Being a graphic designer, you’d think that all you need is knowledge and creativity to get the job. And while that’s not far from the truth, you first need to display that knowledge and creativity through a graphic designer resume.
That being said, crafting a job-winning graphic design resume is probably unlike any other project you’ve done so far.
The key principles remain the same. You want to use design to convey as much information as possible as quickly as possible while following guidelines to meet the industry standard.
You’ll find all of those guidelines in this article, along with expert tips to truly master the art of resume building, so let’s jump in!
You should use the reverse-chronological resume format in combination with a clean and professional layout for optimal chances with recruiters and ATS.
Make sure your resume has your contact information, a resume summary or objective, work experience, education, and skills, and optionally awards, certifications, projects, languages, or hobbies and interests.
Include a link to your portfolio (or alternatives like Pinterest, Behance, or Dribble accounts) in your contact information section. Make it clearly visible and clickable in the soft copy.
Submit a matching cover letter to show diligence and use it to further showcase your skills and experience.
What is the Right Format to Use for a Graphic Designer Resume?
Subtlety is the name of the game. You want to show your proficiency in design, but you don’t want to overdo it to the point where it becomes difficult to read some—or all—parts of your resume.
Keep in mind that recruiters sometimes spend as little as 6–7 seconds skimming resumes. If your complex resume design gets in the way of them finding the information they want, they might simply move on to the next candidate. Plus, it could make things difficult for an ATS to scan your application document, which could result in an automated rejection.
Resume Formats For Graphic Designers
That being said, there are three proven graphic designer resume formats that bring the most success:
The chronological resume format is used most often, and it’s the one hiring managers recommend. It places your latest and most prominent jobs and achievements first before listing the rest in reverse-chronological order.
The functional resume format puts emphasis on your skills instead of work history, which is great when you don’t have professional history to showcase.
The combination or hybrid format is the best option for experts who want to focus on their skills and then back them up with significant professional accomplishments.
Having a captivating layout is all about striking a fine balance between crafting a creative document and keeping it professional.
For starters, your resume should be one page long in most cases.
With that in mind, use margins, white space, line spacing, and font size to make sure you keep your graphic designer resume legible while creating all the important sections.
It’s recommended to use 10–12 pt font size for the body of the text and 14–16 pt for subheadings. Margins should be at least 1 inch, while line spacing is usually between 1 and 1.15.
What Sections Should a Graphic Designer Resume Contain?
Here is where you should keep your creativity in check and strictly follow the rules to make sure you include all the required parts. The must-have resume sections are:
Objective or summary
After including all the mandatory information, you can go for one or more of the optional sections. They are great at giving recruiters additional valuable data and making you stand out from the crowd. These sections are:
Hobbies and interests
To help make your life easier, we’ve created a professional resume builder filled with ATS-proof templates and job-winning examples. Simply pick one, adjust the layout so that it suits your needs, and fill in the blanks with your information.
Graphic Designer Resume Template
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the professional graphic designer resume template. That way, you’ll have a general understanding of the subject as we explore it further.
Graphic Designer Resume Contact Information
Contact information is a straightforward section at the top of your resume. It gives recruiters your name, professional title, and contact options, such as your phone number and email address. Let’s take a look at the example:
+ 321 765 4321
You might have noticed a website link after the email address. That’s the link to the candidate’s portfolio and one of the crucial parts of a graphic designer resume, but we’ll expand on that in the following subheading.
As for the rest of this section, it’s important to proofread and spell-check everything.
Also, you want to make sure you’re using a professional email address. Furthermore, as a graphic designer, you might want to include a link to your social media page. Just make sure it’s relevant to the job and not a personal account with arbitrary content.
Finally, due to anti-discrimination laws, you shouldn’t include personal information such as your physical address, resume photo, gender, or similar.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at a bad contact information section:
+ 321 765 4321
3434 Nash Street
Westland, MI 48185
Graphic Designer Resume Portfolio
While a graphic designer resume needs to introduce you to the recruiter, a portfolio is there to show your work in all its glory, which makes it an essential part of your job application. That’s why you want to place it somewhere near the beginning of your resume and make it clearly visible.
We already mentioned that you should put the link to your design portfolio in the contact information section. Position it so that it’s front and center. Also, make sure that the link is clickable in the soft copy of your graphic designer resume.
If you don’t have a personal website, you can use platforms like Dribble or Behance.
Graphic Designer Resume Objective or Summary
One of the best ways to establish yourself as a competent candidate is to grab recruiters’ attention with a brief and impactful graphic designer resume summary or objective.
If you’re new to the industry, use an objective to highlight your job-specific skills and career goals. On the other hand, graphic designers with a lot of experience should write a resume summary to highlight their best work.
