Insights on writing your résumé

I can tell a lot from your résumé. It is probably the first I hear of you and therefore an introduction to you as a person and as a professional designer. It's your one-page portfolio. It's the virtual you.

The way your cover letter is written tells me whether you did your homework before sending off the résumé. Misspelling my name or that of the firm is definitely not a qualifying asset. (I know they're both difficult names and should be the final round question in a designer's spelling bee contest.) But come on! You can look it up. We are in the Yellow Pages.

Carefully state your interest and why you want to work for us and why you think you're just what we're looking for. Generic flattery isn't getting you anywhere, but a reference to something which caught your interest might help and tells me that you know something about us.

The résumé itself is definitely information which should demand my undivided attention. It needs to be designed. Your choice of typefaces and typography, the layout and the organization of information, the paper stock, etc., all contribute to the way I perceive you as a potential designer working for us. It also shows me what you can do on a single piece of paper. But high wire acts are dangerous, so keep it simple and readable. (Even David Carson's business card is ultimately readable.) No elaborate personal logos, please, especially if you're just out of school. It's a bit pretentious.

Your résumé needs to motivate me to want to ask for your portfolio. Your education and work experiences are very important, but ultimately it's the live you, your work and presentation, which make me want to hire you.