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? Here’s where to start:
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.
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%.
- Revamped website flows and navigation menus, reducing the frequency of misdirected customer service queries by 30% and increasing traffic to previously neglected pages.
- Used Google Analytics to track and increase the success of websites by 15%.
- Created and designed three brand expansions in 2 years.
- 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.
- Guided 200+ clients through the kitchen design process, from on-site measurements and design revisions.
- Received the 2017 Standout Award for designs that secured a $250,000 contract with an international client.
- Directed and managed 15 assistant designers, graphic designers, and product development staff.
- Strategically created and developed high-quality 3D models of 20 game settings in Revit.
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.
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.
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
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.
Example of creative skills for a design-focused 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.
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.
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
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:
Tips for linking a digital portfolio
You can link to your portfolio:
- In your resume header
- In a separate projects section
- On your LinkedIn profile
Tailor your resume and portfolio
The same can be said of 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.