advisor advice: RESUMES + COVER LETTERS

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

What tips are available for designer resumes and cover letters? Should we brand ourselves by using a logo or creating a custom resume template? Or is simple best?

“Resume’s should be simple and concise.  These days it’s also helpful to have digital resumes.  These could be in the form of a LinkedIn profile, website and/or mobile folio on your phone.  Going digital allows for an interactive experience where you can leverage the power of video messaging (like talking about who you are and the value you bring to a position), animated fly through of work/projects, blogs that illustrate your specialty or versatility, slide shows of work etc.”

Neville Devlaliwalla, Cisco

Your resume and cover letter should be very precise.  Making a resume and cover letter too wordy will discourage someone from reading it.  Keep your resume and cover letters organized and visually interesting and easy to read/understand.  Use powerfull adjectives to describe yourself and the work you have done.

Yes, one should brand themselves; it is important to keep your brand consistent (logo, font styles, look, and colors) throughout your resume, cover letter, portfolio, take-away, and thank you letters.  Plain/simple resume and cover letter tends to be the first ones tossed aside when a potential employer is looking through a stack of candidates. Remember the way you brand yourself reflects on the way your potential employer views you as a designer.”

Rosarae Drury, Vignette Interior Design

“Personally, I think simple is best but that might be an age-thing! 🙂 There are tons of websites for creating resumes and cover letters….I think if a person has a reason for a certain logo/brand, that is fine, but don’t just do it to be different….”

Hilda Haithcock, Lifespaces

simple and readable is best.  Too much logo distracts from the information, in my opinion.  Save the graphics for the portfolio.”

Tommy Lambeth, Associate Professor at UNCG

“I appreciate the creativity of branding oneself for a resume, although I do not consider it as important as the content and general composition of the resume. Designers should show their creativity in the composition of their resume, but they should take care not to let the graphics overpower the content of the resume. The branding, composition, graphics, etc. should support and reinforce the content, rather than compete with it.”

Keith T. Wilson, CJMW Architecture

A designer’s resume can be branded but I would suggest the graphic work be kept simple. The brand graphics should print well in black and white as that is often how readers will print the resume when sharing/ marking up with other reviewers, rather than in color. Skills and Experience should read clearly on the page, allowing for easy reading, vs. hunting for information. I generally prefer resumes to fit on one page. Triple check for spelling and grammatical errors as well as the format of the file and all correspondence you are sending.  Reading your text backwards can be a good way to proof for mistakes since your mind won’t be able to automatically “correct” errors as you read.  Unless another file format is specifically requested, send in pdf format if you can.  Many people will not open native format documents and you don’t want to get thrown out of the pile.  Make sure the file opens easily and as you want it viewed; while this sounds rudimentary, basic errors such as difficult viewability and grammatical or typographical mistakes will often affect the reader’s opinion not only of the applicant’s communication skills, but also of traits like thoroughness, attention to detail and level of interest.

Kathleen D. Warner CJMW Architecture


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