Job Searching 101: Resumes

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Photo: Breather / Unsplash

A good resume is a vital part of your job searching success.

My experience with resumes has been extensive. There are probably over 15 different versions of my resume file on my computer. Here are some tips and tricks for resumes [in the creative industry]. These tips are good for designers, fashion and anything else that’s creative. Most of the new resume rules you read in job hunting books apply, except you probably have more leeway when it comes to format.

Basics:

  • Keep it short. If you have more than 1 page (and you’re just starting out), cut things out.
  • Don’t list EVERY responsibility or task, talk about the more important ones.
  • Be sure to list your portfolio or blog url. If you are sending a pdf file, make the url clickable!
  • Don’t use fancy flourish-y words, especially if you don’t know what they mean.
  • PDF vs. Doc? I prefer pdf since the format won’t mess up like the Word Doc.

Design:

  • If you’re a designer, make sure your resume reflects your style.
  • Be careful about complicated designs. Sometimes simple (but sleek) design is safer!
  • Make sure you don’t clump your text together. Who wants to read a huge block of text? Pretend your reader has A.D.D. and design accordingly.
  • Should you add a profile picture? Personally, I would say no. Use that space for something important! You can add it on your portfolio, blog or personal website.
  • For program/technical skills, some people distinguish their knowledge level with words like proficient/experienced. Others just list the programs they know best first (in descending order).

Standing out:

  • Don’t use generic words like “fashionista”, “hard worker” and “organized”. Other words like “responsible for” and “managed” are boring. Find a different way to prove that you’re all of these things – your actions and results prove that. Use a thesaurus!
  • If you have any interesting volunteer/work experience that relates to the job you’re applying for, be sure to add it. I had some fashion volunteer experience under the header “Related Experience”. Don’t have room? Mention it in your cover letter!
  • Even though some companies may seem “hip”, there are different levels! Some creative companies may prefer a more traditional resume instead of something crazy innovative. BuzzFeed for example, will respond to more eccentric formats (think video or BuzzFeed list) than a company like Marvel or fashion brand.

Other notes:

  • Tailored resumes are recommending if your experiences range greatly. Push your related job experiences towards the top, especially if they’re in the same industry as your potential job.
  • Read the job description clearly! If your qualifications don’t quite match up, be sure to include something that would make up for it. Didn’t go to a top design school but have a killer freelance history? Mention that!
  • As time passes, your college experience won’t count as much. You can include student organizations if they’re crucial but if not, feel free to remove extra details that don’t help your cause.

I plan to do a piece on cover letters because I think they are SUPER important. Your resume is merely a factual document that logs your experience and skills. Personality really shines through your cover letter.

Let me know if you guys have any questions!

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