By Elissa Barnes
“I send out a million resumes and never even get a call back – what am I doing wrong?”
I hear this every day from designers (graphic and web), and I can hear the frustration in their voice. They tell me they have spent hours creating a personal logo, a unique resume, and have featured every client they have worked on, and yet, they don’t get any callbacks from potential employers.
Here is why you aren’t getting those call backs, and here’s how to fix it.
The days of lugging around a 3’x4’ black portfolio and presenting it to the Creative Director are OVER! The most important aspect of your resume are the words between “www” and “.com.” That is the end-all be-all of a creative’s resume. I am often told by companies, “If they don’t have a URL, I don’t want to see the resumes.” And no, clients do not want to see huge PDF’s; they are often too large to open quickly, and most company resume management systems cannot accept or store large files. It is critical that portfolios are in URL format and at the top of the resume. There is no excuse; there are enough web portfolio sites that are easy to use to build portfolios, including: WIX.com, Coroflot.com, and GoDaddy.com.
Computer skills are a dead giveaway for antiquated designers. In today’s world, employers only care about your experience with the Adobe Creative Suite, specifically InDesign. Stop putting creative programs like Corel Draw and QuarkXpress on your resume. The best companies haven’t used these programs in over five years, and will not have any need for someone who can build in these programs. Learn InDesign, and learn Basic HTML/CSS. These are computer programs employers need. Use sources like Adobe.com and Lynda.com to help brush up on your skills.
Living in the Past
Recently, I got a call from a designer who told me they were a graphic designer for Apple. “Wow!” I thought, “A graphic designer from Apple, this should be great.” When I opened the portfolio, the Apple ads were for the iMac, from 2001. Turns out he worked for Apple 10 years ago, and had not done any high-end design since. When I tried to explain to the designer that the samples were too old to use in a portfolio, he told me that companies were “desperate for Apple designers.” Needless to say, he’s still unemployed. Your portfolio should have about 10-15 samples of work you’ve done in the last FIVE years only. That’s it! Anything more than five years is too old for a portfolio. If you can’t find decent work in the last five years, you’re probably out of date in technology and style.
I know this is harsh, and for some, it might be devastating, but in today’s tough employment market, in order to land a rewarding design job, you have to keep up with trends and understand how the industry has changed. As a designer over 50, you bring a plethora of experience, knowledge of business and how to manage clients, but that is only half of what companies need. In today’s economy, Senior Designers must be able to both concept and develop; everyone needs to be able to get their hands dirty. Show them you’re dedicated and able to keep up!
Author Name – Elissa Barnes
Title – Senior Account Manager
Location – Washington, DC
Twitter – @EBProfiles
Byline – In 2005, Elissa joined Profiles, the premier and number one staffing firm in the mid-Atlantic for the Communications industry, as an Account Manager. Today she manages over 30 accounts and hundreds of the mid-Atlantic’s top talent. Specializing in marketing, design and web talent, Elissa truly thrives in today’s competitive talent market.