Author Topic: RESUME WRITING GUIDELINES  (Read 1549 times)

Dawn Hawkins

  • Help Forums Administrator
  • Global Moderator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 17
    • Edutechgirl
« on: December 02, 2011, 06:56:44 pm »
Writing effective résumés and cover letters is an important step in creating a well-rounded Portfolio that demonstrates your skills and experience. Your résumé should be neat, legible and reflect your abilities as a designer in content, composition and layout. It should highlight your creativity and work visually with other elements of your portfolio. The consideration of how that document will be delivered is also vitally important. Ensure the design and layout is consistent with your other marketing materials and portfolio

Integrity is an important, unwritten aspect of your portfolio, résumé, and promotional materials. Never fabricate information of any kind on your résumé or in an interview. If you land a job and it is discovered that you do not have the qualifications stated on your résumé, you will most likely be fired. Moreover, the design world is a tightly knit community and word gets around fast. Such actions can continue to have repercussions and hurt your chances at future job opportunities.

Grammar and Spelling

The number one reason for immediate rejection of any résumé, cover letter, promotional piece (or any piece of graphic design for that matter) is typographical errors. Typing errors are not tolerated in the graphic design industry, and they shouldn't be. Not only do typos reflect poorly on your abilities, they can cost thousands of dollars in wasted product if accidentally produced in printed media.

Although helpful, spell checkers and grammar checkers shouldn't be trusted to find every problem. For example, "there" and "their" are both spelled correctly, but they mean very different things. It is always wise to run these checkers and then hand your work over to an editor (or someone with good eyes and a firm grasp of grammar and knowledge of the subject matter), to read prior to publishing or printing a final version. When it comes to proofreading, no word processing computer program can substitute for a second human eye!

Cover Letter Guidelines

Your cover letter should reflect the same creative abilities as the rest of your marketing program, including your portfolio. Use your skill with typography and layout to present a strong, clean design. Employers sometimes review dozens of cover letters and résumés in a day; they will quickly discard lengthy or redundant ones! Keeping yours brief and easy to read will lead employers comfortably to the résumé.

Keep in mind that it is often the first item a potential employer or client will see. You are selling yourself and it's important to make a good first impression! These letters should be short, to the point, and directed towards a specific person. Avoid generic terms such as "Dear Sir or Madam". If the advertisement or lead does not specify a contact person, call or e-mail the company and ask for the name of the Public Relations Director and/or the manager/supervisor/art director of the Graphic Design Department. Avoid writing a form letter of any kind. An experienced art director can catch that immediately. Do some research such as visiting the company's Website. Customize the cover letter with valid company information. This will keep it original and focused on the needs of the company.


  • Keep the letter to one page.
  • Use short, concise sentences and paragraphs.
  • Use paper that does not detract from the message. Usually plain white or cream is best; dark paper doesn't fax, scan or copy well.
  • Do not mention salary unless required in the ad. Gave a range in this instance.
  • Do not offer any personal information.
  • Do not present any references at this time; they will be made available with the résumé.
The Cover Letter Format

The general format of a cover letter covers three to four paragraphs.
The first paragraph:
  • Catches the reader's attention.
  • States the position being applied for.
  • States where the lead was generated.
  • Finishes with a creative statement of why you want the job

The second (and third, if needed) paragraph:
  • Lists current experience and responsibilities.
  • Showcases two or three of your skills and talents as they relate to the position and to the company as a whole.
  • Repeat the same words and phrases found in the ad you are responding to.

The final paragraph:
  • Explains your contact information.
  • Contains a positive phrase about setting up an interview.
  • Expresses thanks for the time and consideration shown by the reviewer.

Because the letter may be read by someone in the Human Resources department before reaching anyone in the design department, make the content easy to match to the needs of the position.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 04:57:25 pm by Margaret Helthaler »