When you are on the hunt for a new Graphic Designer role, it is essential to check out a top-notch Graphic Designer resume sample. Our write up below is jam-packed with step by step instructions to walk you through the resume writing process. Because you are creating a Graphic Designer resume, you need to embrace creativity and initiative, however still ensure that the content is relevant, structured, and legible. All the graphics, images and unique fonts will be for nothing if what is actually written about your experience and credentials come up short.
In this guideline, we will assist you in uncovering your unique portfolio of skills, competencies, and experience to show employers what your true value would be for their business if they decide to hire you.
What you can read in this article
Graphic Designer Resume Sample
(Free sample downloads are at the bottom of this page)
Graphic Designer Resume Writing Guide
1. Contact Information:
Name, Address, Phone, Email. Also, include alternative contact channels like your LinkedIn profile or Facebook URL details. As an added extra provide portfolio or website URLs too if you have any of these.
2. Career Summary:
The career elevator pitch, aka your resume summary, is the first section that hiring managers, look at when reading through your resume. Present a broad overview (keep it brief) explaining who you are as a graphic design professional, projects/ industry experience gained and also list your prominent core competencies related to graphic design.
3. Qualifications Summary:
Provide accurate details regarding your diplomas and degrees. A recruiter would like to see instantly which qualifications were attained, where they were completed, name/title of the qualification and also beginning and completion dates. If you are a youngster, you may add achievements such as GPA scores (higher than 3.5 please) or course curriculums and subjects that formed part of your qualifications.
4. Relevant Graphic Design Experience:
You can show them what you have done in terms of design work with links to portfolio URLs, websites (web designer resume), and pages such as Instagram and Pinterest. Be careful though to not overdo things with links, and then completely forget about actually writing full sentences with explanations what you have been up to during the course of your career. For a Graphic Design resume, one has to SHOW and TELL. Your current role and most recent gigs should contain the most detail (recruiters are hardly interested in what you did seven years ago due to the design industry changing almost by the minute in terms of tools, tech, and applications used). Historic roles should be mentioned to leave no gaps in your resume, perhaps listing the company name, job title, duration of employment, and one punchy sentence summarizing what you did during those times.
5. Other Employment Experience:
The resume length limit nowadays is 2-3 pages. Therefore you need to be stingy with resume space. Only include other employment experience if you are at an entry or junior level as a means to beef up your resume. This section is also valid for candidates making a career change, for instance from finance into graphic design and therefore would not have got gained any formal design experience yet. Also, you don’t just wake up one day and decide to be a Graphic Designer, right? Informal, vocational or part-time experience related to graphic design would also be of interest to recruiters.
6. Skills Summary/Key Skills:
In short – create a substantial level of resume SEO to pass the ATS systems and screening bots for your application to land in the hands (or eyes) of a human recruiter. Use the exact terms and keywords from the job description and integrate them into your resume (summary, job description, accomplishments, and skills section).
7. Education/Licenses/Certifications/Relevant Coursework/Training:
This section is slightly different from qualifications and all about on the job training credentials, online courses, accreditations, and self-study/development. List any professional development undertakings you have done during the past five years (relevant to graphic design, not cake decoration!)
What to Highlight in a Graphic Designer Resume
Ultimately, a resume aims to leave recruiters and hiring managers wanting to ‘’see’’ more of you, and schedule an interview. Failing to target specific jobs by customizing your resume in accordance with the job duties will regrettably result in no-one reviewing your application. A significant portion of resume applications (some say up to 80%) never make it past the ATS or resume bots, purely due to specific aspects of experience and qualifications not containing the keywords, phrases and terminologies used in the job advertisement. For example, a resume bot won’t pick up on the words ‘’banner ads’’ in your resume when they are programmed to grab applications containing ‘’banner advertisements.’’
Apart from beating the bots with resume SEO, you need to also highlight certain aspects of your graphic design experience to impress hiring managers and recruiters. Being creative with a good eye for visual aesthetics may only take you so far. Be specific and relevant in what you choose to include in your resume document.
