Without designers there probably wouldn’t be an Internet, or at least there wouldn’t be an Internet that looked this good. Many skilled hands go into creating the websites that we know and love, but designers are usually the ones held responsible for how it looks. They put together everything from flashy logos to image banners to drop downs and font choice.
Getting a job is usually a daunting experience regardless of the field. It can be all the more intimidating for creative types that must submit their portfolios for critique. To help, we spoke with three seasoned designers that have gone through the job process with great success. They helped us with resume tips, cover letter advice, and whether to actually print out that portfolio.
Don’t “Over Design”
Perhaps one of the biggest questions for a designer is how much to gussy-up their application. You are a designer after all, shouldn’t you “design” your materials? The answer is: Sort of.
It’s always nice to present something that is visually appealing, but remember that your employer will probably value legibility and clarity over a bunch of fancy doodles. “I’m more a supporter of simplicity, especially when it comes to a resume, where it is important for it be as clear, straight forward, and comprehensible as possible,” said Alex Mathers, a graphic designer, illustrator and author. It can hint at your skills and abilities but shouldn’t detract from conveying the important information.
Still, a little flair can help you stand out. “I wouldn’t have a portfolio that was so graphically busy that it interfered with the work I was trying to present,” said Chris Coyier, designer and author of design blogs CSS Tricks and Digging into WordPress. “… At the same time, an online portfolio is a website and personal creation of yours, so it being beautiful in itself is important.”
Resumes are a necessary evil, but a good one can actually be a window into your personal design style. “The resume as a whole should reflect your personality,” said YiYing Lu, a designer most associated with the Twitter Fail Whale. “The words, the linguistic skills should be transparent. It should carry your spirit. I think the resume is almost like your avatar in a way.”
It’s obviously important to highlight any previous design experience, but what else should you include? Do employers really care if you “enjoy travel and cooking?” A lot depends on the specific job you’re applying for. If its a travel and cooking site, potentially. It is most important to stay professional and tailor your resume for each job.
“I definitely wouldn’t bother mentioning you worked at McDonald’s in high school,” Coyier said. “I’ll go out on a limb and say don’t even put on where you went to high school. Any company I would want to work for wouldn’t care about that, they would want to know if I’m a good designer, a hard worker, and if I’ll fit with their team or not.”
Yes, they’re still important, and yes, nobody likes writing them, but there are a couple things to keep in mind while crafting yours. Mathers explained that cover letters are still the first line of introduction, and just might prevent your resume from being thrown in the trash. Your cover letter should introduce who you are, but most importantly, give a reason why they should bother reading your resume or looking at your work.
Almost as important as the cover letter is that first email you send with your resume. Coyier argues it’s even more important as a way of introducing yourself and setting the tone. It’s your first chance to demonstrate your personality.
In some ways, your Portfolio is the most important thing you submit. A great portfolio can convey a designer’s skill, talent and approach. There are, however, a couple stumbling blocks that can make all that work look disorganized or unprofessional … Continuing read here