Critique my 2018 resume

Just finished this up after a few weeks of working on it. Please be gentle… unless you’ve got a good critique.

What are your thoughts on having a photo of yourself? (current pic is stand-in till I can get a new one taken)


Just a few things I noticed right off the bat:

I would remove the profile picture. A resume is not the place to have a profile pic.

There is a lot going on with the elements and background picture, it creates some unnecessary chaos making it difficult to focus on your actual qualifications. Additionally, the picture may not be ideal for printing and some companies may want to print off your resume to have on file.

It’s been said many times before on this forum (or I guess the old one…) but it is never a good idea to rate yourself. Stars, bar graphs, percentages; whatever the case may be, you don’t want to give someone the idea that you are less skilled in something they deem important.

On last thing is your work experience should be the highlight of you resume, not placed in the lower third of the document. Also, I do not know how long you were in each position. Were you a graphic designer for BenchCraft Co for one year and then unemployed for two years after that? I would put the to and from months with years, similar to how Linkedin shows working history.

Hope this helps!


Sorry Nate, but for my money, this is mostly a miss. Reasons:

Not machine-scan friendly (not that I’m a fan of that screening method, but it has become a fact of job-hunt life)
Self-rating “proficiency” levels is nearly always a mistake (compounded by the apparent ‘pattern’ of color in the dead end of the graph bars—no data-related meaning; no place in graph)
Typographic mixed bag
No mention of specific achievements or benefits to past/present employers (this has actually become the most important part of a resume; communicates employers’ ROI in you)
Risky to include your “interests,” (in the cold world as it is, your outside interests represent risks taken in hiring you)
The picture is okay (you look good), but strictly superfluous, no matter how good


Here’s my opinion, which sometimes doesn’t match up with everyone else’s. I am, however, someone who looks at quite a few job applicant resumes.

First, it looks nice, and if you actually give it to someone who likes that look, it will work in your favor. On the other hand, a job applicant’s first impression is often a resume and despite how versatile you might be, this very strong design in a stack of other resumes is what will stick in an art director’s head as representing you and your style. If you’re okay with standing out and hoping that the person responds to this particular style, great. If not, you might want to go with something a little more neutral.

I have a similar response to the bar charts on your skills. If you really want to send a signal that you’re not as good as the next person who rated themselves higher on their self-assessed bar charts, well, go for it. I know they make graphically interesting additions to a resume, but I’d be inclined not to use them for the reason I just mentioned. Besides, a resume is no place to say you sort of suck at something.

I like to see a person’s photo on a resume. It’s always nice to associate a real person with the words. People always gravitate to photos of faces, and it becomes just one more sticky item on your resume for people to remember. Also people, fairly or not, make judgments based on portrait photos, for better or worse. Now if you looked like a mule with half your front teeth missing, I might suggest leaving it off, but that’s not the case.

A lot depends on where you apply. If it’s at a mid- to-large corporation, that resume is going to be scanned by the machine at the Human Resources department and converted into text. That text will then be scanned by software looking for key words that enables the HR department to rank you according to whatever criteria was mentioned for the job. The whole thing is largely automated, and honestly, your resume’s not going to come out very well on the other side of an OCR software application.

In other words, this is the resume you take with you once you get the interview. It’s not the resume you send in with the application if there’s a chance it’ll head to a disinterested HR employee drinking his or her morning coffee and going through a tall stack of resumes while chatting with the person in the next cubicle about what’s on television that night. For that scenario, you need a straight-forward, highly legible, highly readable and comprehensive resume that leaves nothing to chance and ensures that you’ll land near the top of that software-generated ranking of applicants that gets sent to the creative director.

Personally, I like the look of your resume very much, and if it landed on my desk, I’d set it right on top of the keep pile instead of in the “round” file sitting at the side of my desk that’s emptied by the janitorial staff once each day.

However, you might get a very different response from the marketing director at a bank, an insurance company or from the two people above me in this thread (whose opinions I greatly respect) if they got your resume. Then again, maybe you don’t want to work in those kinds of places or those two guys. :wink:


Who are you sending this to? This will be a key factor in whether this is a pass or a fail.

Your work experience should show start/finish dates or at least month/years worked in position.

The graph portion takes up too much space.

