Resume Styles in the Design World

:arrow_right: First of all, this is my first post at Coro, and I am so glad that there is an online community with a variety of people from beginners to pro’s in the design field to offer input, inspiration, and their eye for detail for us! Thanks!

:arrow_right: Anyways, I’ve been wondering about resumes. I know resumes aren’t the ONLY factor contributing whether or not you will land that job, but in the design industry (in general as there are specifics) are these preferred over the so-called “traditional resumes” (samples @ verses the stylish, creative, visually appealing, implementing the graphic design elements with typography, color, layout style? Will this be an outcry for a job, or would it be too flashy or would it lend to a creative edge or even an advantage? Has anyone tried sending out “creative” resume’s and actually landed a job because of that, with or without a portfolio. Please share your stories if you have them.

:arrow_right: I’m asking about this because I need to revamp my resume style. I am currently a senior standing student at San Francisco State University going for a BS in Industrial Technology (emphasis in Graphic Design) with no employment/volunteer experience under the belt, but with 5 years of business related things going through. So in terms of resume, I’ve been “stuck” in the traditional resume style, and before going balls out on creating a creative resume, I’d like some advice on whether it helps or if it’s too much.

:smiley: Thanks a bunch! =P

everything helps. your sample set and resume is all someone is going to know of you. one of my previous employer’s told me that my sensitivity to my resume and cover letter design landed me the interview (my samples where not the best, coming out of school, my judgment skills where all off on what to select to put in the sample pack)

It is alwyas ok with ‘traditional resume’, as long as it is clean, neat and
comfortable. Adding in little spice and indentity is even better.

Resume is however not a factor to decide if you are able to get a job if you
do not have a good portfolio. Many people/ fresh graduates intended to
play around with their resumes, but at the end of the day, it
just doesn’t match the taste of the employer, isn’t this a risk?

Thanks for your input. I was a little worried about being “too creative” because if they were to “fax” or scan → place in database, the important information won’t be included. ::shrugs:: But, I will keep in mind how it can probably help out with being noticed, but a little riskier.

Another thing comes up with the portfolio styles. It has always been hinted that a portfolio should seemingly be placed in a regular black book with sheet inserts, perhaps 9"x12". I’ve also created a portfolio for my offset/letter press printing class with hand binding, but I don’t think that alone would be a strong point since letterpress printing is sort of dated, and it doesn’t really show a mix of my skills.

I was wondering if there was some sort of “standard” or a set of “guidelines” that an aspiring designer should abide by, or use.

Preferred size?

Any tips and pointers about do’s and don’ts on portfolios?

I heard that transparencies, slides, 4x6 (photo) snapshots, or laser photocopies should be used instead of an “original” piece. Which method would be the best?

How can you use your portfolio to get ahead? Like what sort of items should be placed in there? Should there be a table of contents (organized like a book) or should it show some sort of continuity, chronology, etc?

I’ve seen some people that create magazine covers and put those in the portfolio. Do these designs have to be published in real life or can they just be practice samples?

I guess a portfolio get’s on a few touchy issues, and I’d like to find some advice about it. Thanks for whatever input you guys put here! =P

Do you still have these samples around that I can take a quick peek at? Or would I be asking too much? :laughing:

I don’t think I have them anymore, I would have to dig for awhile.

I would suggest standardization.

For example, making sure the cover letter and resume relate and are done in a way that can be easily read, understood, faxed, and emailed. Our recruiment team usually scans and emails resumes to designers a few days before the candidates interview, I’ve seen some that are so hard to read because they are over stylized that it just puts a bad taste in your mouth.

I think the porfolio is the same way, it should be clean, consistant, and not detract from your content.

Sample sets can be nice print outs, also done in a clean manner, you can see some of mine on my sample site (the ones with the litle d2lo in the upper right habd corner). I send them digitally or in a nice folder printered out.

I dont think there is a ‘‘standard’’ for portfolio preparation,
especially in DESIGN field.
in fact, i think YO has some good suggestion for you. and
i feel you have too much of worries about your resume and
portfolio. Just go ahead with what you have and make sure they
are easily understood.

good luck

When someone see that you cared enough about how your CV looks that you went all the way and did what you did, then they should know that you care. I worked on designing my CV, and kept adding to it, fixing it, printed it on quality paper, colored laser printer, with time it became real good, and even though I didn’t have that much of work experience, I got hired by a big company. Anyways, I can understand that I did for my self, and so can they, so I guess self caring causes refliction which others can see. And all kind of caring is good. If you care today, and care tomorrow then they build on them selves.

Keep in mind that the person reading your resume may not be a designer, and may have NO CLUE about design at all.