Firstly reel them in with your core competencies. There is a skills section later in this write-up too, but in Graphic Design one has to explain these primary competencies in more detail to get the desired impact:
- Creativity: Such a short word and perfect to list merely as a skill in any other role, but for a Graphic Design job you should elaborate on your ability to generate new ideas and come up with innovative designs. Provide examples with links to your online portfolios or Instagram account and one or two tools as well, such as Photoshop or InDesign.
- Website: Yes, anybody can create a website in seconds according to Wix, but that is not what recruiters are after. They want to know whether you have a basic understanding of HTML and website design to make minor adjustments in terms of layouts, format, and color schemes. Unless the role requires the capability to build a website from scratch. In this instance, wow them with the websites you have created before and provide URL links (that works) to those sites.
- Communication: A skill listed in every resume out there, so be different and tell a story giving examples about how you can understand clients' needs and distinguish between what a client wants from a design versus what is practically possible. Communicating with clients who are more often than not completely clueless about graphic design processes, elements, and technical jargon is crucial in this job.
- Typography: Your talent for making written content legible and visually appealing at the same time, is one of the key traits that a recruiter or hiring manager would look for. Anyone can access the thousands of fonts and color schemes available, but only a designer adequately trained in visual aesthetics would know how to use the most appropriate options from the overwhelming supply of colors, fonts, and graphics to suit a specific client’s need.
- Adobe’s Creative Apps: Adobe’s creative suite is non-negotiable, and most recruiters would assume that you have these skills. However, you know what happens to assumptions, therefore rather add specifics regarding your adeptness with Illustrator, Indesign, and PhotoShop software by providing a few examples of your most recent projects.
- Interactive Media: Engagement is the word of the digital century. Mention your tenure with interactive media design, for example, creating moving text and imaging, animation, video, audio or gamification embedded in websites, online advertisements, or interactive signage. Give examples of the video and animation tools that you have used before and also how long (in months) you have been using them. User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) competencies should be mentioned, as well.
- Coding: There is no need to be a coding wizard for the majority of graphic design jobs, but if scriptwriting and creating lines and lines of code is ‘’your thing’’ be sure to mention this in your resume. HTML, C++, and Java experience will instantly place your resume way above the ‘’coding have nots’’.
Next comes the work environment that you find yourself in. Graphic designers can work for advertising agencies or in the marketing departments of corporate companies. You may also be a freelancer consulting to multiple clients or have completed fixed term contracts and projects.
Graphic designers work in different mediums, for example, print designs for newspapers and magazines or creating web designs for internet platforms and cloud media sites. You may also find yourself as part of the content development team tasked with general visual design for corporate logos and graphics.
The final aspect to highlight is your areas of expertise in terms of the graphic design product outcomes. Think about tangibles here, which products, solutions, or services were submitted to the client at the end of the project? Have you done leaflets and brochures or business cards and mobile banner advertisements? How about corporate identity design, logos, and landing pages for websites? Not forgetting digital photography, graphic technologies, magazine layouts, or full-on video advertising campaigns. As you can see the list could be quite comprehensive, therefore categorize projects into a few main themes and then provide two to three examples under each category.
* Graphic Design Resume Hack
As a Graphic Designer, you are expected to keep up with the newest trends in tools and applications. Showcase your knowledge of the latest design tools, technology, software, and devices with a skills matrix like the one below:
|Adobe Creative Suite
|Visual CSS Tools
|Clip Studio Paint’
|Pantone Color Guide
Graphic Designer Career Summary
It is highly advisable to tailor and tweak your career summary for every single job you apply to. Grrrrr, that’s a whole lot of effort right.? Why not just send the same resume copy to numerous job posts and hope for the best? Always think quality over quantity: you may find that customizing your career summary by the job advertisement may result in significantly fewer application attempts from your side, rendering many more interview invitations.
