Designer CV: Example and How to Write (+Template)

The design of your designer CV shouldn’t turn any heads. A CV is, of course, a designed object, but its design should definitely remain 99% invisible. There’s a completely different way to get your design prowess across to your potential new employer, and it has everything to do with content over form.

 

Let your portfolio be your portfolio and your CV be your CV: a collection of hard facts that summarise what you’ve brought to employers and clients in the past and foreshadow what you’re going to bring them in the future. Objective measures and botttom-line benefits are what impress hiring managers and art directors.

 

This article will show you how to get there, with straightforward instructions and advice as well as designer CV examples and templates all based on real-world, UK-specific scenarios. Think of CV-writing as just another design language. Read on to master all you need to know.

 

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designer CV

 

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Designer CV sample

 

Kayleigh Tomlinson

T: 070 4465 8690

E: tomlinson.kayleigh.b@lcmail.co.uk

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kayleightomlinson

Portfolio: www.tomlinsondesign.co.uk

 

Personal Statement

 

Passionate and flexible designer with 5+ years of experience working with print and digital media across a range of industries and niches. Recently modernised and partially automated typography processes by integrating deep-learning solutions like the IDEO Font Map and FontJoy for font pairing, saving up to 5-15% on creative workload. Colour proofed, retouched and set up 400–450 pieces of artwork for Screen, DTG and Sublimation printing with spot-on results first time 92% of the time. Looking to leverage on-trend CAD skill set and forward-thinking design ethos as Lead Graphic Designer at MedTechDesign.

 

Work Experience

 

Designer

WaveyWave Design, Manchester

May 2017—present

  • Worked closely with subcontracted web developer on redesign of homepage, banners, product pages, and social feed, logged over 40 hrs of successful collaboration in 2 months.
  • Revised the work of previous designers, making sure that designs meet guidelines and are consistent across formats, then put procedures into place that have reduced the need for such revision by at least 40%.
  • Developed a graphics register for each project and adhered to document naming conventions across almost 80 complex products.
  • Led the design of exhibition stands and display panels in-house, for a net saving of approximately £5,000 p.a. compared to outsourcing.

 

Junior Graphic Designer

Butler & Totes, Leeds

January 2016—April 2017

  • Created over 65 completely bespoke business card designs (27 of which included logo design) using Illustrator and InDesign.
  • Dealt directly and independently with 40 clients with 28 accepting the first proposal and 12 accepting the second approach, for a combined revenue of just over £9,000.
  • Combined graphic design with written word to create 3 engaging e-books in InDesign
  • Modernised 14 modules of digital learning materials using QuarkXpress (in which they’d originally been prepared), saving the client over £600 on having to have them remade from scratch.
  • Complied with document management and version control protocols while working with over 2,000 visual assets and over 500 documents.

 

Education

 

BA (Hons) Design (2:1), 2011–2015

Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester

(Including one-year placement with Butler & Totes)

 

A-levels: Art & Design, Digital Media & Design, Computing, 2009–2011

Tweedly High School, Bradford

 

8 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English), 2007–2009

Tweedly High School, Bradford

 

Skills

 

  • CMSs: comfortable with the basic functions of CMS solutions such as WordPress and Joomla.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: proficient in the use of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, familiar with much of the Adobe ecosystem. 
  • Software solutions outside of the Adobe ecosystem: highly experienced in using CorelDRAW, QuarkXpress, Google Sketchup, IDEO Font Map, FontJoy, and many other tools.
  • Time management skills: able to balance work on several projects simultaneously, experienced with working in an Agile PM setting.
  • Business understanding: demonstrated professional approach to time, costs and deadlines and an awareness of the competitive business environment in which the company works.
  • Strong communication skills: able to liaise with clients to ensure full design satisfaction, liaise with external and internal stakeholders to ensure deadlines are met, and present finalised ideas and concepts to clients and/or account managers.

 

Languages

 

  • Italian – advanced
  • Spanish – upper-intermediate

 

Awards

 

  • Runner-up, 15-Second Horror Shorts, West Yorkshire, 2014
  • Leeds Trinity Young Artist of the Year Award, 2012

 

Now you know what a CV should look like. Here’s how to write your own:

 

1. Draft a personal statement and put it at the top of your designer CV

 

Your CV personal statement is where you introduce yourself as a designer, show your potential new employer what you bring to the table, and describe your professional goals (which just happen to coincide with the company’s business goals). It’s also the perfect place to drop a second link to your portfolio.

 

Use 3–4 sentences total to cover the following points:

  • What kind of designer are you? How many years’ experience and in what areas?
  • What’s the work achievement or skill you’re most proud of?
  • Have another achievement or skill to mention? What about an award? (Optional.)
  • What do you hope to achieve for your employer? How?

