Land your dream design job with the perfect résumé

Default avatar.
October 03, 2012

ThumbnailIn the densely populated design field, we are always looking for ways to make ourselves stand out from the crowd.

Never is this need to stand out from the masses more pressing than when applying for a new job. So here we are going to take a look at one way to do this, that should give you that leg up over the competition. That is to tailor your design résumé for the job that you are applying for.

This is not just a matter of tweaking the skills and information that the résumé contains to make sure they line up with what the company is looking for. No. This is about taking time and using your design skills to craft a unique résumé that is matched to the company that you are applying to work for.

While this can be a bit more time consuming, it can have benefits that outweigh the time it costs.

Reasons why

First we will take a look through some of the various reasons that give this approach merit, and perhaps sway you over to this way of thinking in the process. Naturally, this is not a guaranteed recipe for success, but it can give you that extra dash of visibility and memorability that you are looking for when applying for a new job.

Shows adaptability

One of the main strengths that this approach demonstrates, is your ability to adapt to any situation.

Adaptability is key when you are joining a team, and there are not many ways that you can normally highlight this through your résumé without simply listing it as a strength. Or even offering short anecdotal 'evidence' of said trait. But in the interest of keeping things tight and brief, not to mention showing a bit of style, why not let the résumé speak for you in telling and relevant ways?

Why not go the extra mile, and show that you can adapt your design skills to their brand right from the initial point of contact? With a custom made résumé that reflects their own sense of style and brand back at them. This way you show them a trait that most others applying for the job may not be able to point to until an interview of some sort arises.

Most employers worth their salt, place a high premium on adaptability.

Indicate higher levels of interest

This also plays into your favor by indicating higher levels of interest in the position than others who are also applying.


Job interview image via Shutterstock.

If you have taken the time to create a specially designed résumé for this position, then it speaks to a passion for the job and also a dedication to the brand. And it does this automatically before any of the information on the résumé is even looked at.

The first thing that will catch the employers' eye, is the design. And one of the first impressions it will make, will be one of enthusiasm to be part of their team.

Understanding with the company

Along with showing adaptability, this approach also provides hints at your ability to relate to their design preferences. It is one thing to be able to match their style, but being able to relate to it is something completely different. If you can relate to the design, you can work with it. Adapt it. This is important because you want them to know that you are not just able to copy, but to develop.

Every business out there hiring a designer is more than likely doing so because they are looking to grow their brand. To move in a new direction, or to evolve their current design. This means you want to show them that you can help with that growth. That you can be crucial to their next creative evolution.

So add some flare and pizzazz to the résumé as well. Demonstrate both your potential, and some of the potential of their brand via your hand.


As we started out saying, you want to be able to make sure that you are remembered, and having a résumé that is designed in line with the company can certainly do that. If you think about the number of résumés that cross their desks, and even the ones that are designer made and catch the eye, your chances of being remembered are not always so great. This amps up your chances, hopefully turning the odds in your favor.

And anything that you can do here helps.


Recruiter image via Shutterstock.

Always a fresh up-to-date résumé

When you take the time to create a résumé that ties into the company's brand, it also ensures that all of the information gets a fresh update as well. Which may seem like a throw away benefit, but it's not the peace of mind it gives you that we are talking about here. It also lets those you are turning your résumé into that this is the most up to date information on you that they could get.

Let's be honest, if you have taken the time to craft the design, then you are apt to have given the info a good once over as well. And that is just an added little extra assurance that this approach can offer if used.

Too often a résumé can have the feel of a template pressed over and over again. This can give the information it contains a little less impact, as it comes off feeling like a form letter. But a custom design, also tells the recipient that this résumé was made just for them.

Ways to achieve

Now that we have listed the benefits, let us take a quick look at some ways that you can pull this off. Again, you are going to want to add in your own voice too, and doing so may actually lead you in every direction you want to go with your résumé design. Just in case though, here are a few things to get the gears turning and you going.

Color coordinate

The most obvious ways to coordinate your résumé design with the business' brand, is to go with their color choices. This can be a very subtle approach, while still being effective. However, if you want to make even more of an impression, then you might just want to let this be the tip of your iceberg.

Now the great thing about this approach, is that each designer will have their own unique ways of connecting these dots. Some may opt for a direct color copy of the hues used by the business, while others may choose a more artistic interpretation of this method using instead, colors which compliment those used by the company.

