January 24, 2013

Source: Zachary Siswick

Our fancy new Resume Reader (featuring our cow Vera as the clairvoyant Zoltwang) is an online tool that shows you how to look deep into a design resume to see a candidate’s past and present, so you can then figure out if they have a future - at your company, anyway.

We’ve gotten requests to create a doc for easier sharing; so while our creative team is producing something nice, we’re highlighting our advice here, just in case you have a stack of design resumes sitting on your desk at this very moment.

(If you have a designer in a nearby room ready to be interviewed, be sure to print out our 10 Interview Questions for Designers PDF.)

So without further ado:

9 Mistakes You Find on Design Resumes

1. Using a dated or un-design-savvy font. Comic Sans, ouch. Great designers choose their fonts wisely. Comic Sans is a design no-no.

2. Listing tasks instead of results. A great resume will show the impact they had on the company or project goals. Here's where you want to see how they reduced costs, increased profits, or got millions of eyeballs and clicks on a company site. Great marketing is driven by data, and great creatives know what to do with that data.

3. Forgetting to add technical skills. If you're looking for someone to hit the ground running, make sure they have the tools you value on your team. And if the skills aren't listed, be sure to ask.

4. Not sharing deliverables. In today's competitive and integrated marketing landscape, designers who can work on a wide variety of deliverables are highly desirable. Look for what types of projects they’ve worked on (websites, brochures, print ads, inserts, banner ads, etc.) to see if this designer can be the "master of all trades" you really need.

5. Spelling errors. Everyone who creates a resume should have had someone else READ it before sending out. Though spellcheck will review words and grammar, it also tends to skip over words a resume is highly unlikely to include, say the words “manger” and “revue.” Keep in mind that spelling errors show a lack of attention to detail and that “1-800-BIG-DATA” could easily be “1-800-BIG-DATE."

6. Inconsistent job titles. Companies often use different titles for the same positions. Or, if the team sizes aren’t similar, their expertise will demand a different level of seniority. A smart creative will explain the titles within their description to make sure their experience flows more consistently for the reader.

7. No hyperlinks. A sharp designer will include links their work, because they understand the power (and importance) of easy access to information. Just like you want them to get YOUR information to YOUR customers. A good understanding of user experience - yes, even in a resume - is a sign of a good designer.

8. Lack of bullet points. No one should ever underestimate the power of the bullet point to make a document easy to scan through and highlight accomplishments vs. just listing responsibilities. It’s also a good place to show the results, so you should expect some numbers in these bullets. (See #2)

9. Not dropping names. Listing brands and companies allows the reader to visualize the aesthetic of the work the designer has done. And even better, to understand the size and shape of the teams and budgets they’ve had to work with in the past. Then you'll better understand a typical day and typical challenges they are ready to handle.


If you’d like to see this all happen in a fancy interactive way, be sure to visit the Resume Reader.

If you’d like to get a copy of the PDF we’re creating for this list, just let us know!

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