A Guide to creating a great resume for a career in web design or web development.
Want to get a job in IT, web design, web development or some type of marketing or social media related job? Then get a domain and start your own website or blog. That’s one of the things I look for first and is incredibly valuable in ascertaining the skill level and comptency of a potential hire.
Here’s some very useful tips for creating a great resume and maximizing your chances for getting a job. I’m writing this, in part, because of the sheer amount of really bad resumes I’ve received over the past few months for the positions I have been trying to fill at my job at iS3. First off, let’s explain what a resume is supposed to convey. A resume is a concise, direct way of presenting an employer with specific reasons why you should be hired. It’s not just a list of accomplishments, work history or compentencies. It’s a reflection of your skills, talent, work ethic, aptitude and most importantly, ability to work within a team and successful fullfill your duties as a web designer or developer.
You want to use a resume to tell a potential employer “Hey, I’m the best qualified individual for this job” How many can look at their current resume and really say, in all honesty, that’s its good enough for the job? Better than anyone else’s? Few can, if they are honest.
Most of the resumes I have received as simply half-assed attempts. They are filled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, irrelevant information and an utter disregard for the person who is actually reading the resumes: the employer.
For web designers your resume should be an extension of your capabilities . It should be a representation of your talents. It should be a showcase, a shining example. So many times I see that this is not the case. I’ve received dozens and dozens of resumes with little appeal and nothing that really spoke of the sender’s skill level or talent. From these resumes I’ve come up with a list of DO’s and DON’Ts that web designers and developers should follow.
To create a good web design or web developer resume, DO the following:
- DO include links to portfolio examples
- DO spell check your resume and make sure it is error free and has proper grammar
- DO tailor your resume to the job you are submitting. If the job you are submitting for involves a lot of print related work, make sure your resume reflects your print experience and expertise.
- DO thouroughly read the job description and before sending your resume ask “Am I qualified for this position?”. Too many of the resumes I receive are from individuals with no prior experience in web design or development and the job description I use clearly states prior experience is a necessity. If you don’t have the experience required do everyone a favor and don’t send your resume.
- DO only make your resume 1 page. Employers will very rarely read through more than a page or two and you should be able to succinctly convey your competency and experience with just one page.
- Including portfolio examples in your resume? Then please make sure the websites you are linking to are still active. The best thing you can do is link not a website you have control over and can emulate the client sites you’ve worked on or created. If that means you copy and paste them on your own site (with noindex/nofollow set of course) then do it. If not, then link to your portfolio examples on your own website so an employer can get an idea of the website you worked on in case the website is no longer live.
- DO make your resume a pdf file.
- DO include trending design elements in your resume. QR codes are the rage. Including one in your resume or social networks like Dribbble into your resume show an employer you are up on trends.
DON’T do the following:
- Don’t send canned resumes. Tailor your resume for each job you apply for. Trust me, this can make a big difference between getting a phone call for an interview and having your resume to straight to the recycle bin.
- DON’T include work history from 15 years ago. It’s nice but is very likely not to be relevant today given the amount that the industry and requirements have changed over just a few short years.
- DON’T send a resume named “resume”. Use your name as part of the naming structure for the resume file.
- DON’T include jobs or duties not related in some way to the job you are applying for (i.e. I have seen a lot of applicants listing work history that includes real estate sales, retail management and even Starbucks Barista)
- DON’T submit your resume to an employer more than once. You’d be surprised how many resumes I get for jobs that are from people who have already sent me resumes for the same position. I keep all the resumes in a folder and usually very easily can see duplicate resumes.
- DON’T send a resume or job application and put “references available upon request”. You’re a qualified, experienced applicant, right? You’ve worked with others in a team environment? Then include those names and email address or exclude reference completely. If references are required, trust me when I tell you an employer will tell you to supply them with references.
- DON’T steal from others. You’d be surprised of the percentage of people who do this. I routinely see portfolio examples that are results of online tutorials or have been “borrowed” from other designers or purchased off a network like the Envato network. Be original and showcase your own work. If you don’t have enough examples you feel you can use in a resume then you probably aren’t qualified.
- DON’T apply for a web design/developer related job and have a Flash based portfolio or website. Flash is fine as elements on a website but whole websites or portfolios should not be built in Flash. If you’re determined to only use Flash, then go ahead and throw in some Comic Sans for all your text cause you’re not going to get hired anyway.
- DON’T list skills or technical proficiencies that include Word, Windows XP, Mac OSx, or Outlook. Only list the profiencies related specifically to the job you are applying for. No employer cares to read that you are an expert in Hotmail or that you that you can setup any kind of POP or IMAP email accounts in Outlook an employer needs. That’s not relevant to the position you are likely applying for.
- DON’T apply for a position in a different city or state you live in. You may want to move or it may be your dream to move to another city for a great job but very few employers offer relocation and typically an employer will include in the job description whether relocation is offered or not.
Employers aren’t dumb. They know exactly what you are looking for and as a job applicant, it is your responsibility to know what that is and provide it easily and in the proper format. As an employer I will look you up online. I will search out portfolio examples you might have. If you have a personal website (and I highly recommend you do if you are ever going to get a real job as a web designer or web developer) then please make sure it is as error free as possible. So, please thoroughly read every job description before you apply and follow the Do’s and Dont’s.
I hope this helps job seekers better understand what a resume should be. Good luck and I hope you get a great job.