Tell me what's wrong with my resumé

dave bailey's picture

I'm taking it easy tonight and figured, what better way to entertain myself than discuss typography? I'd love any sort of ideas/criticisms on my resumé. Thanks!

resume.pdf84 KB
resume.2.pdf85.6 KB
resume.3.pdf83.26 KB
resume.4.pdf87.58 KB
Eric_West's picture


where it says 'graphic design resumé. I think it would be a given. If you do illustration and graphic design, simply send the appropriate variation to the potential employer. Would king of make me go 'duh!'

If you got rid of 'graphic design resume' I would try bringing your address line to a subhead level in some way.

Maybe an 'objective' heading before 'work experience'

And actually, the whole thing feels very left-heavy. Maybe reduce the width of your column and center? Keep it flush left,more than a few lines feel like they want to fall off.

I wonder, if you just chuck the ' gdr 'part and move the contact info up. It's actually a double whammy, because who ever is looking at it will be like, yes, you are OBVIOUSLY applying for a gd position, and yes, i AM looking at a Resumé. So, chuck it.

And I think where it says the part about online samples should go to, that's something that should be worked into the cover letter and removed from resume, which should always go out with a res.

my thoughts.

p.s.- where on spruce do you live? I used to live there when I went to school for a while? Landmark?

dave bailey's picture

Cool, thanks. Nit picking is what I was looking for. I'm not applying to jobs just yet but wanted some feedback.

I live 2 blocks east of the dog park located on the bank of the Schuykill River. Where did you go to school?

david h's picture

Location: add the location/city - e.g RCA Records, NY; Thayer Academy -- where is that?

Skills: e.g. computer skills...Adobe Illustrator CS2....Indesign....

Education: no need to have the whole list (course work ); just pick 2 to 3 strong fields; e.g. concentration in packging design etc etc. Since right now i don't know & understand what is Typography I, II or III?

Info: more info about your work with John Langdon, Nancy Green; Thayer Academy -- I didn't understand ....

jason's picture

I'm with Eric concerning the left-heavy-ness (not only is the main text-block way too far left, but the caption under your name-plate is also contributing to the pull leftward).

Also, the whole thing feels a bit loose. There's a lot of breeze flowing between your headings & subheads, and between the subs and sub-subs, which is actually making the information clusters less easy to distinguish.

Hopefully this won't sound too harsh, but I suppose I'm wondering: if you're a graphic designer, where's the evidence in the design of the resumé? I'm not saying you should turn the thing into a full-colour, full-bleed poster, but while you've used a few distinctive fonts, the layout looks a bit like, well, an MSWord template, and the typography is riddled with bugs.

For example: your work descriptions are sentences and sentences require periods. And, you've got small caps in your parenthetical dates, but not in the Awards listing (and track the small caps out a bit). And get rid of the italic on the parentheses, or at least kern in the right-parens. And change those hyphens in the dates to en-dashes. (To mention a few...)

Also, I'd definitely get your contact info up top.

brampitoyo's picture

I would omit the word "resumé", because "Graphic Design" is exactly what you're doing, right, kind of like a job title.

I would also move the entire document to InDesign and refine it from there, not from a program like Word (pardon if you were designing this piece in InDesign). Pay attention to minutiae typographic detail, like Jason said, and also margins.

timd's picture

I would remove the @ symbol from the directions to the url and the award;
Standardise the use of & and and;
Standardise the use of dash, I think I spotted all three.

dave bailey's picture

I really do appreciate all the feedback, I admit I didn't really spend as much time on the finer details like I should've. I've attached a new one to the original post.

Regarding computer skills, is this really necessary? When I was getting my resume together at the time I was applying for internships, I was told not to include computer skills.

KenBessie's picture

Without discussing content, I think you should re-think how the resume looks. It is typically the first piece an employer sees of your work. It's purpose is to interest the employer into wanting to see your portfolio (electronic or printed). To that end, this is your first chance to showcase your design skills. It should be as "design-y" as your website or your business card.

Remember, any employer you send this resume to already has an active interest in graphic design and/or typography.

dave bailey's picture

Ken: Agreed, but if you view my website, and then take a look at my biz card: you'll see that they are all very similar in style.

KenBessie's picture

Yes, David, I know. I've lurked on both those threads. :-) I like your identity and I'm not suggesting you change it.

I'm just saying your resume needs to pass a test set by any potential employer. That being: "Of all these resumes on my desk, whose shall I look at?" If your resume visually stands out, your chance of getting through to the next test (the interview or the portfolio) is greater.

Cheers, Ken

William Berkson's picture

Your signature is very strong, but for me the rest is too weak to balance it--too light and small. For example, the headings could be bold, in a stylish sans, and the text slightly bigger. Think about the dynamic balance of black and white of the whole page, and give it the pizzaz you've achieved in your signature.

dave bailey's picture

William: Excellent point about the overall color. I've made a pretty drastic change, upped the size and weight of everything a bit, plus added some headings in FS Albert. Thoughts?

pattyfab's picture

You should list your skills.