Are you omitting a phone number on purpose? Some people like to phone for an interview. You can blur it out for posting online here of course, but I would seriously considering having a phone number on there.

I definitely notice this part lacking. Unfortunately both BCC and my current employer are sales offices, not art offices, so there’s no real development in the designers ROI or at least none that has been noticeable i.e. increased sales off this ad/logo.

My most valuable asset/ROI would be that I’m great at multitasking and handling difficult clients, have a really good return time and am often used by our customer service for issues they need wrapped up speedily.

Good point on the OCR software, I will definitely include a plain text version as Calebninja had a similar point about the qualifications being hard to read. Your first paragraph was spot on with what I’m trying to go for. I want to make a great first impression, hopefully with the art director being the initial person to see it.

As for my proficiency bars, I guess my reasoning was that I’d like to be as “truthful” as I can. I have worked with designers who have lacked in areas which should’ve been addressed like not taking the time to use layers, using badly cut out images/logos with JPG artifacts when they were a search away on Google or from finding a vector or hi res image.

One thing I feel that could/should be added to contrast the bars is that I’m a pretty quick learner if walked through the steps with good explanation. I know a resume isn’t NOT the place to say I need training but is saying I’m great at all better? Or would you leave off CSS & Web Design as I have been stuck in flat design for the last 3 years but started right after college with a code editing job that I was able to learn and function within very quickly.

Thank you for your responses!

This hasn’t been sent out yet but to design firms in the Portland, probably Seattle, SF, Vancouver area. I’ve got no phone at the moment hence no phone number :confused:

To design firms the design should be OK.

Are you sending these unsolicited? Or in response to ads? Just know that while some people don’t mind receiving unsolicited resumes, others don’t like them.

mostly in response to ads. I’m not the best at writing unsolicited “pieces” so I’m not sure how I would go about opening the door unless I had a reference from someone there.

No, that’s good.

I’ve been reading that a designer has the power to make your eyes travel with a design the way they want the design viewed.

In this case I don’t know where to look first. There are photos, thin lines, thick lines, double lines, gradients, several different fonts, and a layout structure that’s hard to pin down easily. They are all demanding equal amount of attention and all at the same time.

When I first saw the design, what caught my attention was your photo and then the proficiency graphic. For a resume, perhaps the focus should be more on your professional skills and work experience.

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There is always an ROI for every employee, you just need to look harder at how your role impacts the company.

Something that I learned at my previous job (this pertains to interviews but can be used for resumes as well) is the STAR approach.

The STAR approach is a way of explaining your value or successful moments at a company:

ST = What is the situation or task you had to handle?
A = What is the action you took to handle that task?
R = What was the result of your actions?

Since I am in a similar working situation as yourself, I will give you an example from my own experience.

ST: My company’s website was outdated, not user friendly and not fully responsive.
A: I developed an outline for the website to improve the usability of the site. I redesigned the website based on the user feedback from my outline.
R: For the past three years we have seen a significant and consistent increase in our website users. We’ve also seen an increase in online quotes and our sales department has had a increase in their numbers, which you could tie into the website redesign.

Hmm, it is hard to follow. I don’t know where to look first, what direction to take.

I can see you have a decent design approach…aligning and spacing are there, you have a nice left-side strip that is clean. I like the use of color and easy-to-recognize icons.

The background makes this a bit hard to follow. I like having the Behance info, Cargo Collective comes up as a 404 (maybe I am typing something wrong), Facebook….drop that, LinkedIn? (had a similar 404 type page)

Interests. When I was younger I might have added them. I would really hope you had an interest in “Graphic & Creative Design” so, no need to keep that. You also wrote “Reading & Books” do you have books you don’t read? It seems odd to say it that way. Like I like movies and blurays….or I like music and CDs.

I like the paragraph you wrote under Skills…but it might need some work. You wrote “with a demonstrated history of working in the mktg/ad industry.” While that may be true and sound OK…it just reads that you’ve had a job. Not that you are fast, reliable, etc. The next sentence mentions skills/knowledge in Action Sports first…is this marketing for action sports or just, you got mad skills on a board/bike? If the latter, I’d wonder why you start with that rather than with your design stuff.

Proficiency Charts…they look cool but seem to fall flat. They take up space; they are random settings/values with no backing; and usually make you look not quite great at many things. Like I look at it as your Creativity and Teamwork are almost there but not quite.