The first sentence of your career summary should include a powerful adjective to label yourself in terms of current position and level of experience. Follow on with two or three prominent technical traits and the type of industry where most of your experience has been gained. Then conclude with a sentence regarding your qualifications and credentials. Always write the career summary (and the rest of your resume for that matter) in the third person and steer clear of Me, Myself and I.
'Super creative Graphic Design Professional with over a decade of experience in ideating concept innovation in both online and offline design products for market disruptors in the publishing world. In-depth knowledge of end-to-end design processes from conceptualization to commercialization. Self-taught HTML guru with certified credentials in CSS and WordPress.'
'Innovative Designer with video and animation graphics experience spanning over three years within the automotive and tourism sectors. Unique ability to design out the box content and imaging for digital advertising boards and mobile banner advertisements. An expert in Dreamweaver and Photoshop proven supplemented with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design.'
'Graphic Designer with creative flair and meticulous focus in delivering top-notch product concepts for clients in the financial services and insurance sector. Highly adept at delivering high-end B2B and consumer-facing designs with exceptional attention to UX and UI aesthetics. Extensive knowledge and experience gained with Adobe’s Creative Suite software, as well as Illustrator and Dreamweaver.'
Graphic Designer Job Descriptions, Responsibilities and Duties
This is the section where resume content can make or break your application. Feel free to show creative freedom with infographics, images, and URLs of your cloud portfolios elsewhere in your resume, but stick to proper straightforward sentences and descriptions when elaborating on your daily job duties.
An Associate Graphic Designer (less than five years’ experience) may:
- Collaborate with senior designers to conceptualize and generate product advertisements and promotional materials for printed ads, digital marketing campaigns, brochures and flyers
- Ideate unique visual displays and artwork for conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions
- Create infographic content for bi-monthly newsletters including all copywriting and imaging
- Provide concept designs for landing pages and websites for approval by senior designer
- Conduct preliminary customer needs analysis to gain a comprehensive understanding of their brand as to suggest color schemes, styles photographic images and animation formats
A Graphic Designer at mid-career stage (5-10 years’ experience) may:
- Produce original graphic design work for online social media platforms
- Create brand images and visuals according to client specifications
- Take draft designs from interns and turn them into proof of concept proposals for final client approval
- Liaise with multiple stakeholders to generate new logos and branding items
- Design graphic art and promotional materials to be used at trade shows and exhibitions
- Integrate design work to be used in online and offline marketing campaigns for brand awareness activities
- Pitch design concepts and ideas to clients
- Facilitate multiple publishing projects and commission illustrators and photographers required to complete these undertakings
- Design trade-marks, leaflets, outdoor banners and logos for corporate gifts
- Provide graphical support for content writers to be used in blogs, vlogs, websites, and social media sites
A Senior Graphic Designer at experienced/advanced stage (10-15 years’ experience) may:
- Act as the Design Lead in video production processes of corporate films and online presentations
- Approve all creative imaging to be used in company brochures and corporate identity materials
- Train junior designers on color correction, lighting, and editing of promotional videos
- Prepare detailed artwork and graphics from content and images provided by photographers, copywriters, and graphic artists
- Oversee the visual expression and continuity of clients’ individual brands
- Negotiate service-level agreements, time-frames, and pricing with prospective clients
- Pitch up to four proof of concept ideas per every design project
- Manage a creative team of designers, copywriters and animation specialists
- Overseeing projects from conception to execution ensuring adequate quality control measures are in place
Highlight Your Accomplishments
The term proof of concept is well known in a Graphic Designer’s work. The accomplishment section of your Graphic Design resume is similar to a proof of concept or proof of work. Think about the skills you have and then explain them with power verbs and numbers linked to statements about projects you are most proud of, won awards for, or received accolades and recommendations from clients and managers.
A creative brain is not always zoned into facts and figures, but in the accomplishment section, quantification is of crucial importance to present recruiters and hiring managers with accurate data regarding your career achievements. View this section as self-promotion to establish a unique personal brand and reinforce this brand with your portfolio links from Instagram, Pinterest, or a website if you have one.
