Creating a Good Resume

Given the state of our economy and the number of designers, developers, directors, etc. that apply for a single job, I feel that the topic of Resumes has to be discussed. While in school, my professors taught me what they believed were good practices for designing a resume. However, after graduating college and getting into the REAL design world, I've found that what I learned about resumes in school is far more different than what actual employers are looking for. Having worked at design firms for awhile now, I have a lot more experience under my belt and noticed that my credentials have expanded. My need for a multiple page resume might be required butI know that employers don't have time to look through a multiple page resume.

With that said, I then ask you all (especially the art/creative directors out there) :

What does a good Resume look like? How many pages is too many, and what gets an employers attention?

- Kevin


I'll email you what mine looks like, seems to get peoples attention even though it's not the greatest one ever.

I think a lot of getting someone to care about what your resume says is luck unfortunately... and if you know someone who can say "make sure you look at his / her resume!" to the person reviewing it.

The school I went to posted this video about this topic. Now I think smaller companies may have more time, but I think the advice is pretty straightforward.

I have spent some time with Liz Ryan who doles out amazing resume writing advice. She has some interesting viewpoints on a well written resume and cover letter. I'd venture to say it's pretty right on; I've managed to score three different jobs over the past 14 months thanks to her advice. All using a 2-page resume plus cover letter. So I don't think every employer out there will toss any resume greater than 1 page long, as long as the content included is relevant. My primary focus was on skill sets, goals and accomplishments, e.g. "Saved company of less than $1M total revenue $8,000 per month by [insert something awesome here]" instead of "Served as production manager for several national accounts." Snooooooooore. Having a resume that told, as Liz puts it, dragon-slaying stories is what can help get callbacks. It shows you're competent, and you get results in whatever you do. In my cover letter I usually acknowledge something cool the company has done; a campaign, an award, a new website, whatever, and then try to twist that around to make them sound like they have some gaping wound in their infrastructure that only I can fill (it's call a Pain Letter). It means crafting something for every resume I send out, but I prefer that to the shotgun effect of pitching out the same PDF to fourteen different craigslist openings and then going back later and wondering what the heck they were.

Good luck, and very nice portfolio site!

Oh and as for actual visuals, in my opinion as someone who's been a production dept manager and had to do all the resume going-through: Less is more. I think a well chosen font and a nice logo for your name is more than sufficient. I've gotten all kinds of wackiness: Names that were impossible to read because they used something goofy off, drawings in the margins, backgrounds that rendered the text impossible to read... those immediately went into the trash. Don't make them work to figure out who you are and what you want. For the longest time I actually just had a PDF of a Word Doc because the text was clean and the layout was easy to follow. Now I have a newer one in Illustrator but it's still very basic because I want my qualifications to stand out, not a background texture. Save the real creativity for your portfolio site... it will show them you know the difference between function and form.

First off don't make any publication in illustrator. Indesign offers such better tools to making a multi page document. An emailed resume in the design world should be three parts all in one PDF, a well targeted cover letter followed by your neat and easy to read resume, followed by a selection of your work i usually put in 10 samples all with brief descriptions of what design problem i was solving. if you have a website include that info in the resume section as well as a link in the message of the email. When going in for an interview you should have some hard copy samples along with a professional hard copy of your portfolio. For that i use, i have several copies of my portfolio professionally printed. i do this because i am selling my self and if i were a highly valued product i would have a good brochure to accompany my verbal sales pitch. this not only shows confidence in yourself but it also shows the level of professionalism you intend on delivering. Your printed portfolio should have more work than your emailed one, and make them a little different, also too many places call you in for follow up interviews so make sure you don't bring all your work in for the first interview, keep wowing the audience, show them new things every time you see them, but bring the old stuff just incase they want to look again.
This may seem like a lot but the economy sucks and its really competitive right now so you must be diligent and relentless in your search. but don't bother employers, being desperate shows weakness and immaturity be courteous with your follow ups

The resume is a primary tool to land a job. In a competitive market, you need to have a comprehensive resume for your employer's perusal. I would like to share an article I came across the other day. It was entitled "Refresh your resume to improve job search". It will supplement you great tips and will give you better ideas on how to make a good resume. Albeit the points there are applied in general, I hope it can help you make a good resume. Good luck in your endeavors Kevin. :)

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