Graphic Designer Resume Objective
You can entice hiring managers to take a deeper look at your resume by writing a powerful resume objective. Even if you don’t have relevant professional experience, you can always include volunteer work, school projects, freelance gigs, or anything that could showcase your competence in it.
Let’s take a look at a good example:
“Driven recent graduate in graphic design looking for a position at DesignSoft with the goal of advancing in the UX/UI field. Conceptualized and created three websites for local brick-and-mortar businesses, helping them enter the online market. Proficient in Figma, Adobe Creative Suite, and Corel Draw with working knowledge of HTML and CSS.”
If we take all the specifics from the previous objective, we get the following bad example that gives recruiters almost no useful information:
“Graphic designer looking for a position as a UI designer. Proficient in relevant software with some experience designing websites.”
Entry Level Graphic Designer Resume Objective
As an entry-level applicant, you want to focus on your skills and those personality traits that make you a fast learner and a team player. Display drive and potential while being precise when describing all the career-specific skills you picked up during your schooling. Check out the following good example:
“Meticulous student of graphic design looking for an entry-level position at Sky Marketing. Proven problem-solving skills and the ability to take criticism while continuously improving. Competent in CorelDraw, Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Passionate about joining a creative team and collaborating on complex tasks.”
Even though they are still a student, the candidate wrote a professional resume objective. They listed plenty of important, position-specific skills and emphasized working for the company as one of their career objectives.
The next example is a bad one where the applicant barely gave any information of substance:
“Graphic design student looking for a job in marketing design. Skilled in Photoshop and Illustrator. Able to work in teams.”
How to Write a Summary
If you’re a seasoned professional, pick a couple of work-related achievements that created the biggest impact and highlight them in your resume summary. Let’s see what this looks like:
“Industrious graphic designer with 7+ years of experience in marketing design. Proficient in creating Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok ad creatives, Google banner ads, and infographics. Successfully met the demands of more than 120 clients. Looking forward to joining a competent team and tackling large-scale projects for high-end clients across various fields.”
Now, compare that to this bad resume summary that features nothing worth noting:
“Qualified graphic designer looking for a senior position. Years of experience in the marketing field. Extensive knowledge of contemporary design software and practices.”
Graphic Designer Resume Work Experience
The most important section on your graphic designer resume is the one that describes your work experience, so let’s find out how to make it perfect.
Consider using reverse-chronological order and starting this section by listing your latest job since it's the most relevant and important. Simply include the name of the company you worked for, your role, and the dates of employment. Then, you should list some of the most important responsibilities you had and significant achievements using bullet points.
The bullet point list is critical to making your work experience section stand out. You should use catchy and memorable actionverbs and power words to draw attention to certain parts of your resume and make this entire section easier to remember.
Another powerful method for making your work experience section attract attention is to utilize numbers and percentages to quantify the results obtained and make them more tangible and precise.
No Graphic Design Work Experience
What happens when you don’t have relevant work experience to show? What if you’re still a student or a recent graduate, or perhaps you’re switching careers and your professional experience is irrelevant to the position you’re applying to?
You can boost your resume by mentioning specific school projects, internships, volunteer work, and similar activities to showcase your abilities and the skills you have developed so far.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Graphic Design Intern
Pro Design Westland, MI
Collaborated with the art director to redesign the company’s shipping label, which became part of the company’s modern identity.
Conceptualized design for promotional material and prepared it for printing on hats and T-shirts for use at 15+ trade fairs.
Cooperated with a senior designer on branded content for social media, which resulted in a 36% engagement increase on Instagram and TikTok.
A candidate leveraged their internship to craft a professional graphic designer resume with no experience. Note how they used numbers and action verbs and displayed results that actually carried weight.
Compare that to the following bad example:
Worked on the company’s shipping label redesign.
Designed promotional material.
Created social media content with a senior designer.
This example lacks essential information, and the candidate listed responsibilities instead of results, which didn't tell recruiters much about their skills or how well they did at work.
Seasoned Graphic Designer
When you have years of experience and countless achievements, you want to focus on the most prominent ones instead of listing everything you ever did. Let’s pay attention to the good example:
Senior Graphic Designer
DesignDigital Agency New York, NY
Collaborated with the marketing team on designing original graphics for a high-end fashion brand’s Spring 2021 campaign that reached 1 million and more viewers on their social media platforms.
Spearheaded the company’s rebranding to align with modern trends, increasing the social media follower count by 23% and boosting the average time spent on the website by 19%.
Hired and trained an entry-level graphic designer and managed the onboarding process for 5 junior designers.
Still, don’t include too little information, like in the following example:
Senior Graphic Designer
DesignDigital Agency New York, NY
Worked on original graphics for high-end fashion brands.
Helped the company's rebranding.
Was tasked with training and onboarding new employees.
