Three truths to craft a lead designer resume that hiring managers love

by Karthi Subbaraman

Are you a designer who can craft pixel perfect screens in a jiffy but struggle to put together a decent resume that deserves a second look from a hiring manager?

You are not alone.

As designers we suffer resume design as our feedback loop (recruiter or hiring manager) is either non-existent or confusing. We are never taught these career skills in a structured manner.

Let's start with understanding resume through my lens as a designer, as a hiring manager and as a design leadership recruiter (one of the avatar).

If you look closely, a resume is a document that represents "YOU" in a room in your absence.

Two things happen in that room.

  1. Through that resume a recruiter/a hiring manager understands your career path so far in less than 5 mins (generally it is under 60 seconds).
  2. Through that document, they judge if you will fit the role they currently have in hand.

The more the document makes it easy for the human (recruiter/hiring manager) to skim and grasp your professional journey, Ā the better they will be able to judge if you suits the role in their hand. The end goal is to achieve a high probability of fitment.

In a nutshell, a resume is an instrument that achieves role-designer fitment.

Here are my top 3 truths to ace your resume design that will enhance role-designer fitment.

  1. A well designed resume (readable & legible) is invaluable. A simple gestalt of contact information including social handles, professional experience, education, skills with a good summary/highlights is appreciated. Typos, grammatical errors and inaccurate information are red flags in a resume.
  2. Hard truth: Your credentials speak louder than your design. Tags & credibility like education from a premier institute, work experience from a well known brand, accomplishments that are well rounded, notable awards add to the credibiity. Your career design translates into words in a resume. Point 2 is not achieved overnight.
  3. Your resume should give confidence to the hiring manager to take the next steps. To do that your resume must enable the hiring manager to answer the following questions?

    1/ Has the candidate worked in an organization of my size and my type?
    2/ Has the candidate handled work in a team of my size?
    3/ Has the candidate previously worked on similar projects (at hand) elsewhere? Is there a proof of work?
    4/ If the candidate has not worked on similar efforts, has the candidate worked on problem statements closer to the effort at hand?

If 1+2+3 is achieved in your resume, you will be picked for the next steps. It is a ticket to enter the game and that is all. There are more steps to crack the interview process but resume is the first step.

A well designed resume should enable the hiring manager to answer the question clearly: does the candidate fit the role at hand? Both yes and no instantaneously are fabulous answers. If the document makes them think then the document is not doing its job.

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