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Graphic Designer CV Example & Writing Guide

As a graphic designer, you know looks matter. In this guide, we will show you how to craft an eye-catching graphic designer CV.
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Graphic Designer CV Example & Writing Guide
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Just like a brochure you bring to life through your design skills, your graphic designer CV should reflect your ability to create something that the hiring manager can’t resist.

A good graphic designer will work on designs in a range of formats, such as the company website, social media, and print materials. You don’t have long to impress with your CV, and the good thing is that although there are a lot of graphic designers out there, there are also a lot of opportunities. Make sure the reader knows that you not only have the relevant desirable skills and expertise, but you also keep on top of trends. 

At Resume.io, we create resources that help you land your next position. Check out our writing guides and 65+ CV examples for professionals, together with a simple CV builder that makes it easy for you. The following guide — along with the corresponding graphic designer CV example — will cover these topics:

  • What does a graphic designer professional do?
  • How to approach writing your graphic designer CV with some hints and tips!
  • What format to use for your graphic designer CV
  • What to write for each section of your CV (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • The best professional CV and format to use for your graphic designer CV

What does a graphic designer do?

Graphic designers are experienced in using specific software to create graphics in a range of formats, including for websites, print materials, social media, and email marketing. 

Graphic designers should enjoy working in a busy, challenging environment, with the ability to manage a varied workload. They should be creative and have good interpersonal skills, as they will need to be able to liaise with different colleagues, such as the social media manager and content manager, as well as clients.

As graphic designers can conduct much of their work at home, employers tend to allow them to work in hybrid form. Many graphic designers also work as freelancers or own their own studios.

Statistical insight

How much do graphic designers earn?
The average base salary for graphic designers is £23,760, with London being the top employment region in the UK.  However, thanks to bonuses and other types of commission, your income may reach as high as £199,000.

If you are looking for work as a graphic designer, you may find that employers will be a bit more flexible than they are in other industries. 

Graphic designer job market and outlook

In the UK, the graphic design industry is in high demand, and that’s only set to increase over the next few years. With an increasing number of businesses moving completely online or at least moving some of their business online, there is a much greater demand for graphic designers than ever before. 

As an example, the retail industry has transformed recently, as a result of the pandemic, with 85,000 businesses launching online stores or having a presence on online marketplaces over the last four months. Launching an online store means you need a website, marketing materials, social media presence, and content — all of which require a graphic designer. 

If you are looking for work as a graphic designer in the UK, the good news is that you shouldn’t need to look particularly hard. However, it is important to find the right fit and by using our CV examples, you can create a CV that is designed to help support your career needs.

Statistical insight

The world of online shopping is booming — and has been for some years! In 2022, the United Kingdom was expected to reach a massive 60 million e-commerce users. That means the non-online shoppers are now officially in the minority. 

This market trend is great news for the graphic designers of this country. If you have a flair for web design or online graphics, the opportunities in this sector are vast. 

How to write a graphic designer CV

The first part of writing your graphic designer CV is knowing what sections you should have. It is important to divide your CV into sections to make it easier to read. These are the main elements you should have in your CV:

  • CV header
  • Summary — sometimes referred to as profile
  • Employment history (or experience)
  • Skills section
  • Education

You should write your CV in a way that appeals to the reader. For instance, you may be applying for a job in a creative agency, or it could be with a direct employer. These are different as in an agency, you are likely to be working on different campaigns for different clients, whereas with a direct employer, you will be doing the graphic design work only for them.

Get a feel for the company you are applying to, and the person reading the CV if you have their details. You can use resources such as LinkedIn, to get some information on the person that will be reading your CV. If you are applying to work in a creative agency, you will probably find that the culture will be more relaxed and informal than if you were applying for a graphic designer role within a large organisation, such as a bank. It is a good idea to keep this in mind when writing your CV.

These are some general rules to keep in mind when writing your CV.

  • Make sure you tailor your CV to the employer you are applying to; this includes the style and tone. Consider how you would speak to them face to face. It will make the CV more relatable.
  • Use a clear, attractive CV template and design. Ensure you use the same style and size of font throughout the CV.
  • Don’t forget about the keywords. As you would do with any other piece of content, you must ensure keywords are used throughout your CV, as many employers are now using an ATS to screen candidates.
Expert tip

One mistake that designers commonly make is to overthink their CVs when applying for jobs. A graphic designer CV sample should certainly be attractive, however it needn’t go overboard with too much color, images or other gimmicky elements.

The content of the CV is the most important aspect of it. Yes, they might be impressed when your comic book-inspired CV arrives on their desk via a drone, but if the content isn’t up to standard, it will not make any difference.

Pay attention to the feel of the company you are applying to. If it’s clear they will appreciate a pop of colour, go ahead and add it to your CV. Just remember that a well-organised and simple document is oftentimes the best approach — even for graphic designers.

Choosing the best CV format for a graphic designer

Generally speaking, reverse chronological is the best format for a graphic designer CV (with your most recent employment first.) If you don’t have any or much experience then you may want to start with your skills section followed by a shorter employment history section.

The skills section for a graphic designer will be important as employers will want to know what kind of software packages you have used, such as Adobe Creative Suite. This is vital as the company will have specific software packages in place, and therefore, you will need to be experienced in using them.

Feel free to move the format of your CV around based on your level of expertise and the role you are applying for. If you don’t have much experience, you may want to begin with the summary, then the education, then skills and employment (or experience) after. If you have been employed before and have a good level of experience, this section should always be after the summary.

CV summary example: your story begins

Your CV tells your own story — your life so far and you want to make it as interesting to the reader as possible. It starts with the summary, which is where you state your level of expertise and why you are the right person for the job. You shouldn’t use ‘I’ or your name to describe what you did, just stick to detailing the action.