Graphic Designer Resume Education Section
You don’t need to have a degree to be a successful graphic designer. Still, a diploma makes your resume more credible, which is why you should always include it in your resume if you have it.
Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Dean’s List 2016 (Top 10%)
Apart from your degree, the institution issuing it, and your dates of attendance, you can also include some of your prominent achievements in the document. A GPA of 3.5 and above is always welcome on your resume, as are relevant extracurricular activities, courses, club memberships, etc.
Even though this section should be short and to the point, don't leave out important information like in the example below:
BA in Graphic Design
You should generally only list your highest degree, and you can include it even if you’re still studying. Just mark the graduation date as “expected” or “current.” And if you dropped out of college, mention how many credits you earned towards your degree.
Graphic Designer Resume Skills
Graphic designer resume skills are a must-have when you’re applying for a job. Even though your work experience and portfolio speak volumes about your capabilities, HR managers are always looking for a list of specific abilities when reviewing resumes.
Since design is a vast field, different positions will require different skills. That’s why it’s crucial to research the job posting to figure out exactly which ones your potential employers are looking for.
When listing them on your resume, keep hard and soft skills separate since they are different in nature.
Hard skills are job-specific and include things like particular design knowledge or proficiency in specialized software.
Soft skills are broad, transferable, and applicable in many different environments. They describe your ability to communicate, work under pressure, pay attention to detail, be great at managing time and resources, and so on.
Hard skills will heavily depend on the job position you’re after. Research it and start the list with the most relevant skills that you’re most proficient in. Some of them may be:
Hard Skills for Graphic Designers
Soft skills, while important, should come after hard skills. Put more focus on hard skills and only list several of the most sought-after soft ones, such as:
Soft Skills for Graphic Designers
Graphic Designer Resume Optional Sections
We have already touched upon the importance of optional sections and how they can distinguish you from other candidates, so let’s see what these sections are.
Awards are one of the most important ways graphic designers can emphasize their expertise. The graphic designers who won some of the most prominent awards have proven their skills and competence at the highest level.
You should make a separate section on your resume for awards after you've added all the required sections. List them in order of importance, starting with the most significant one.
Just like your education section, certifications add credibility to your skills and knowledge. On top of that, they show that you would go above and beyond what’s necessary to learn and improve yourself.
If you have a few certifications that are tightly connected to your formal education, you can include them in that section. Otherwise, create a separate section for this purpose and list the relevant ones obtained through the likes of Udemy, LinkedIn, Coursera, and other certifying bodies.
Your projects show your passion for design, and presenting them to recruiters is another way to showcase your work. If you designed a personal blog, ran a design-focused Instagram page, did a big project in college, had a side hustle, or did anything similar, be sure to mention it in your resume.
It’s always beneficial to emphasize knowledge of foreign languages. In fact, if your future job requires international communication and cooperation, this section becomes pretty much mandatory.
You should list languages based on your skill level, starting with the highest one. The proficiency levels are as follows:
Language Proficiency Levels
Hobbies & Interests
This section is great at showing that you’re more than just another candidate. Include something about which you’re truly passionate to show that there’s a captivating person behind the application document.
Should You Submit a Cover Letter With Your Writer Resume?
A good cover letter is what separates amateur job hunters from savvy pros. It’s a custom-built, job-specific document that you can submit with your graphic designer resume. Its goal is to show off your skills and abilities in more detail and get the attention of hiring managers.
There are a few simple steps when it comes to writing it:
Cover Letter Guidelines
Keep the letter 3–5 paragraphs long.
Address the hiring manager personally.
Open with a few impactful achievements.
Use the body of the text to talk more about your competence and why you’re perfect for the job.
Finish with a call to action, inviting them to contact you for further conversation.
Expert Tips for Creating a Graphic Designer Resume
Let’s wrap up this all-in-one guide with a couple of crucial expert tips that will help you fine-tune your graphic designer resume to perfection:
Keep mentioning your skills throughout your resume objective or summary and in your work experience section since ATS may recognize them as keywords.
If some of your achievements and experience don’t fit onto your resume, use a cover letter to talk about them.
If you’re new to the industry (e.g., still a student) and you don’t have a professional portfolio, create a Pinterest account and use that to showcase your work.
Submit your resume as a PDF file unless required otherwise. A DOCX file might mess up the formatting during exporting.
Job Winning Graphic Designer Resume Example
Lastly, what better way to inspire you to create a perfect application document than to examine some of the job-winning graphic designer resume examples?
That’s all there is to know about crafting the perfect graphic designer resume! You went through everything—from the essential guidelines to expert tips and professional examples.
Now is the time to put your skills to use and design one of the most important documents in your professional career. Feel free to use our extensive collection of job-winning resume examples for inspiration and give our resume builder a shot. Best of luck getting your dream job!