 

You should end up with 50–150 words, no more. Be sure to:

  • Mention the name of the company
  • Mention the name of the position (as it appears in the advert)
  • Use keywords from the advert wherever possible, without sounding weird.

 

Your all-important portfolio link should either go with your contact details or in-text here in your personal statement. Potentially both, if you can hyperlink part of your personal statement without affecting its readability.

 

Your designer CV might be filtered by an ATS (Applicant Tracking System), so it’s doubly important to include keywords from the advert. Research has shown that as many as 90% of companies use ATSs and that as few as 25% of applications make it through the filtering process. Don’t overdo it, though.

 

As you can see, your personal statement goes first in your designer CV, but it’s best written last. It’ll be much easier to write once you’ve got your skills and achievements prepared (that's why it is also called a CV summary). So keep it in the back of your mind for now and come back to it when you’re ready.

 

Designer CV personal statement example

 

Passionate and flexible designer with 5+ years of experience working with print and digital media across a range of industries and niches. Recently modernised and partially automated typography processes by integrating deep-learning solutions like the IDEO Font Map and FontJoy for font pairing, saving up to 5-15% on creative workload. Colour proofed, retouched and set up 400–450 pieces of artwork for Screen, DTG and Sublimation printing with spot-on results first time 92% of the time. Looking to leverage on-trend CAD skill set and forward-thinking design ethos as Lead Graphic Designer at MedTechDesign.

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

2. Craft a work experience section for your designer CV

 

There are two main formats that you can use to structure you designer CV:

  • Chronological
  • Functional or skills-based

 

Luckily, choosing the right one is easy. Have you worked mostly for one company at a time, on a full-time contract or equivalent? If so, then you should use a chronological format and read on.

 

If you’ve been freelancing, self-employed, or generally bouncing from gig to gig for any reason, then a functional format is the right one for you. A functional or skills-based format will put more emphasis on your skill sets and only briefly delve into your employment history.

 

A skills-based CV will have a more detailed skills section here. The work experience section will go next and be drastically shorter than a chronological one, omitting achievements entirely. There’ll then be an education section and additional skills section, before continuing on to the additional sections.

 

Assuming you’re pushing on with a chronological format, you’ll now need to list your job descriptions starting from the most recent and working your way back from there. This is the most common order. It’s what hiring managers and art directors are used to seeing and it’s more easily parsed by an ATS.

 

Use the following template to make a subheading for each job description in your designer CV:

 

[Job Title]

[Company Name, Location]

[Dates of Employment]

 

Include up to six bullet points under each job description. Don’t list your duties and responsibilities. Do focus on achievements. Quantify absolutely everything you can and show what benefits you brought to your previous employers. Use accomplishment statements for your bullet points.

 

Writing a junior graphic designer CV or some other entry-level designer CV? If you have no work experience to speak of, focus on any internships, placement work, and volunteer work you’ve done. Move this section to after your education section and consider writing a student CV instead.

 

Designer CV job description examples

 

Designer

WaveyWave Design, Manchester

May 2017—present

  • Worked closely with subcontracted web developer on redesign of homepage, banners, product pages, and social feed, logged over 40 hrs of successful collaboration in 2 months.
  • Revised the work of previous designers, making sure that designs meet guidelines and are consistent across formats, then put procedures into place that have reduced the need for such revision by at least 40%.
  • Developed a graphics register for each project and adhered to document naming conventions across almost 80 complex products.
  • Led the design of exhibition stands and display panels in-house, for a net saving of approximately £5,000 p.a. compared to outsourcing.

 

Junior Graphic Designer

Butler & Totes, Leeds

January 2016—April 2017

  • Created over 65 completely bespoke business card designs (27 of which included logo design) using Illustrator and InDesign.
  • Dealt directly and independently with 40 clients with 28 accepting the first proposal and 12 accepting the second approach, for a combined revenue of just over £9,000.
  • Combined graphic design with written word to create 3 engaging e-books in InDesign
  • Modernised 14 modules of digital learning materials using QuarkXpress (in which they’d originally been prepared), saving the client over £600 on having to have them remade from scratch.
  • Complied with document management and version control protocols while working with over 2,000 visual assets and over 500 documents.

 

3. Sketch out your educational background

 

Getting the right education is a big part of becoming a designer. When listing university degrees, include the name of each degree, it’s class, the years you attended (with an expected graduation date if you’re still studying), and the name of the institution and its location.

 

If you have a degree and some work experience, then you can leave your high school education off your designer CV. If you do need to include it, then list all of your A-levels by subject, the years during which you studied them, the name of the school and its location.