For instance, "Experienced graphic designer with 5 years working in creative agencies" rather than "I am an experienced graphic designer," or "John is an experienced graphic designer."The last two don’t sound right, as you would probably agree!

The summary only needs to be a couple of concise sentences, with the most relevant aspects of your experience and skills. As there is no specific structure to the summary, you might be a bit lost for ideas on where to get started. In this case, we would suggest looking at some of our other CV examples. There are also other relevant CV examples for a more senior role or a more generalist marketing example.

Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet when writing your CV summary. Hiring managers want to hire people that are confident in their abilities, as they want to be able to trust that they can leave the work in your safe and capable hands.

Below, you will find a graphic designer CV example.

Adaptable summary CV example

Experienced Graphic Designer adept in creating powerful visual designs using digital illustrations, images, and typography. Committed to helping clients shape their brand identity through the use of compelling graphic designs. Accustomed to collaborating with other creative professionals to achieve project goals.

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Employment history sample: your journey so far

Following your career summary, you will have your employment history. This would always be in reverse chronological order, which means that you start with your most recent and work your way backward. As your CV sample should only be around two-thirds of a page, you can keep your employment history to around 10 years if it’s going to be too long.

You should state the name of the employer and your job title with bullet points stating your main responsibilities. You don’t need to write every aspect of the role, just stick to the most relevant (especially those that incorporate keywords from the job spec). Action verbs are the most appropriate, for instance, "pitching concepts and marketing materials" and "designing marketing materials."

It is always good to support your employment with any successes, such as working with popular brands or on a specific campaign that the reader might have heard of. Your CV instantly appears more attractive if you can illustrate your abilities. 

You will find a graphic designer employment history sample below.

Graphic designer employment history sample

Graphic Designer at First Run Creative, Nottingham
September 2018 -  Present

  • Worked directly with clients to produce appealing and compelling presentations that
  • engaged target audiences.
  • Utilised extensive knowledge of Keynote, PowerPoint, and Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Brought forth advanced experience working with typography and graphic design principles.
  • Created designs for different screen types and media platforms.
  • Successfully packaged and optimised presentations for ultimate client satisfaction.

 

Graphic Designer at Outlook Media, London
May 2015 - August 2018

  • Developed a strong working knowledge of our client's brand.
  • Worked collaboratively with team members to produce work in an efficient manner.
  • Remained committed to producing quality content in accordance with deadlines.
  • Worked to ensure that client brand standards were upheld.
  • Utilised knowledge of typography, grid systems, and page layout.
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CV skills example: your creative journey

The skills section of a graphic designer CV sample is of the utmost importance. The job spec will state the required skills for the role, and more specifically with a graphic designer role, it will mention the relevant software packages, such as InDesign and Photoshop.

You should also mix up the hard skills with soft skills. For instance, your ability to work well with others, building relationships with clients, and work independently. Creativity is of course important for a graphic designer, and soft skills relating to creativity should also be used here. Make sure you state those skills you have that are necessary and tailor them to the job spec.

Expert tip

Express your creativity in your graphic designer CV
To be successful in a graphic designer role, you need to show your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit on your CV. Graphic designers are expected to be able to bring fresh ideas to the table and will not be afraid to be innovative.

Adaptable skills section CV example
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Digital Photography
  • Graphic Design Principles
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Effective Time Management
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Graphic designer education example

A degree or college diploma is not always necessary to secure a role as a graphic designer. However, it helps if you have had some kind of training, as graphic design can be quite complex. You will need to be trained on specific types of software and any additional courses; even online workshops will also help your CV to stand out. 

Some candidates will work in other creative roles, such as content writer, and will develop their skills to be able to work as a graphic designer. You can take a look at the content CV example as a point of reference if you are in this position, but have the relevant skills to be able to move on to a graphic designer role.

There is no need to stick to a rigid order on your CV if you feel that you don’t have enough experience or if your education is particularly prevalent to the role. Take a look at the possible education section from a graphic designer CV sample.

Adaptable education CV example

Bachelor of Graphic Design at Purchase College , London
September 2011 - May 2015

 

High School Diploma at White Plains High School, London
September 2007 - May 2011

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CV layout and design: making the right impression

Although the content of your CV is, of course, the priority for securing an interview for a graphic designer role, you should also pay close attention to the layout and design. As mentioned early, there is no need to make your CV sample into anything gimmicky, or to think too much about the design of the CV, even if your creative spirit is telling you otherwise.

Hiring managers can find out all they need to know from the content of your CV about your creativity, they don’t need you to go over the top with the design. The important thing is that your CV is clear, concise, and easy to read. There should be headings and bullet points to divide your CV. 

Refrain from adding images (especially those of yourself!), and don’t go crazy with the colours. Less is sometimes more, and this should be the case with your CV. Although as a candidate you might want to believe that hiring managers are pouring over your CV for hours, this is not the case. They don’t have time to spend analysing CVs, they usually just scan them for the key aspects before moving on to the next.

Expert tip

Be aware of the font you use on your CV. This is important as the font you use can be extremely off-putting and can make your document look messy.

A creative CV template can help you strike the right balance between self-expression and professionalism.

Key takeaways for a graphic designer CV

  1. Don’t be over the top or gimmicky with the design. This is not what hiring managers are looking for in CV samples.
  2. Tailor your CV to suit the company you are applying for, and use keywords throughout the CV.
  3. Focus on skills and experience, make sure to mention the software packages you are experienced in.
  4. Use examples where appropriate, including any successful projects you have worked on.
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