How to Write a Graphic Design CV / Graphic Designer CV
As a graphic designer, you are used to your visual work being the best advertisement for your professional skills. However, when you're applying for a job, it's critical that you first present an excellent Graphic Design CV, because if the employer isn't impressed by their first sight of this, they won't proceed to look at your portfolio.
It's still important to have an online portfolio, either on your own website or your own page on a shared portfolio site - it will always be easier for an employer to click back and forth on a single site, rather than follow a string of individual links on your Graphic Designer CV. This should not prevent you from writing an effective CV, as this amounts to your introduction.
Need help copywriting your graphic design CV? A professional CV writing company such as Bradley CVs can expertly write your CV and sell your skills, ability and experience to an employer, making them want to interview you.
Show Creative Flair on Your Graphic Design CV
Visual creativity a Graphic Design CV is fine, but this should never impinge on the clarity of the text. If you use images or limited colour, ensure that it does not detract from the effectiveness of the written communication. Your CV must always be printable at 300dpi in black and white, so make sure any graphics will work on paper.
Strong recommendations are to work with a grid in order to organise the information. Grids will make your text clearer. Do, of course, pay considerable attention to the use of different fonts and font sizes - without going overboard, it's possible to convey your creativity in the appearance of the text.
Above all, you should show that as a graphic designer, you understand the functionality of a Graphic Designer CV as a document and are able to adopt a design approach that respects what the CV is intended to do.
It's very likely that, in a large organisation that a Graphic Design CV will be passed to various staff, including human resources, who are not looking at your creativity but your suitability for the job in terms of experience, qualifications, skills, etc. If so, a badly printed, visually busy and less than readable document will quickly be put aside.
Graphic Design CV Profile
In 3 or 4 lines at the top of a Graphic Design CV, you need to summarise your professional experience and skills as a designer. This is an 'at a glance' view of your application, so you need to highlight all the areas that are most relevant to the vacancy in question.
With experience areas, mention your strongest graphic skills - e.g. website design, corporate branding, etc. - and the main kind of clients you have worked for. If these are in the same industry as the employer, or are the same as the design agency's clients, so much the better. You should make this as relevant as possible.
On a Graphic Designer CV, you should also mention 2 or 3 of your personal strengths. Are you great at meeting with clients and writing briefs, organising a team of designers or presenting to meetings?
Transferable skills, which can be used in any job, are highly valuable - think about communication and interpersonal skills, work prioritisation, adherence to deadlines, teamwork, etc.
A CV writer at Bradley CVs needs to identify and capture what is special about our clients and you need to do exactly the same if you want to produce a graphic design CV that will grab the attention of employers.
Achievements on a Graphic Design CV
This is where you can highlight up to 5 or 6 of your outstanding projects. A Graphic Design CV must show how you can deliver outstanding results for clients, your employer or both.
An achievement is an area where you personally made a difference through your contribution, so consider including design projects where your role was significant.
You can, of course, include a link to your portfolio in a Graphic Designer CV - a hyperlink is fine, but remember your CV may also be printed off, so don't use anchor text instead of a readable URL.
You should add some description about the project, so that the reader is motivated to take a look at your work. Again, the more relevant the projects are to the work the employer is likely to request of you, the better.
The best achievements are quantified in some way - and it is no different for a graphic designer's achievements. If you completed a website for a medium-sized business, state how large the business was in employee or turnover terms (see their annual report), the product or service on offer, and the budget for the work. You can also state how many pages were created.
If you were working as a team member, then don't try to obscure this fact. Team working is valuable and all employers value this capability. State how large the team was, how long the project took and what your exact role was. The more specific information you can offer, the easier the employer will find it to envisage you working in their organisation or agency.
If you have won any awards, received written commendations from clients or had work exhibited, then you can also include this information under your achievements section on your Graphic Design CV. Again, use quantification if possible - for example, if you won a competition, state how many entrants there were.
Recent graduates can refer to projects completed during studies or as voluntary work in this section. While budgets are impossible to include, feedback and reviews are valuable information.
Skills on Your Graphic Designer CV
As there is a technical aspect to a graphic designer's work, it's worth including a Skills section on a Graphic Design CV. This will provide more 'at a glance' clarity for the reader, and will save you having to repeat lists of applications and packages throughout your CV. If you wish, you can categorise your skills as advanced, intermediate and basic, but this isn't essential.
The most effective presentation is in a table with three columns and a number of rows. You can group the software applications into categories (e.g. multimedia, content management systems) by introducing a small number of subheadings into your table.
Don't take up too much room on your Graphic Designer CV with this. Training and qualifications shouldn't be included here.
Career History / Design Experience on a Graphic Design CV
How you organise your Career History, or Design Experience, section depends on how you've worked previously, whether as a freelancer or as an employee of an agency or business organisation.
You need to get this right on a Graphic Design CV, so that an employer is presented with the information that they want in the correct order.
First, list your positions in reverse chronological order, so with the most recent first. List your job title, the employer's name, and your inclusive dates of employment on one line. Below this, include 5 or 6 bullet points with information about the work you did there.
This doesn't mean listing every responsibility or individual task, or reproducing your job description. Rather, it means highlighting the work you did that is relevant to the post you're applying for. This means that you may need to select different projects for different job applications on your Graphic Designer CV.
The best approach is to write up each project as if it were in your achievements section. Use active terminology - start each sentence with a verb, so your personal contribution to the work is very obvious. Do not include URLs for each individual project, as this looks untidy on a CV - include just one (or at most two) links to your online portfolio.
If you have worked as a freelancer, enter 'self employed' instead of an employer's name or your company's name if you had your own business. You can then add projects beneath in the same way. There is no need to include every project you have worked on - focus on those that are relevant, while demonstrating the range of your skills.
If you are a recent graduate, you can include voluntary design projects in this section of your Graphic Design CV, along with secondments or work experience projects. Do not repeat those that are already in your achievements section.
There is no need to include jobs from longer than 10 years ago, as developments in the industry mean that these will no longer be relevant.
If you have worked in jobs that are unrelated to graphic design, you can include these in a separate section called simply Other Experience. You should present them in the same way as this section.
Graphic Designer CV Qualifications and Training
First, you should list your highest level design qualification. This may be a university degree, a foundation degree or a Higher National Certificate or Diploma (HNC/HND).
Include the title of the qualification and your grade, the institution you studied with and the year of completion.
There is no need to include every short course you have taken in different software packages, but do include any significant vocational training on a Graphic Design CV.
If you left education at the age of 16, then list your school and the examinations you passed, as well as the year you left. There is no need to do this if you have been out of education for more than 5 years.
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