4 Steps for Writing a Graphic Design Resume (+ Template)

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Get ready for your job search with a resume that highlights all of your qualifications and experience. Here is a step-by-step guide to writing a graphic design resume.

[Featured Image] Close-up view of a printed resume being handed to an interviewer.

Putting a resume together can feel like a daunting step in the job search, especially if you’re starting from scratch. For aspiring graphic designers, pulling together your qualifications and experience may feel overwhelming. Where do you list your skills? How do you design it so that it looks beautiful, easy to read, and professional?

Here is a step-by-step guide to writing a graphic design resume, plus a template you can use to get started.

5 steps for writing a graphic design resume

Crafting a graphic design resume can be intimidating. It should look visually appealing but not over-designed, and that balance can be difficult to strike when you want to show off your design skills. Follow these steps for an easy approach to resume building.

1. Read the job description and research the company.

For any job you apply for, it is wise to tailor your resume to each job and its specific requirements. Read the entire job description so you understand the employer’s ideal candidate. Keep a note of specific skills and experiences they’re looking for, and be sure to include the ones you possess in your resume. 

Do your research on the organization to get a feel for its brand, culture, industry, and type of projects. If you are applying for a health tech job, for example, it’s helpful to include any jobs where you worked with a health care client or in public health and how these prepared you specifically for the job at hand.

2. Gather your work and education information.

Start listing your work experience and education down on a piece of paper or in a Word document. Typically, you’ll use chronological order, starting from present or most recent jobs. You don’t have to include all past jobs and experiences on your resume, but if you have significant gaps in employment, you’ll want to be ready to explain them to hiring managers.

If you’re switching from another field, such as marketing, your current resume may have marketing-relevant experiences. Consider creating a general graphic design resume that you can copy and customize later by adding or deleting information for each job you apply for.

3. Visualize your resume.

After you decide what information you’ll include in your resume, visualize where each part will go. Look at examples and templates online for ideas. Each section, such as “work experience,” “education,” and “skills,” should have clear headers that make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to scan your resume at a glance. 

Add some design elements

You may feel compelled to showcase your design skills in your resume—and you should! Choose fonts, layouts, and other design elements that highlight your personality, but keep in mind that your resume is meant to be simple and professional. Save flashy colors and impressive designs for your portfolio.


4. Review and revise.

Once you complete your resume, review it for grammatical and spelling errors. Does it follow a logical flow? Did you include all the sections needed? Does each bullet point include a specific impact (in numbers) of your work whenever possible? Consider asking a friend to review your resume to catch any mistakes you may have missed.

Things to include in your graphic design resume

These are the elements to be included in a resume:

  • Contact information, including a link to your portfolio and LinkedIn profile

  • Professional summary (optional)

  • Work experience

  • Education

  • Skills, including tools and special areas you’re proficient in

Graphic designer resume example

Starting entirely from scratch can be intimidating. Here’s a template you can use for inspiration.

The template is simple so you can add your own flair. Remove a column or add another one. Play around with color and fonts. Add a professional summary. Highlight your accomplishments. You may want to download the template and open it in a word processing program, so you can make certain adjustments, like adjusting margin size.

Resume tips to keep in mind

Here are some final tips to set you off on the right foot.

  • Keep it simple: Stick to black text so it is easy to read, and choose one, maybe two, other colors to accentuate if needed. Simple fonts are a solid choice. It’s best to keep your resume simple and save your design chops for the portfolio. 

  • PDF it: Resumes tend to use columns, bullet points, special fonts, and other elements, and these have a higher chance of formatting errors when viewed or sent in a Microsoft Word doc. It is a best practice to save your resume as a PDF so that potential employers see exactly what you intended.

  • Include numbers: Use numbers to quantify the impact of your work. Underneath each experience, your bullet points should demonstrate, for example, that your designs helped increase brand sales by 15% in 2023. 

  • Beat the ATS: Many employers these days use application tracking systems (ATS) to sift through hundreds of resumes. Make sure you include keywords from the job description in your bullet points. Avoid fancy features like text boxes or images that might not get scanned by the system.

  • Limit to one page: The standard for employers is often for applicants to limit their resumes to one page, so include only the most important and relevant information. 

Learn graphic design with CalArts

Writing up a resume can be challenging, but it is a great opportunity to reflect on your past accomplishments and experiences—and even boost your confidence as you work toward becoming a graphic designer. 

Consider the CalArts Graphic Design Specialization if you’re interested in sharpening your skills as a graphic designer. You’ll learn and apply basic design principles toward a comprehensive branding project, in two months or less (based on 10 hours per week).

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