Your resume should reflect you, and your style, but should still be easy to read. Can someone locate important information quickly? When you photocopy the resume does it come out clear and readable?

Also, you may have to tailor your resume at times to fit where you are sending it, and the type of job you are applying for. That is ok to do.

What FortuneCookie says is very true. Remember that the person who will be reading your resume for the first time might not be a designer, usually it is someone from HR who just looks for content rather than how the resume looks. So in that sense: keep it simple.

Maybe if you are applying for a graphic design position it might be worth using an interesting layout but not something too over the edge. Especially if you are sending it via email be extremely careful since colors and special graphics might not be preserved in their original format and might make the document hard to read and/or come out with errors in the other person’s computer. It happened to me and I found out too late after sending dozens of resumes.

When I was doing my job search I was lucky to have a friend who worked for a company with a prominent design studio and from their experience they mentioned that usually portfolios that were carefully crafted always caught their attention although content was always a key player in their final decision. So I guess it is a combiantion of both.

I personally used the stylish resume for a while but didn’t get many results. When I started using the “simple” version, just pure Word format, I started getting calls and landed a job. I guess it works different for different people.

You mentioned you had stuff from your work as a student, I would suggest presenting that nicely in a website. Websites usually allow for more freedom when it comes to design. Then have a simple paper portfolio that shows your work as well. A simple paper portfolio also keeps the costs of producing it low. I suggest looking at this website for inspiration so you can see how other designers have presented their work.

hope this helps! good luck!

Ok I know you are talking resume stuff here… but just in case you are preparing your portfolio along with that here are some thoughts regarding that area too ( i thought of this because my resume design ties into my portfolio and other stationary)

custom designed portfolios (i mean the physical format, not the content) while eye catching and totally impressive, can be expensive and a hassle to update…and the times when you will be updating/job hunting are the times when you will most likely not have a lot of extra money lying around to touch up your portfolio. I’m not saying don’t design your own custom portfolio, just think about how you will change it a year from now, or 2 years from now as your experience grows and you need to change the content.

Thanks for all your help! I’ve taken your advice, although it seems as if I haven’t responded for a bit.

I just applied for a Graphic Designer II job on campus. Yes, just one job so far since I still have to fix up my portfolio. Looking at everyone elses portfolio online, I’ve noticed that a lot of people place their sketching/rendering images online. Do people really sketch that nicely, or are they redone? I know when I do my thumbs and roughs, I do it with a pencil, and it’s usually not that appealing, and not as colorful. :open_mouth: I’d definitely appreciate it if I can get some feedback on some recent work I’ve done for my courses. I’m definitely sure that I’m not capturing all the areas of design (i.e. rapid viz, concept sketches, renderings, product design, etc.) Anyway, critiques, opinions, comments on how to improve and what to improve and anything else is definitely welcomed. (

Anyways, back to the resume discussion. I read all your advice and I’ve taken careful consideration to how to approach it. I will work on the graphic element, to limiting myself to a logo or an identifying mark of some sort (my cmyk/rgb hummingbird logo) and I will also tweak the content so it’s free of errors. I’d also appreciate it if you could take a look at my PDF resume and give me any type of feedback. (

I can’t believe that I spent 3 hours working on my resume and cover letter for this job application though. I had to cut out 2 of my prior job experiences. Alrighty, that’s it for today. I hope you guys can help guide me in the right direction! Thanks! =P

OK I just looked at your resume and the first thing I thought when I opened it was WHOA and not in a good way. I’d drop those CMYK bars on the left, they’re just too much to look at. You don’t want to take away from the content. Give your content some more “breathing room” too. Right now as I look on the page, the text runs almost to the edge of the paper. I’d increase the white space on all sides. Same with the placement of your logo. It’s a little too close to the edge of the page. I understand that it is hard to keep all the information down to one page and still communicate what your are capable of, but just think of that as a design challenge.

Also, you don’t have your mailing address or phone number listed. You should always offer more than one way to get in touch with you, and don’t assume that they have access to the internet right in front of them.

Thanks for commenting! I felt the same way about the bars after it came out from the printer. It was a little distracting huh? Anyways, after I had typed everything up and converted it to PDF, I realized that I was in 12 pt font. ::sigh:: I’ll definitely re-work that. though.

As for the mailing address and phone number, I took it off the one I posted online because I’m not too comfortable putting all that private info there.

Where can I go to check out some sample resumes “for” design related jobs. I went to my school website and and they didn’t have anything on design. Well, except for that one web designer resume at Where do you go to find jobs? I’ve been looking around, so far I found, Or better yet internships.

Thanks for your help again…lemme re-work that resume in a few days (after finals, and post it up later…maybe in the “resume” section?) ::grins::