Resumes are a vital part of your career, no matter what type or level you’re at. A well-written one can work wonders to get you noticed by prospective employers.

But just like any other piece of writing, it has to be done right! There is more than enough information on the web about how to write an effective resume and cover letter; however, there isn't much for graphic designers who want to create their own resumes that will help them stand out from the crowd.

Mac keyboard and notepad with glasses
Image source: Unsplash

If you’re a graphic designer looking to create an impressive resume that will get you your dream job, you’ve come to the right place.

The job market can be tough these days: if you don’t have a degree in art or design, chances are your competition does. So what can you do?

Create a killer resume.

Of course, an effective graphic design cover letter is important too, and we have a whole blog post dedicated to the best way to do that. But this blog is all about resumes.

This article will cover the ground rules for resume creation, what you need to include (and what to skip) in your resume, and we’ll give you some fantastic examples of graphic design resumes.

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Basic resume design rules

Before we go any further, let’s lay down some ground rules.

To state the obvious, it’s crucial that your resume is designed correctly because it will determine whether you get hired for designer jobs.

And there is some extra pressure on resume creation for a graphic designer position. It will be hard to get hired for a graphic designer role if you can’t create an effective resume. A potential employer or potential client will be looking at your resume with an especially critical eye.

The most important question is how creative can you get while still getting past applicant tracking systems or ATS? It’s hard to give an exact answer to that question.

An applicant tracking system is a software program that facilitates electronic administration for recruitment and hiring.

Essentially, an ATS will read the information in your resume and let a hiring manager or recruiter know if you’re worth talking to. The software uses key factors like relevant work experience, key skills, and education to sort through resumes.

Applicant Tracking Systems are relatively new, but are largely used by big companies and corporations. If you’re applying for a job with many applicants, you should plan on needing to get past an ATS.

Eye-catching designs with incredible visual elements and bold color choices are awesome, but sometimes, a simple black and white design with minimal design elements might be best. Don't let a creative design that can't get past applicant tracking systems cost you your dream job.

Get creative with our ready-to-use templates.

Linearity Curve offers templates for every social media platform and various use case templates for posters, business cards, slides, app store screenshots, and more.

Although, if you happen to know that the company you’re applying with will be looking over your resume themselves without an ATS, or if it’s a small local company you are handing a printed resume to, that is a different story.

It’s entirely up to you how creative you want to get, but ATS is an important factor to keep in mind. As a job applicant, you should always consider who your audience is.

CV design free template
Resume design based on a free template

Here are our basic rules of thumb that you should follow.

  • Understand your audience. If you’re applying to a large company with a developed creative team, talk about your teamwork experience. If you’re applying as a freelance designer, talk about time management skills. It’s all about who will be looking at your resume.
  • Use reverse chronological formatting. To help organize your experience and education, a general rule of thumb for resume design is to list everything in reverse chronological order.
  • Keep it short and simple. You don't want to bore potential employers with all the details about you. Stick to three or four bullet points for each section. You can include additional information in your cover letter; your resume should be as concise as possible.
  • Consider using an eye-catching headline. This should be something that grabs their attention right away without having to read any further. Ideally, it would include some sort of action verb such as "saves money," "increases sales," or "finds ways to make things better." Keep it brief; no more than two sentences.

Now, let’s talk about what you should and shouldn’t include in your graphic designer resume.

What to include in your resume

Whether you have a graphic design degree or if you're a freelance designer with strong designer work experience, you can get a graphic design position with the right resume highlighting your graphic designer skill.

A resume should be specifically tailored to the job you are applying for, but there are some basic elements that should always be included.

Soft skills like problem-solving skills, time management skills, knowledge of color theory, or creative skills, in general, are less important than relevant skills like education experience and career highlights or career progression.

You can, of course, mention soft skills and additional skills or specialties if you have space like product packaging, promotional materials, and art director experience, but make sure you have the essential information listed before going into the additional details.

Here’s a comprehensive list:

  • Contact information
  • Link to an online design portfolio or website
  • Job history and professional experience
  • Education and training
  • Headline (optional)
  • References (optional)
  • Technical skills (optional)
  • Accomplishments, honors, or awards (optional)
  • Hobbies and interests (optional)

There are some essential sections like job experience, contact information, and a link to your other design work that must always be included in a resume. But, to help you stand out, there are also some optional fields like references, hobbies, and key skills.

As discussed before, it’s up to you how much creative flair you want to include in your resume. Graphic designers are known for their visual elements and formatting skills, but too much might mess with the ATS.

Talented designers will know how to get around this by adding minimal resume design elements that make your resume stand out without eliminating your possibility of being selected by an ATS.

Treat it like any other graphic design project with strict perimeters.

Check the for job listing relevant keywords and use that to build out your resume. This will drastically improve your chances of being selected for an interview. It’s also essential to make sure everything in your resume matches up with your cover letter.

Now, let’s get into the fun stuff: examples!

Graphic design resume examples

Looking at graphic designer resume examples is an essential part of the application process.

Seeing what other graphic designers have done with their resumes can help give you insight into what is expected from graphic designers. Use the job descriptions and experience you find in these sample resumes to shape your own.

Ready to create brand assets that pack a punch?

Visit our Academy for free graphic design resume courses.

We've put together the list of graphic design resume samples in order to help you get your job search off on the right foot. Whether you are applying for an entry-level position or a more senior role, there's something here that will inspire you.

Without proper examples, finding jobs as a freelance graphic designer can be difficult, so these examples will provide some basic guidance on writing a graphic design resume that employers notice.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

This is an excellent example of how you can get creative with your resume and use graphic design skills to stand out. We’re obsessed with the illustration of the applicant and the unique formatting.

Notice how the applicant uses chronological resume format when listing their graphic design roles and education. They also list some unique things like their age and a link to their Instagram account.

Here’s another graphic design resume example with a creative format but with fewer design elements. Some content might have trouble passing through an ATS, but for the most part, the design is very similar to a common resume format.

This applicant also does a good job creating a concise but impactful headline.

This infographic resume looks sharp and is incredibly easy to read.

Using infographic elements is a great way to make sure your resume can be easily read while employers are glancing through a pile of resumes. However, as we said before, ATS might not be able to read this information, so use these elements with caution.

This resume design is fun and creative. We like how they featured their freelance projects and used graphic elements to separate each section but still used text to describe the section for ATS.

This sample resume is also a great example of keeping each job description short and concise.

Sometimes functional resumes highlighting your extensive experience and relevant qualifications are better than creative ones with less graphic design experience.

Out of all the resumes on this list, this one has the least creative elements but is also the most likely to pass through an ATS with no errors.

It’s time to create your resume

Creating a killer resume is the first step to landing your dream graphic design job.

Whether you’re using Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator), Canva, the Adobe Creative Suite, or another graphic design software to create your graphic designer resume, you can use your graphic design skills to create something incredible.

Try and avoid using a graphic design resume template or a resume builder; after all, now is the time to show your design skills. But don’t go too overboard with the resume formats; make your design clear and simple to read.

Your online portfolio is a great place to go crazy with unique designs and eye-catching elements—just make sure to link it in your resume.

Designer resume portfolio
Image source: Behance

Now, get out there and start applying! If you use Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator) to craft a resume that wins you a job, tag us on social media and let us know.

Jumpstart your ideas with Linearity Curve

Take your designs to the next level.

Graphic design resume tips and examples | Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator)
Graphic design resume tips and examples | Linearity Curve (formerly Vectornator)