There are no hard and fast rules here, so we can feel our way around it until we land on the best ways to pull this off.

Job applicant

Job applicant image via Shutterstock.

Imagery connections

You can also use some of the same imagery or shapes that the company employs in their design, in your résumé to further connect this idea in their mind. While the colors may go over some of the heads looking over the résumé, incorporating some recognizable images is less subtle. Familiar iconography can go along way with keeping your résumé fresh in the minds of those making the hiring decisions.

Again, this can be tricky to pull off in subtle ways, but with a little imagination designers can make an invaluable impression via their résumé. If the business' logo, for instance, employs unconventional shapes then you can work this same combination of unconventional shapes as a watermark in the background. Even without the words to fill in the rest of the logo, the familiar shapes can stand out.

Watermarking isn't the only way around this either. For instance, said shapes can serve as large content areas for your résumé.

There are many ways that designers could deconstruct the company's design and incorporate eye-catching elements into the résumé we are crafting. If they deploy character images throughout their designs, why not trying to use a silhouette of this character in your résumé to draw them in and make this connection?

There are so many ways for your design skills to shine through, but it will take imagination to effectively bring this together without over-doing it.

Focus on fonts

An easy way to incorporate the brand into your résumé is through the fonts that you use to create it. Especially if the business you are applying to has distinctive font choices throughout their branded designs, then this can be an easy way to connect the dots.

Now this is dependent on if the font they are using is one that you can affordably access. If not, then choosing a free font that mimics a paid one they are using, may not be the best approach, or give the best impression.

If you can't afford a licensed copy of the company's brand font, look for fonts that compliment the company's choice. Good ways to match up complimentary typefaces is to look for similar shaped bowls (the round bits in the 'o','b', 'd' etc).

In the end...

Any steps that we can take to give ourselves an edge over the others applying for the same design job are a plus. Customising your résumé to fit or compliment a company's brand may take a lot of time and effort, but if you put in the work, you're much more likely to be rewarded. Certainly more likely than if you submit a résumé that clashes with their design aesthetic.

Job success

Success image via Shutterstock.

These steps may be just the ones you need to land the next job you send out a résumé for. Good luck!

Do you tailor your résumé for each job application? How have you made your résumé stand out from the crowd? Let us know in the comment section below.

Rob Bowen

Rob Bowen is an emerging filmmaker, celebrated author/podcaster and poet, and most recently the co-founder and imaginative co-contributor of the creative design and blogging duo at the Arbenting and Dead Wings Designs.

Read Next

6 Best AI Productivity Apps in 2024

There’s no escaping it: if you want to be successful, you need to be productive. The more you work, the more you…

3 Essential Design Trends, February 2024

From atypical typefaces to neutral colors to unusual user patterns, there are plenty of new website design trends to…

Surviving the Leap from College to Real-World Design

So, you’ve finished college and are ready to showcase your design skills to the world. This is a pivotal moment that…

20 Mind-Bending Illusions That Will Make You Question Reality

Mind-bending videos. Divisive Images. Eye-straining visuals. This list of optical illusions has it all. Join us as we…

15 Best New Fonts, February 2024

Welcome to February’s roundup of the best new fonts for designers. This month’s compilation includes some innovative…

The 10 Best WordPress Quiz Plugins in 2024

Whether it’s boosting your organic search visibility or collecting data for targeted email marketing campaigns, a great…

20 Best New Websites, February 2024

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so this latest collection is a billet-doux celebrating the best of the web this month.

Everything You Need to Know About Image Formats In 2024

Always trying to walk the tightrope between image quality and file size? Looking to branch out from JPGs and PNGs this…

The 10 Best Logos of 2023 - Ranked

From vintage aesthetics to innovative new color schemes, we’ve seen a lot of creative logo designs this year. In this…

Exciting New Tools for Designers, February 2024

2024 is well underway and shaping up to be an interesting year. So, to help you keep your focus on working hard and…

The Art of Engineering AI Prompts

In the rapidly evolving world of artificial intelligence, the ability to communicate effectively with AI tools has…

15 Best New Fonts, January 2024

In this month’s roundup of the best new fonts, we find a large number of vintage, retro, and revival typefaces. Is it…