Version 2 looks top heavy to me.

I would treat your school info the same stylistically as your employers:
Drexel Univ. in itals, grad date in parens, em dash, Phila PA in small caps.
Then degree info next line.

dave bailey's picture

Forgot to Submit on the attachment of the new PDF 'resume.3.pdf' so it's up now.

.00's picture

I usually pass on these threads.

It has been a few years since I was reviewing CVs and hiring people. Before my type design life I was a publications design director in charge of too many magazines. Here are my thoughts...

Drop the art work at the top. Its not very good lettering, and why start off with a less than fabulous impression. (I always threw away resumes that looked too designed).

Flesh out your descriptions of your previous work experience. If you had a career spanning a few decades, it might make sense to sum it up briefly, but I would think the opposite is necessary in your case.

Instead of the lettering, concentrate on the typographic details. Show in a subtle way that you have command of typographic organization and hierarchy. In CV 3 the heads are too large against the body type.

Good luck,


dave bailey's picture

Another update with various changes and ideas integrated.

jason's picture

You've had plenty of input here, which is great, and helpful, but also part of the problem. I would encourage you to delete the file(s) you've been working on and, without looking back, build a new version from the ground up (no re-using the stylesheets, etc.). What was good in the latest version will stick in your mind, and you may come up with solutions that are invisible while staring at the current attempt.

And no input on the next (new) version. At the moment much of the work in the lastest version is not your own (it was suggested/directed). Scrap it and do it solo from scratch, so that when you hand it to a potential employer, you'll know and feel good that what you're handing them is yours.

dave bailey's picture

Sounds like a good idea, Jason. I was interested in the nitpicky things people would expect in a resumé and I think I figured that out, so I'll take a gander at what I have and when it's time. Go back and start from the beginning. Thanks!

mad grab's picture is a good resource to look at what other recent graduates and young designers are using for their resumes. Most people have a link to their site with a resume. Its kinda good to see what your competition is.

timd's picture

You still need to spell liaison correctly.

Datura513's picture

I think it would be cool if you put some of your portfolio pieces on your resume (kinda like a film strip). There is something to be said for white space, I love white space, when it's clever. I think the white space on your resume comes across like you need more skills or something exciting on there.

Also, an objective would be a good idea like "Objective: To use my talents in graphic design to boost the reputation and creative excitment of (Company Name). " That sucks but you get the idea. Elaborate more on your previous job duties. This is good practice at your advertising skills. Use fancy adjectives to make your jobs sound more glamorous.

Also, your business card needs work. It's boring.

Good luck!

Molly Stoyles's picture

I used to be in management and my number one pet peeve was spelling errors on resumes. It gives a bad first impression (ex: "indpndent" under Thayer Academy unless that's a funky title?) - plus if you do any production work, style of writing is as important as the typography. As a rule of thumb, when writing lists use the same tense, i.e. change "funding, faculty advisor, obtaining software, mission of class, curriculum" to something like "procuring funds, obtaining software, developing curriculum...". I now work as in design and production and my most successful interviews were gleaned from targeted resumes. If I was targeting a corporation, I went more clean in my layout. If it was an interactive firm, I kept it brief on written and sent links to my url. Be sure to show your strengths - and you'll get the call.

jason's picture

Regarding Datura's comment, I'd suggest that you always, at all costs, avoid anything that could be seen as "clever," or, worse, "cute." Both are, in such cases, normally equivalent to "naïve" and/or "asinine."

Datura513's picture

Clever, meaning something someones else hasn't thought of that makes you stand out. Not "I am so smmmmmart for thinking of this."

brampitoyo's picture

Make is pleasant, lucid and unpretentious -- without being dull. There's already too much resumes that exhibit a lot of arrogance.

The loaded words, clever sentences and cutesy, then, must be objected to the three qualities above.

A good example would be Veer's T-shirt text, "I draw pictures all day." Flourish and swash? No. Brutally honest? Yes. Interesting? Definitely.

jason's picture

To my mind, the attempt at doing something no one else has thought of is itself the form of naïve arrogance that ends up producing "clever." I agree that some attempt must be made to be distinctive, but is needs to be grounded first and foremost in doing the thing (the resumé, whatever) well, rather than grasping for attention through setting "distinctive" as the goal. Don't get me wrong, I agree with Datura, in that the thing that others haven't thought of is simply doing the job well, but the drive to be different is too often viewed as the goal in itself. The phrase I use in class is "effective yet understated," and I have to say it often because understatement seems to be a bad word.

typequake's picture

1. Replace st. with street.
2. Consider · instead of , before Philadelphia
3. "Independent graphic study from concept..." - confusing syntax
4. Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design, or B.Sc. (graphic design)
5. Keep tenses consistent. For example, I prefer: "assisted" under Nancy Green
6. The superscript under awards look wrong.

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