to bring some life to it through design. You are applying for design positions, but your resume doesn’t look like it. I’m not saying your resume needs to be crazy, but it could be elegant, refined and well designed. Or not, depending on your personality and who you want to work for. Currently, it has very little personality. I’m sure with a little work you could find some great examples of resume design. Some of the members of this community have done very well here. I’m not suggesting that you copy them, but you most definitely should learn from them.

I’ve been told that graphics other than text have no place in a resume. I’ll have to look for some more examples here.

Thanks again for the feedback!

One more more pages usually is directly related to the amount of experience and the position level you are going for. At a glance, I think yours should be one page and think you can easily achieve that through better layout (your fonts are huge).

If it helps, heres mine: (PDF)

In a quick review, no information you have is particularly irrelevant, but probably could be better punched up with more action verbs and cause/effect type writing and/or more descriptive copy (not really sure what the projects actually are).

ie. -

Generated a holistic view of the situation from materials used in manufacture, through consumer behaviors, to product post‐life TO ACHIVE A GREATER COST EFFICIENCY AND MANUFACTURABILITY.

Studied existing research in order to design a physical casing and user interface for a speech generation device to be used in local schools by children with disabilities

Designed, developed and prototyped a portable, low cost, high accessibility vocal teaching tool to help children with speech disability better communicate with family and peers.


never benchmark me :wink:

My resume is a container for a whole bunch of stuff, but it isn’t very pretty (same can be said of my website I suppose).

When I look at resumes these days I rarely read the text beyond where you worked, what years, in what position, and where you went to school in what years. I’d love to see more resumes that prioritized that information at a glance, then maybe had a little more meat for the second read that was much more played down.

On a side note, when I interviewed for my first job, I remembered my then future boss saying he usually through out applications from my school, but my resume caught his eye, so he flipped through the portfolio… I ended up hetting an offer in the interview.

So the design of your resume does matter!

Hey guys,
here’s a new revision based on the feedback posted here and elsewhere. I think it’s definitely better, but I want to know what you think. Am I catching attention? Do I seem competent enough for an internship?


Loose the condescending definitions at the top.

Layout much better.

Get rid of the definitions and phonetic spelling of the terms at the top. Very cheesy, not professional and if I saw that would not look at anything below.

Gov over the layout with a fine tooth comb. Looks like some of the dates on the R side are not aligned. You’ve also got inconsistent use of capitalization.


Agree with the above. Axe the definitions.

Every designer should be a design communicator. I would never hire that as role. If you want to do ethnographic research, it would be more clear to say design researcher. That is what people hire.

Dan and Richard - can I ask what is cheesy and condescending about the definitions? I’ve had positive feedback from other industry folk on them, but that was on the ID side of the fence. Is simply using these terms offensive? Is it a given that someone applying for an IXD job has an anthropological angle to their research methods? Is it a given that all applicants can communicate well in cross-functional teams?

I apologize if I’m coming off like an ask-hole. I just want to understand the industry landscape better. I genuinely feel like these two concepts set me apart from the bulk of student designers I’ve encountered… then again, I am in a kind of isolated geography.

Again, thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it!

I see it as condescending and pretentious. People who are interviewing you know what these terms are, you don’t need to literally spell it out and define it for them. I have no problems with the terms themselves, but how you present them doesn’t come across well.

I’d rather hear why you consider yourself a researcher that read a dictionary definition of what one is. Just because you use the term to describe yourself, doesn’t make it so. Show, don’t tell.


I think you’ve taken a huge step forward in the dvelopment of your resume. I think you can take it a step further to make it communicate even more effectively. This could mean introducing color, variation in type size, or maybe even type faces.

Just like anything else designers do, building a resume is an opportunity to show your visual communication skills. This does not mean that the design should be frivolous in any way, but instead that it is a calculated solution to a problem.

I agree that you should remove the definitions. Right now, the presentation doesn’s say that these are skills you have. It just says that you know the words. How can you do a better job of showing a potential employer how these skills set you apart? I’m don’t know the answer here, it’s a legitimate question.

The difference between a resume like Richard’s or Michael’s and yours is the audience. Michael is a corporate executive so most of the people who will be seeing his resume are not from creative backgrounds. Richard is a consultant and his resume is probably used to generate clients. I would bet that the reumes they show employers/clients are targeted to meet these needs.

You are much closer to the start of your career and the person who is hiring you will most likely be another designer. You need to show him/her that you have an grasp on visual communication skills. As an IXD designer, you may be presenting your resume to engineers and programmers as well. How can you show that you can do the things that they can’t? Your resume and portfolio need to show this.


Jesse, I know you don’t mean to come off that way. Words are difficult, as they can be easily misinterpreted. Even though there are not any hard and fast definitions to any of these roles, there are some commonly used terms. It is important to stick within those because you will likely be applying for existing positions.

In simple terms, likely no one is going to see your resume and say “hey, lets get budget approval for this this guy”. Instead they will have already gotten budget approval for a design researcher or interaction designer. Your resume will be compared against the job description that they wrote.

I definitely follow you there. I guess I was making an assumption that if my resume was in a stack of applicants for an interaction designer position that they would assume that I wanted the job of interaction designer… the definitions were my attempt at a novel way of showing what I would bring to that position, although now I can see how you guys are interpreting it. It may go back to my idea of what an Interaction Designer is being wrong by industry standards. You guys seem to be looking for pretty graphic layout, but I am only now in my first graphic design course since I’m coming from a different discipline. It’s easy to say that it means I’m not ready for an internship, but graphic layouts aren’t the job I want necessarily, and I really need the internship to figure out how design firms function in order to narrow down my thesis work.

This is definitely a struggle for me, and is playing on my insecurities about the educational path I’ve chosen - it has left me with a lot of holes in the areas that would make me stand out for an entry level position. I’m starting to worry that I’m going to have to entrepreneur my way into experience which I really don’t think would be productive. :confused:

I really do appreciate all the feedback from you guys though. I am making progress, it’s just slow.

After a bunch of variations and revisions, this is the one I’m going to go with. It’s been an interesting process; lots of learning. …how employers use resumes, how they view them (print/screen), how different printers affect the visualization, practical application of visual/cognitive elements… I may even include this in my first year review.

I’m still violating some of the “rules”, but doing so as a choice rather than by ignorance. we’ll see what happens.

Thanks again you guys for all of your feedback! I really appreciate it!

Much better Jesse. When you say “student designer” , is this an internship, or a sponsored project?

The GE and Whirlpool entries are sponsored projects in the traditional ID sense. I’ve talked to some other students who recommended listing them this way. The research project wasn’t sponsored per se, but was enacted at the request of the ETB and done through the anthropology department here. The rest are community projects through the EPICS (Engineering Projects In Community Service) program. When I began my involvement with that program I spoke with the then college relations rep from Motorola who told me that they were all worthy of listing as separate “jobs”.

I realize there is some nebulousness to the student designer titles, but it seemed like the best way to list the experiences. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t have any more formal experience in this field.