Work. I agree with Caleb Ninja about getting some numbers ROI results. I used a similar approach for my portfolio but rather than the STAR acronym, I use CAR…Challenge Action Result. Same basic premise. If you don’t have any numbers or ROI type of info, at least write what you did, did you design ads, work with printers, work on digital stuff, code… For my job experience I say what I was there, the dates, the company/location, then 1-2 short sentences what I did, and some bullets to describe the ROI or further details.

As far as a photo…I’ve heard it isn’t preferred but I don’t have a problem with it…just don’t be goofy in it. I have my face on mine (my logo) but that goes with me everywhere on all social/forums/etc.

Right now you have some decent layout decisions and hierarchy…but in sections. As a whole it all competes for attention.

I hope that wasn’t harsh…and this is just my opinion. Like others have said, going to an agency, this would/could be fine. But to a corporation, the HR team might not know how to react. I was re-reading your ROI…the Customer Service speedy service stuff something like that can be great to add somehow. Quick turnaround for increased sales…something.

Looking over my resume I see some stuff I can/should clean up. And I should update it to the company I’ve been at for 5 years now

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Perfect, thank you, with it broken down like that I actually have a perfect situation.
ST= started at my company and they were lacking any sort of tracking system in their Google sheets, of which there were 300+ at the time. I figured out a master page for the art deptartment to track all the current status’ of art that was on any restaurant. All I have to do is link it and it live updates when info is input in the sheet. I’ve got formulas for when things are sent, how many are missing on each sheet and the exporting progress. When I started no one had previously thought of this idea.
A= I helped spread the code around the existing sheets as well as streamlined the master sheet that got duplicated for each new account. I’m currently responsible for keeping the master sheet linked with the new accounts that we’ll be shipping as they come up on the board.
R= Now we’ve got an extremely easy and convenient procedure for keeping track of our customers and what accounts they’re on and the progress of those accounts.

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This sounds more like the accomplishment of an administrator, not a designer.

At some point, people are going to ask to see your portfolio. Use examples from that to highlight some of your accomplishments.

Did you run client meetings? Did you communicate directly with printers? Were you in charge of any designs from start-to-finish? Your top part says you designed logos and branding. What stories can you tell about that?

Also, as it’s been said already, ditch the bars. So much space is spent saying almost nothing (also, you’re saying that your strongest skill is being creative, but you don’t know how to execute that creativity).

Some other notes: Get rid of the “connect” section. Nobody’s going to follow you on Facebook when they’re looking for a candidate. Keep it simple and post a link to your portfolio. If they care enough, they’ll find your facebook link from there (also, the cargocollective link 404s).

Nope, had to fix my Behance link. I just went through and recently changed them all to the same ending and must have forgotten that one.

Thought process was you can be good at something but that doesn’t mean your necessarily passionate about it. Like typography, most designers have a favorite font and can point out specific things on a font, but not me for some reason.

The interests section is kind of to establish a repertoire with the interviewer like I’d hope they ask what books and I can say I’m reading blah blah blah cause I’m kinda all over the place and reading and books just applies generally. Plus reading kind of hints at a slightly higher vocabulary. I know lots of people who don’t read at all and it’s strange (Books is to pull it away from magazines/newspapers, if that’s necessary?) but I can see why it’s an odd addition but at the end of the day you want to hire someone who’s well rounded and seems like a normal individual right for the sake of the rest of your art department?

That paragraph definitely needs work, I’m not a very strong writer when it comes to writing about myself. Definitely need to stress that I’m fast and reliable as I’m usually the designer helping with customer service issues.

I’ve gotten it built out a considerable amount, I’ll post a plain text version soon.

At the end of the day, your interest in books isn’t going to get you an interview. Your work history and what you’ve accomplished will. You can talk about books all you want if they ever ask, “tell me about yourself.” But even then, they want to know who you are as a worker.

As a designer, your job is to understand your audience and communicate/sell to them. The employer is your audience, and he/she/they are shopping for new talent. What’s going to set you apart from your competition?

Shake all this nonsense about being well rounded and normal. Focus on your strengths. CSS and Web Design is your least-proficient skill, according to you. If you don’t want to do web work, don’t put it on your resume. Don’t list typography if you don’t care about it.


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