In a previous article, I exposed what a resume is, its main goal, and some general tips to consider when designing it.
In summary, the goal is to call the recruiter’s attention to pass the interview process and, as a result, get the “dream job.” A 2018 study found that recruiters take an average of 7.4 seconds to read your curriculum.
In this article, I will go into more detail about what should go in each section and how to do it. Let’s start!
What should a resume include?
Everything should start with the information recruiters will read first. This will be your name and last name, position, contact information such as your email, phone number, and links to your portfolio and LinkedIn.
You can add the logo if you have a personal brand related to your design work. Remember that if you do so, it should be consistent with everything related to your design work, such as your portfolio.
Should I include a photo? In many countries, it’s not a requirement, and you should avoid it to prevent discrimination based on appearance. However, it depends on the country. While no laws in the United States explicitly forbid including a photo on your resume, it is widely discouraged. This discouragement is because employers prefer to evaluate candidates based on their qualifications, skills, and experience rather than their physical appearance.
Summary and/or Professional Objectives
Write a short paragraph as your pitch highlighting your professional objectives, areas of expertise, achievements, interests, and/or skills in no more than 3–4 lines. It can be one or all, depending on how much you want to elaborate. The idea is to create an invitation for the person reading your resume to get to know you better and become interested in you as a potential employee for their company.
Write about your work experience related to the position you’re applying for here. If you don’t have much experience in this specific field but do in another, you have two options:
- Only include it if it relates to the position you’re applying for.
- Analyze how to relate it to the new role. For example, suppose you’re applying for a UX Research position that involves user research, and your background is in Sociology. In that case, you can find ways to connect your research experience to the requirements of UX Research. This shows that you have transferable skills and knowledge.
Remember that every case is unique, and this approach is typically for junior roles until you gain more relevant experience. It’s crucial to align your existing experience with the new position you’re seeking. If there’s no common ground, omitting it from your resume is better.
The order should be chronological, with your most recent role listed first. For each role, provide the following details:
- Job title.
- Company name.
- Work mode, such as remote or in-person, and if it’s your most recent role, mention the city/country.
- Employment timeline, including the month and year.
- Describe the projects you worked on, your responsibilities, and your achievements. Include success metrics. Keep each role to at most 4 descriptions to maintain a concise resume.
Avoid listing responsibilities you didn’t have. They’ll notice during the application process.
In this section, you should list your education related to design. The order can be from the highest academic degree to the most recent or from most recent to oldest.
If you’ve studied something unrelated to this field and it can be linked to the job, as I explained with the previous example in the work experience section, you could justify it; otherwise, don’t include it.
With certificates, you can demonstrate that you’ve been proactive, showing interest in learning and personal growth. Selecting the most important ones for your resume is best, and you can add the rest to your LinkedIn profile. It’s ideal to follow the format of where and what you studied and the study period (month and year) to maintain consistency in the information within your resume.
Include a section where you can mention your ‘hard and soft skills’ related to design. Hard skills refer to technical competencies, such as methodologies, tools you’ve used, design processes, etc. For example, User Experience, Prototyping, User Research, Figma, Sketch, Agile Methodology, etc. Add the ones you’re currently using and remove any software or tools that are no longer relevant, as they won’t contribute to your information, and your resume will appear outdated.
Soft skills are more about interpersonal relationships and your work approach. For example: Collaboration, Leadership, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Adaptability, etc.
Another point is that progress bars, points, or filled stars don’t reflect your skill level effectively. How will the recruiter know what you meant with 4 stars out of 7? It’s better to stick with the basics and describe your skills as basic, intermediate, or advanced if necessary.
It’s a good idea to mention the languages you speak. If necessary, similar to skills, you can specify if you have a basic, intermediate, or advanced level. You can also include scores from any recognized language proficiency tests you’ve taken, but it’s not mandatory.
Some companies value whether you have volunteered or whether it’s related to the position you’re applying for. This speaks to your commitment, teamwork, empathy, vocation, etc.
Volunteer work allows you to develop skills in specific areas. If you need work experience, this can be a great way to show that you’re a proactive person looking for ways to gain the required experience. Whether or not you include this information is up to you.
If you include it, provide the organization’s name, the role you performed, the period you volunteered, and describe the responsibilities or what you learned from the experience.
Remember to include keywords in your resume, but be careful! The idea is to have them only if you possess those skills.
What are keywords? They are terms, like the ones I mentioned in the skills section, related to a specific area. They help identify whether you have experience in a particular topic (at least on paper, as they might put it to the test later on). As I mentioned in part I, these keywords can appear in different sections of your resume, but always in context.
What do these keywords help with? They help recruiters or ATS (Applicant Tracking Software), which I mentioned in part I, make a match with the company’s job requirements and call you for the interview process.
I hope you find the articles on creating a resume, parts I and II, helpful to stand out in your job search. Good luck!