How To Write an Appealing Graphic Designer CV

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In most cases, the job of a graphic designer involves combining art and technology to tell a story or create a captivating image that reflects an idea. It's important for hiring managers to understand more about your abilities so they can determine if you're the best fit for the open position. One of the first steps to secure a role is to submit your application documents, including a CV, so a hiring manager can learn about your experience, abilities and the specific designs you've created that showcase your skills.

In this article, we explain what a graphic designer CV is, share how to write a CV for this role and describe which sections to include in your CV when applying for the position of a graphic designer.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

What is a graphic designer CV?

A graphic designer CV is a document that's usually one page and summarises your professional career, including your work history, education, skills and additional qualifications like any industry-specific certificates you've earned. As a graphic designer, your CV can showcase your potential and past performance to an employer, so it's important that you include as much relevant information as possible. It's also best practice to regularly update your CV so you can tailor it to the responsibilities of the role you're applying for.

How to write a graphic designer CV

Use these steps to write your CV as a professional graphic designer:

1. Research the position

One of the first steps to writing your CV for a graphic designer role is to learn more about the position of graphic designer and the company that's hiring. If you're an entry-level graphic designer, it may be helpful to understand more about the common skills graphic designers possess and include on their CV so you can show that you're qualified. When you learn more about the employer, explore their mission, core values and goals so you can align your CV as much as possible.

You may also find that reviewing the job description can give you an understanding of what the employer is looking for so you can include relevant details that appeal to a hiring manager.

2. Choose what to include on your CV

Once you have reviewed the job description again, choose the most important parts of your work history to include on your resume. Consider what may have the largest impact on a hiring manager who's reviewing your application. For example, a hiring manager at a bank may prefer to see any professional designs you've created or learn more about your roles with previous employers in the financial industry.

Remember to also include the keywords you've identified as important from reviewing the job description. This can help a hiring manager identify you as a viable candidate for their open position, as well as prepare it for a successful pass through an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS reads CVs and scores them based on how well the details match the paired job description.

Related: 139 Action Verbs To Make Your CV Stand Out

3. Decide on a format

Before writing and submitting your graphic designer CV, it's important to choose a format to use. The three most common formats include:

  • Chronological: A chronological CV details your work history from present to past, starting from the most recent. This is useful if your most recent role has been within the graphic design field.

  • Functional: A functional CV focuses mainly on your skill rather than your work experience. This is useful for those who have little experience or who are changing industries but have transferable skills that can be applied to the graphic design industry, as well as professionals who may have a gap in their employment history.

  • Combination: A combination CV uses both the chronological and functional formats. This useful for those who are changing careers and have a lot of work experience.

Related: CV Format Guide: Examples and Tips

4. Include relevant sections based on your background

There are some basic sections that are best practice to include on a CV, like your work experience and skills, while you may also select others depending on your unique background and experience. For example, if you have earned an advanced certificate in graphic design or have a link to an online portfolio, these details can help a hiring manager learn more about your potential as an employee.

5. Proofread

It's important to proofread your CV before you submit it so you can show your professionalism to the hiring manager and other staff members who may review it. Check for spelling or grammatical errors, ensure that your CV adequately reflects your qualifications and read it again to make sure it's easy to understand.

Key sections for your graphic designer CV

When structuring your graphic designer CV, it is important to consider these important sections:

Profile

Your profile section normally appears at the top of your CV and includes your contact information, like your full name, phone number and email address. You can also include a link to your professional website or online portfolio. Consider writing an overview that's three to five sentences long and describes your career objectives, key skills and more important work experience and accomplishments. The goal of this section is to highlight your unique personality and make sure that the employer notices you as a potential candidate.

Work experience

In this section, you can state the name of the company, your job title, your start and end dates and details, usually in a bulleted list, of the tasks you were responsible for. It can be useful to specify quantifiable data and metrics to help the employer analyse your application more effectively.

Your work experiences can serve to demonstrate transferable skills that you would use in the graphic design industry, such as teamwork and active listening. So, if you do not have experience in the graphic design field, you could think of ways to show you still have the necessary skills through your work in other industries. You can also showcase these skills and knowledge through your education, voluntary experience or your hobbies.

Related: Transferable Skills: Definitions and Examples

3. Education

The education section of your CV can include any education you've received and additional training you've completed that's relevant to the field of graphic design. Also, consider including any awards you've earned, your GPA, accolades you've received in school and relevant projects you completed.

4. Skills

The skills section is where you can describe the hard and soft skills that you have attained over the course of your career. Hard skills are technical skills that are acquired through specific training and are required to perform successfully in the role. Soft skills are behaviours and traits that are not specific to any one field of work.

This section of your graphic designer CV is very important as it demonstrates your performance and personality to the employer. You can add in any technological resources that you have experience with. It is also worth including examples of how your skills helped previous companies you've worked for.

Graphic designer CV skills

The skills section of your CV provides you with an opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates because you can explain your knowledge of conceptualising ideas and creating final images, your technical skills, and any experience you have with using industry-specific tools. Your soft skills are also important, as they can help a hiring manager understand more about what to expect from you in the office and when you communicate with your colleagues and clients. The key skills to consider including for a graphic designer role include:

Industry knowledge

As a graphic design professional, your industry-specific knowledge and training can give a hiring manager confidence in your abilities. This includes experience in using photo-editing software, typography, colour theory, storyboarding, logo design and knowledge of illustrations. Outlining your skills in this area can help you appeal to employers looking for individuals with specific experience.

Design software

Especially if an employer has stated certain tools their new hire can use on the job, it's important to include these to demonstrate your proficiency. Think of programs for effects, fonts, logo creation and more. If you're a new college graduate, you may also include any software and programs you used in school.

Creativity

Demonstrating that you can be creative is also an important trait of a graphic designer because it's an inherent skill for this role. You may need to conceptualize a design based on a client's basic specifications or understand how to better convey a message that a client wants to share with their target audience. Skills that show creativity include originality, attention to detail and ingenuity.

Problem-solving

As a graphic designer, you may come upon some issues with the project you're working on. It's important to find ways to solve problems, such may include adjusting your design and adapting to new feedback. Examples of problem-solving skills include decision-making, negotiation and critical thinking.

Time management

There are usually strict deadlines to be met within the graphic design field, and you may have to balance several projects simultaneously, so it is important to show that you have time management skills. Key examples of this include planning, organisation, multitasking and reliability. Your time management skills can keep clients and your colleagues happy because they are confident in your ability to finish projects on time.

Adaptability

As this is a creative field, there may be times in which you need to adjust to the expectations of a client or a colleague. If you can show that you are adaptable, this can help you seem prepared to a potential employer. This includes skills such as teamwork, optimism, feedback acceptance and open-mindedness.

Communication

Communication is an important skill for many roles, and it's particularly relevant for you as a graphic designer. Your ability to listen to instructions, discuss ideas, update clients and provide feedback can determine the success of the project or task you're working on. Examples of communication skills that you can include on your graphic designer CV include active listening, empathy, and public speaking.

Marketing

It can also be an advantage to mention any marketing experience that you may have on your CV. This shows that you are aware of what appeals to a target market and that you have the ability to sell a product or service. Marketing skills include SEO, branding, social media and digital analytics.

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