Let’s look at some examples of resume accomplishments or career highlights for Graphic Designers:
- Designed an innovative art-proofing system that increased production quality to almost 100% thereby increasing customer satisfaction reviews to 97.5%.
- Completed six major animation projects in half the projected time frames by hiring junior designers on a freelance basis, thus limiting direct remuneration costs to 10% of total project budgets, resulting in client cost expenses to reduce by 30%.
- Recipient of the 2017 Shopify Ecommerce Design accolade for junior Graphic Design professionals.
- Developed over 100 graphic design projects consisting of logos and brochures which increased client transactions by 20% in comparison with the previous financial year.
- Coordinated with professional baseball leagues to design brand new merchandising for the Superbowl season which was then deployed and sold at over 1000 stores in various states.
Graphic Designer Education Section Example
The education section is essential no matter how creative you are or how many unique projects you have completed. Post-school academic experience, whether degrees, diplomas, online courses, or certifications, should be listed in your Graphic Designer resume. These will show a hiring manager that you have built a solid theoretical foundation and also supplemented your skills with continuous development and learning.
Be specific and detail the qualification, institution, location, and date of completion in a single line. Feel free to add results attained if with honors or cum laude and of course if your GPA score is something to write home about (above 3.5). If you are a graduate with limited working experience also include major subjects or course curriculum topics.
Here are some examples of educational listings on a Graphic Designer Resume:
2019 – Advanced Course in Digital Graphic Design, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
2018 – Hootsuite Certified Professional, Hootsuite Media, Albany, NY
2017 – Cinema 4D Master (C4D), ADMEC Multimedia Institute, Online
2016 – Adobe CS5 Certified, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Open Course Ware
2014 – Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
2013 – Storytelling for Business, Udemy, Online
2013 – Adobe Certified Expert, Adobe, Online
Course Topics: Illustrator & Photoshop
Graphic Designer Resume Skills Section
Mix it up a little with your resume skills section. Long, bulleted lists are so last year (or century). Enter the skills matrix: You have already proven your exposure to tools and tech earlier in your resume, so no need to do software name throwing again in this section.
With a technical skills matrix, you achieve two crucial goals. Firstly, beating the resume bots and applicant tracking systems because your key competencies are phrased precisely like the ones mentioned in the job spec. Secondly, this matrix would provide recruiters with a neatly formatted birds-eye view of your core technical aptitudes.
Technical Skills Matrix
(1-Expert, 2-Skilled, 3-Novice)
|Product Packaging Design
|Esthetic Design Concepts
A Graphic Designer would also need particular interpersonal traits to collaborate with co-workers, liaise with clients, and facilitate the design process with internal and external stakeholders. These soft skills are typically listed at the end of a job advertisement. Make sure to mimic them and create a Soft Skills Matrix to keep things neat and tidy.
Soft Skills Matrix
Qualifications/Certifications associated with Graphic Designers
|Adobe InDesign Course
|Bachelors Degree in Multimedia Design Applications
|Graphic Design Expert Course
|Advanced Graphic Design Expert Course
|Associates Degree in Digital Photography
|Design and Graphic Technology – Associate Degree
|Envato Tuts+ Illustration & Graphic Design Courses
|Udemy: Introduction to Graphic DesignJava
|Photoshop Essential C6 Tools
|Certificate Program – 3D Basics
|Project Management Diploma
|Associate of Arts in Graphic Design
|Certificate Program – Graphic Designing
Professional Information on Graphic Designers
Sectors: Advertising, Publishing, Online Media, Marketing, Design,
Career Type: Design, Production, Content, Photography, Animation, Videography, Art, Graphics
Person type: Designer, Creator, Visualizer, Maker, Producer
Writer, Coder, Implementer, Developer
Education levels: From Post School Qualifications and upwards
Salary indication: $32k p/a (low), $44k p/a (median), $62kp/a (high)
Labor market: 4% growth projected from 2016 – 2016 (BLS)