As the Senior Design Lead at MyWork, I’m closely involved in interviewing and hiring new designers for our team. After seeing the good, the bad and the ugly of designer applications, here’s some tips for not only submitting a great resume, but how to stand out from the crowd when applying for a design job.
You want a job as a designer… so design your resume!! I can’t tell you the amount of resumes we’ve received that are just bog standard Word templates that are poorly formatted with no visual sections. I’ll be honest, 9 times out of 10 I’ll just close that resume straight away because if the attention to detail and eye for design isn’t there in the very first contact, how can I be confident the applicant will bring that to the job? Companies are often required to sift through hundreds of applications so it’s essential that your resume stands out. Submit a resume that not only fits with the job you’re applying for, but represents your skills and identity as a designer. When I see a resume that’s had some thought and creativity put into it, I always take the time to read it. If you need some inspiration, or even templates to get you started, just jump on Google; there’s loads of resources out there to help you create a beautiful resume. Check out Canva’s article on 50 Inspiring Resume Designs.
Once I’ve read your beautiful resume, I want to see your designs. Whether it be an online portfolio or a simple PDF, it’s vital that you provide a few samples of the design work you’ve done in the past. It doesn’t need to be vast, just choose your best; 3 or 4 great examples are better than 15 average examples. This is what will get you through the door. Your education and work experience is of course considered, but it’s your portfolio that gets me excited. It’s also important to tailor your portfolio to the job you’re applying for. If it’s a web design job, show off your web related work. If it’s a design job for a magazine, highlight your print work. Let your work showcase you and your skillset as a designer. If you need some inspiration for your portfolio, check out Creative Bloq’s 45 Brilliant Design Portfolios to Inspire You.
If you’ve impressed with your resume and portfolio, there’s a high chance you will land yourself a job interview. Everyone finds job interviews nerve wracking. If someone says otherwise, don’t trust them. The key to a great job interview is preparation and presentation. Firstly, you can never be too prepared for an interview. Research the company you’re applying for to ensure the culture matches the kind of working environment you’re looking for. Will you fit into this team and feel comfortable in social situations? Design jobs often come with a more casual and social environment so it’s important to find a team that’s right for you. As we have quite a close-knit design team at MyWork, it’s quite important to me that new team members will fit in well and feel comfortable in our workspace.
After getting a feel for the company and its culture, this will then assist you when presenting yourself in the interview. If you can see from their website or social media that the dress code is a bit more casual, maybe don’t show up in a three piece suit. If you’re a fan of video games and saw on their Facebook that they like to play FIFA on Friday afternoons, mention it! But above all, let your great portfolio of work speak for you. At MyWork we’re not interested in a ‘sales speech’ when interviewing designers. We want to see your work and how passionate you are about design. Bring some physical examples of your work or prepare some links to websites you’ve worked on so we can talk about them in the interview. Get us excited by your skills and knowledge as a designer.
If you land the job you’ve applied for, hooray! However, if you weren’t lucky this time around, don’t give up hope. There will be job just around the corner, but in the meantime why not enquire about an internship. We’ve had unsuccessful design applicants undergo internships with us while they continue looking for work. Gaining experience and knowledge in a real workplace will certainly set you apart from other applicants and hopefully help you snag that dream job. If you’re interested in applying for an internship at MyWork, we have positions available in web/graphic design, UX/UI design, web development, project management and digital marketing/content writing. Check out our Careers page for more info.