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Thousands of illustrators are looking for work right now. That means your illustrator resume has to dazzle like H. R. Geiger.
You can’t do it with a colorfully-designed resume. So how will you show your illustrator skills could rival Kara Walker’s or Arthur Jafa’s?
Let me sketch the answer.
It’s all about your illustrator achievements. What have you done right? Have you worked with big-name clients? Won a World Illustration Award? Created original art for six children’s books or four medical manuals? List the right artwork accomplishments in the right order and you’ll be in the black soon.
Ready? Let’s get you a gorgeous resume for illustrator jobs.
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Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume samples here.
Want more creative resume examples? Here you go:
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Sample Illustrator Resume Template
Accomplished illustrator with 4+ years of experience creating intuitive designs for medical manuals. Seeking to delight clients at the Glaring Beagle Agency. At 17 Pork Chops Inc., created 1,000+ medical manual illustrations and received the internal Creative Juices Award 2 years in a row.
17 Pork Chops, Inc., Sacramento, CA
May 2017 – June 2020
- Developed over 1,000 insightful illustrations for medical manuals.
- Built relationships with 10+ stakeholders at clients like Merck, Medtronic, and Siemens to plan and execute on high-volume projects.
- Received the internal Creative Juices award in 2018 and 2019.
- Created illustrations and graphic designs for 30+ cross-platform client campaigns, including TV, web, and print.
- Illustrated an educational poster for the American Heart Association that was shortlisted for a GOV Design Award.
D.P. Rice Agency, Sacramento, CA
June 2016 – March 2017
- Illustrated a 10-page educational comic book for The American Lung Association.
- Developed 250+ graphic design projects, including catalogues and brochures.
- Contributed ideas that slashed client costs by 17% in 14 months.
- Developed images for a client site that helped win a 2017 Shopify Design Award.
Sacramento City College
Bachelor of Science in Illustration and Design
Graduated: June 2015
- Member, Student Design Association
- Received the Charles L. Barstow Scholarship for Artistic Excellence
- Recipient, 2019 American Graphic Design Award
- Recipient, 2018 99Designs Graphic Design Award
- Hard Skills: Adobe Illustrator and CS, InDesign, Acrobat, HTML/CSS
- Soft Skills: interpersonal skills, collaboration, communication, efficiency
- Adobe Certified Expert
- Member, Society of Illustrators
Here’s how to write your own job-winning illustrator resume:
1. Format Your Illustrator Resume Correctly
You already know how to make things stand out visually. To stand out in your job search, pay attention to resume layouts. Your outline matters, but so do your margins, fonts, line-spacing, and all the other fine details. A clean resume format is a clue to the hiring manager that you’re no scribbler.
For a Klimt-level resume:
- Start your reverse-chronological resume by listing the last place you worked. Then work your way back to your earliest job. If you’re writing a freelance illustrator resume, you might want to try a skills-based resume instead.
- Add a header up top with your contact info. Resume headers don’t need a physical address, so don’t write an address on your resume.
- Do list your city, email address, phone number, and LinkedIn handle. Add a link to your online portfolio if you have one—and have one!
- The right font size for resumes is 10 to 12 points, and choose one that’s easily readable like Arial, Cambria, or Calibri. Don’t get fancy!
- Looking at resume templates is a great way to get inspiration. Start with a creative resume template, then modify it to suit your style to save time.
- How long should your resume be for illustrator jobs? One page is perfect. Can’t fit all your accomplishments? Just be representative.
- The best name for a resume file is a simple “Name - Job Title - Resume.pdf”
- Save the file as a resume PDF. PDFs are ATS-readable and their layouts stay perfect.
Read more: Best Resume Types
2. Drop Jaws with a Resume Profile Statement
Why do you need a resume profile? Because you want to get hired. See, hiring pros won’t carefully read every word you write. They’ll glance around like an adolescent at a Banksy show. To slow their roll, write an introduction for your resume that gets them interested in your skills.
It’s a one-paragraph elevator pitch for a job that summarizes your best lines.
Read more: How to Make a Resume Stand Out
3. Tailor-fit Your Illustrator Job Description
This is going to help you get so many more job offers. Don’t write a vanilla illustrator resume with bland accomplishments. Knowing how to tailor your resume sounds daunting, but it’s easy, fun, and soooo worth it.
To customize the work experience description on your resume:
- Use the job titles in the job ad. (If they’re looking for a medical manual illustrator, don’t say you were a medical publication illustrator.)
- Add your former employer’s business name, where they’re located and your working years and months.
- The magic happens in your bullet points. Write 3 to 6 of them and don’t just state your job duties. That’s dull and won’t get job offers.
- List achievements for a resume that show how you pushed company metrics in the right direction.
- Tip: “responsible for” and “handled” are terrible words to use on a resume. Better ones are developed, created, and collaborated with.
Job gap? See our guide: Is It OK Not to Include Dates on Your Resume? Date Format
4. Ink In Your Illustrator Resume Education Section
Can you list education on a resume the way it will get you hired? Yes, but only if you do it the right way. You could just list your school, degree, and graduation date. Or you could go the extra millimeter and add proof of your art and soft skills. Guess which method gets more jobs?
Follow these resume tips:
- Write the name of your school and your degree on your resume
- Add a couple design or illustration school achievements.
- Should you put a GPA on your resume? Only if it’s 3.6 or higher.
Read more: How to List a Minor and Major on a Resume
5. Prove the Right Illustrator Skills
I know you’re itching to show your skill set on your resume, but pump the brakes. Too many job seekers fudge this one. You can’t just add a fat list of illustrator skills and expect to get hired. For a recruiter- and ATS-friendly resume you need the key skills from the job ad as resume keywords. Then go back and prove them in your work history.
Here's how to add illustrator skills to a resume:
- Seek the right skills in the job posting.
- Know the difference between hard skills vs soft skills and make sure to list both.
- Circle back to your work history and prove you’ve used the skills you list. How? With statements like, “Used Adobe Illustrator to create 500+ client designs.”
Illustrator Resume Skills
- Medical illustration
- Fashion design illustration
- Children’s books
- Technical illustration
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Interpersonal skills
- Leadership skills
- Time management skills
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Computer skills
- Teamwork skills
- Organizational skills
- Active listening
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
6. Add Highlights to Your Illustrator Resume
Even if you’ve got the right illustrator skills and you’ve proven them, you’re not guaranteed a job. Show the employer who you really are with added sections in your resume.
Here’s how to make your resume magnetic:
- Add resume volunteer work to prove skills you didn’t build in your 9 to 5.
- Add association memberships and certifications. Not sure how to list certifications on a resume for illustrator jobs? See the sample up top.
- You can even add hobbies, interests, and activities—if they prove skills the employer wants, like administrative skills or persistence.
- Show levels of language proficiency on a resume if you need to fill some space.
Read more: What Are the Important Sections in a Resume?
7. Write a Cover Letter for Your Illustrator Resume
Is a cover letter important for illustrator resumes? Always. Resume cover pages can show things that aren’t on your resume. More importantly, they prove you’re not just using LinkedIn’s auto-apply feature to spray resumes at job openings you don’t fit.
Make your cover letter structure count:
- How to start a cover letter. Get attention quick with a grabby opening line. In your first or second sentence, mention their job opening by name.
- Highlight a couple of your best illustrator achievements in paragraph two.
- How to end a cover letter: Ask if they’d like to meet. