Applying For A Design Job? You Have To Look The Part.
Things are tough in the creative field these days, and if you’re looking to get a job in any sort of creative position, you need to have an instant impact on a prospective employer or you may not stand a chance at all. In a nutshell, it’s all about first impressions.
The resume should not only include vital information about your previous experience, strengths and skills, but it should show your design skills as well. A clean, well-designed resume will not only make you stand out in the crowd, but will probably encourage the interviewer to look further into your resume, giving you a better possibility of getting an interview. It also demonstrates your capabilities and helps sell yourself in more ways then one.
For example, at Jennergy, we currently have a pile of approximately 80 resumes sitting here on a desk. Out of the 80, two of those resumes are flagged…these individuals were all the things we look for in an employee/contractor: experience, education, schedule, and, what we consider important — well designed. They will get the call back. When we narrowed down from the top five on whom to bring in for an interview (time is money), the top two people with the most attractive resume won hands down. We are d-e-s-i-g-n-e-r-s…you have to look the part to really want the job. You should have full access to Indesign,Illustrator, and other critical design software. USE IT. There is no excuse for a poorly designed resume. Show and execute what you’ve learned. If your resume looks like a 90’s throwback for a design position, why would we bother with an interview? Your design skills are likely to follow the same style as your resume. It’s a first impression…and a first glance at what you are capable of right there in black and white.
Think of your resume as your personal identity — it needs to be your most important design project if you are seeking employment. Imagine how your resume will be used, who will see it, and how much time they’ll have to look it over. We have been looking at these resumes for two weeks. If you want to go that extra mile, you can even consider designing a custom resume for each job you apply for so that every resume is tailor-made to appeal to each employer.
That being said, we’ll give you a few helpful tips for designing your own resume. There are certain things that you should definitely do, and others that you should avoid at all costs. If you follow these guidelines as well as your personal aesthetic, you’re bound to impress.
First of all, you really want to use your resume to wow employers, make it easy to scan with unique touches that add to the functionality without cluttering the design. Remember, everything should serve a purpose, nothing should be frivolous. Bullet points, small sentences…all positives. Cover letters are perfect for the broad strokes and longer explantions. Resumes should be brief, to the point, and cover your skill set and experience. It should also answer all questions the employers posted ad requested (software skills, years of experience, etc.)
Secondly, keep your resume to one page if possible — no one wants to read through twelve personal references and six past employers. If they want to see more, they’ll ask you. Also, if you’re such a fantastic designer (which you are), you should be able to make everything fit on one page perfectly, and make it look like it was meant to do so.
The third rule of thumb is to have fun with it. Your resume should not only be a reflection of your skills as a designer, but it should reflect your personal style and aesthetic. The greatest thing about designing for yourself is that you are the client.
Whatever you do, avoid clutter at all costs. Give the words room to breathe! Cramming as much information into your resume as possible is more likely to get it put in the rejection pile than to be read or even considered. Edit, edit, edit.
Don’t date yourself. If you have a certain style, execute it through the design of your resume. If you like things very neat, clean, and precise, have your resume look the same. From the typography choices, the color selection, to the paper choice, it should all reflect your personality. By looking at a resume, you can often guess the age of the person and their experience by just their style and formatting (without reading a word). Keep them guessing, but still design a piece which captures your true abilities, self and talent.
If possible, keep from using cheap paper. The tactile quality of your resume is just as important as the visual quality, and skimping on the paper is sure to get your resume tossed in the recycle bin. A resume printed on quality paper not only will make your resume stand out, but showing that you put a little extra effort into the paper choice will add value to it, making it a bit harder for a designer to throw away.
Finally, avoid using too much design trickery to capture your reader’s attention. Too much going on design-wise is just as bad as cramming a three thousand word essay onto one page. The design will feel cramped and overworked, and is almost definitely going to get your resume rejected.
In the end, getting a job comes down to more than just the resume — it’s actually a combination of things that usually gets you the job, but by making sure your resume makes it to the next point, you’ll have a better chance of showing off all of your talents.
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