There’s more to showcasing design skills on your job application than simply handing in a well-designed resume. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are creative, versatile, and skilled in their area of expertise.
So, how do you prove all that with a single piece of paper? Keep scrolling for:
- Sample creativity and design bullet points for different industries
- Essential hard skills that highlight creativity
- Design-focused action verbs to illustrate soft skills
- How to format your design resume
- Tried and tested examples from real design resumes
Let's dive right in!
How to say you’re creative on a resume
- Start with the job description. Think about what kind of design skills are needed for the role — print, digital, branding, creative direction, etc.
- Do some background research on the company. Try to get a feel for their corporate brand, style, and creative direction.
- Prepare a digital portfolio. This doesn’t need to include every piece you’ve ever completed — limit it to your best and most relevant work.
- Link to your portfolio in your resume header. You can also highlight selected projects in a separate projects section.
- Include 3-6 bullet points for each job in your work experience section, focusing on accomplishments that reflect responsibilities listed in the job ad.
- Focus on the impact of your work, not just the work itself. Use concrete metrics like revenue generated, time saved, and number of projects completed.
- Stick to a clean, simple resume template. The best place to show off your creativity is in your portfolio — not in your resume itself.
Here are examples of some of our favorite bullet points we've seen on resumes for emphasizing your design skills and creativity.
Bullet points to highlight design skills
Your work experience section is the most essential part of your resume and the part that hiring managers pay the most attention to. Here are some examples of bullet points that show your creativity and design skills in action:
- Conceptualized, designed, and developed marketing pages and custom features of e-commerce website, directly contributed to over 140% increase in revenue year over year.
- Designed custom email templates for monthly newsletters and marketing emails, Improved click through rate by 150%.
- Used Google Analytics to track and increase the success of websites by 15%.
- Conducted 25+ user-testing focus groups leading to 3 new product features in 6 months.
- Led application design sessions with client teams on 20+ projects to develop functional and technical requirements.
UX / UI design
- Revamped website flows and navigation menus, reducing the frequency of misdirected customer service queries by 30% and increasing traffic to previously neglected pages.
- Conducted evaluative testing with 10+ participants using InVision and UserTesting.com; synthesized and designed against findings which reduced bounce rate for primary user flow by 30%.
Branding and advertising
- Created 20+ advertisements for theaters and restaurants for use in print and online advertising.
- Designed and developed branding for 50+ companies, creating logo designs, business cards, stationery, marketing materials, websites, imagery layouts, and electronic books to acquire business productivity/growth.
- Created 10+ graphics, slide templates, and PPT materials for meetings and appropriate mock-ups for clients.
- Planned, created, and developed 20+ graphic materials for conferences, including signages, tent cards, name badges, various handouts, gifts, email and form headers, microsites, flyers, t-shirts, and other program books.
- Created over 500 game character models with the character effects team requirements.
- Expertly manipulated game characters to interact with the digital environment using Maya.
Film and photography
- Photographed 20+ clients for headshots, holiday cards, and glamor shots.
- Assisted in production of over 50 films and 10 web series throughout the period of 5 years in a variety of roles including production, art design, camera assistance, lighting and script assistance.
- Designed and merchandised 100 styles, 4 seasons per year, using knits, linens, and wovens.
- Created marketing campaigns for 16+ lookbooks, 31+ website updates, 15 monthly newsletters, and collection launches in the first month.
Architecture and interior design
- Created detailed landscape designs for 14 commercial properties, including
23 outdoor seating areas and 120 signages, increasing customer engagement by 39%.
- Guided 200+ clients through the kitchen design process, from on-site measurements and design revisions.
- Created and designed three brand expansions in 2 years.
- Directed and managed 15 assistant designers, graphic designers, and product development staff.
- Strategically oversaw the daily graphic design content from concept to the finished project, regularly working on graphic, layout, and production materials, gaining a 100% success rate on all projects and deliverables.
- Received the 2017 Standout Award for designs that secured a $250,000 contract with an international client.
- Scheduled 10+ meetings per month with clients to discuss project progress and review samples.
- Attended 5+ conferences to maintain brand awareness and industry design trends.
- Monitored the progress on projects and met 100% compliance to publisher standards and schedule.
Essential hard skills for your resume that highlight your creativity and design
Design skills fall into a few different categories. Always check the job ad for details of exactly what skills the position requires, but in general, here are some of the most in demand:
General design skills
- Font Selection
- Design Strategy
- Concept Art
- Color Theory
- Background Drawing
- Web Design
- Front-end Development
- User Experience (UX)
- User Interface Design
- Video Production
- Video Editing
- Fashion Design
- Interior Design
- Motion Graphics
- After Effects
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Affinity Designer
- Brand Development
- Corporate Identity
- Logo Design
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Digital Marketing
- Google Analytics
- Social Media
- Packaging Design
- Art Direction
- Film Direction
- Design Thinking
- User-centered Design
- Service Design
- Design Research
An easy way to check if you’ve shown hiring managers your design and creative skills is to upload your resume to the tool below- It’ll tell you if your resume highlights the right hard and soft skills that showcase your creativity and design skills.