 

For GCSEs simply state how many you completed, the years over which you completed them, the name of the school and its location. It’s a good idea to mention Mathematics and English when stating how many GCSEs you’ve completed.

 

If you lack work experience, you may want to add bullet points here to highlight your achievements or areas of excellence while studying, including any projects, competitions, awards, and so on.

 

Designer CV education section example

 

BA (Hons) Design (2:1), 2011–2015

Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester

(Including one-year placement with Butler & Totes)

 

A-levels: Art & Design, Digital Media & Design, Computing, 2009–2011

Tweedly High School, Bradford

 

8 GCSEs (including Mathematics and English), 2007–2009

Tweedly High School, Bradford

 

4. Showcase your design skills in your designer CV

 

It’s not always obvious from the outside what design skills you learned during your studies or what skills it took to get a particular achievement at work. This is why it’s important to list your key skills and to show that they at least cover what is required in the job advert.

 

Start by making a list of your hard and soft skills. Pair each skill with a sentence that describes how and when you demonstrated that skill (or skill set). Be specific and quantify whatever you can. Save this list—it’ll come in handy for your personal statement and cover letter, in this and future job applications.

 

Re-read the job advert and pick 5–10 skills from your list. Drop them into your CV and your skills section is sorted. Use the master list you created to tailor your skills selection to each advert. Pay attention to keywords used in the advert and include them in your design skills list wherever possible.

 

Aim for a healthy mix of hard, soft, and IT skills.

 

Graphic designer CV skills

 

  • CMSs: comfortable with the basic functions of CMS solutions such as WordPress and Joomla.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: proficient in the use of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, familiar with much of the Adobe ecosystem. 
  • Software solutions outside of the Adobe ecosystem: highly experienced in using CorelDRAW, QuarkXpress, Google Sketchup, IDEO Font Map, FontJoy, and many other tools.
  • Time management skills: able to balance work on several projects simultaneously, experienced with working in an Agile PM setting.
  • Business understanding: demonstrated professional approach to time, costs and deadlines and an awareness of the competitive business environment in which the company works.
  • Strong communication skills: able to liaise with clients to ensure full design satisfaction, liaise with external and internal stakeholders to ensure deadlines are met, and present finalised ideas and concepts to clients and/or account managers.

 

5. Blend additional sections into your designer CV

 

Your CV is supposed to paint a portrait of you as a designer and an employee. Use extra sections in your designer CV to help fill in some missing details. Include certifications, awards, languages, even hobbies and interests. Adding extra sections can make a bigger difference than many people realise (just remember not to list references on your CV as it's an old-fashioned practice).

 

Designer CV extra sections sample

 

Languages

 

  • Italian – advanced
  • Spanish – upper-intermediate

 

Awards

 

  • Runner-up, 15-Second Horror Shorts, West Yorkshire, 2014
  • Leeds Trinity Young Artist of the Year Award, 2012

 

6. Write a designer cover letter to go with your CV

 

Unless you’ve been specifically instructed not to, you really should include a graphic design cover letter with your CV. A job application is still generally considered to be a single document in two parts: a cover letter and a CV.

 

Start off with the right cover letter format:

  • A properly laid-out header
  • An appropriate salutation
  • A strong cover letter opening
  • A main paragraph or paragraphs showcasing your achievements
  • A neat wrap-up and all-important CTA
  • The correct sign off.

 

When it comes to cover letter length, aim to end up with 200–350 words in total. That’s between half and a single A4 page. Having prepared your designer CV job descriptions and skills list, you’re already halfway there.

 

7. Keep these formatting considerations in mind

 

No one’s going to lecture you on the use of white space or which CV fonts to use, but there are a few of things quite specific to CV writing that you should keep in mind:

  • Easy legibility and predictable layout are the names of the game here—stick to an aesthetic of understated, professional elegance and very clear CV layout.
  • If you're going to use a creative CV template, make sure it's ATS-friendly.
  • Pay attention to file format requirements—follow instructions religiously and of course default to PDF in their absence.

 

How long should a CV be? If you're a junior designer, a one-page CV should be enough. For more experienced designers, two pages are fine.

 

Proofread and spellcheck your designer CV and cover letter. Use any of the apps, web apps, or programmes out there that can help you with spelling and grammar. Get a second pair of eyes on both documents before clicking send.

 

One final piece of advice: follow up if you haven’t heard back after a week. A quick phone call or email lets them know you’re invested in this application.

 

And that's it! Now you know what to include in your CV.

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

Is there anything you’d like more information on? Was this guide helpful to you? Do you now know how to write a designer CV? Are you a freelancer or employed full time? Let us know and leave any other comments or questions below.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team
LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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