Don't list soft skills; use design-focused action verbs instead
Unlike the hard skills listed above, you can’t list skills like creativity or imagination in your skills section. Instead, use your work experience section to point to examples of when you’ve used those skills in the workplace. Try starting your accomplishments with action verbs like:
How to format your design resume (or, when it's okay to get creative)
The best way to show off your design skills is to create an eye-catching, unique, design-heavy resume, right?
Wrong. A simple resume format is always your best option, even if you're applying for creative roles. But if you're itching to show off your design expertise, here's where it's okay to get a little creative with your resume format — and where it isn't.
Be creative with these elements
Choose a font that reflects your style — but make sure you stick to the standard (pre-installed) options. Downloaded fonts won't always appear correctly on other computers, and hiring managers can't be impressed by your resume if it doesn't make it past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
Use white space liberally. Not only does it look visually appealing, it also makes your resume much easier to skim.
Make your section titles stand out. Bold, italics, underline, section breaks, and capitals are all good ways of doing this.
Reflect your personal branding. Using a resume template that reflects your personal style or incorporating a small element that makes you stand out can be a simple but powerful way to give recruiters a sense of your approach to design.
Go easy on these elements
Use color in limited amounts. Choosing a single color for your section titles or resume header is fine, but keep in mind that this formatting may be stripped by ATS.
Using columns is fine. While a single-column layout is more traditional, 2-column resumes are still perfectly acceptable, even to the most traditional recruiters. Just steer clear of using tables to organize your resume, since this doesn't always translate well across different file types.
Stay traditional with these elements
Avoid images, infographics, and other non-text elements. These can't be read by ATS and are harder to skim.
Don't give in to gimmicks. Presenting your resume via a QR code, as a solvable puzzle, or on a t-shirt might all seem like cool ideas, but hiring managers don't want to be entertained by your resume — they want to be able to read it.
List your work experience in chronological order, with your most recent position at the top. Functional or simplified resumes may look cool, but they obfuscate the most important part of your resume — your work experience.
Save your resume as a PDF. This is especially critical if you've incorporated any "extra" design elements, since it preserves your formatting and ensures that your resume looks the same to a recruiter as it does to you.
Design-focused resume templates
Ready to get started? Here are some examples from real design resumes handpicked by recruiters.
Listing creativity and design skills on your resume
Don’t try to pack too much into your skills section — stick to 10-15 of the most relevant skills (matching your industry or the job description). If you have a lot of different skills, use subheadings to keep them organized and make your resume easier to skim.
Here’s a sample skills section for a graphic designer resume that you can copy and paste:
- Techniques: MS Project, Digital Design, Website Graphics, Visual Design
- Technical Skills / Software: Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft 365, PC and Mac Platforms
- Certifications: Graphic Designer Bootcamp (2016), Passed Resume Worded examinations
If you’re not sure what skills to include in your skills section, search for the job using the tool below and it’ll instantly give you a list of creative and design skills relevant to the role. For example, you can search for Graphic Designer to get skills that hiring managers in the graphic design industry want to see.
Using metrics to highlight your work
Including numbers, metrics, or other concrete results in your bullet points is the best way to highlight what you actually accomplished — it tells the hiring manager how good you are (so you don't have to).
Linking a digital portfolio
You can link to your portfolio:
- In your resume header
- In a separate projects section
- On your LinkedIn profile
Highlighting creative projects
If you lack traditional work experience in a specific design area, it's easier than you think to make up for that. Including one or two personal or academic projects in a resume projects section shows recruiters what you can do and emphasizes that you're committed to this particular career path.
Tailoring your resume and portfolio
You should tailor your resume for any position, but for design roles, it’s especially important to research the company you’re applying to beforehand. Take some time to get a sense of their house style, brand, and direction, and curate your portfolio to showcase a few of your most relevant samples.
For more advice on how to personalize your resume, you can upload your resume and a copy of the job description to Targeted Resume. The free AI-powered program will then analyze the posting and identify any key skills missing from your resume.
If nothing else, keep in mind these do’s and don’ts for resumes that need to showcase creativity and design skills.
- Highlight design accomplishments and soft skills in your bullet points
- List technical skills in your skills section
- Include a link to a portfolio that showcases your work
- Add any design-related degrees or short courses to your education section
- Mention any relevant awards, projects, or other activities
- Write a graphic designer resume summary
- Tailor your resume for each company you apply to
- Get too creative with your resume itself — it should be well-designed but simple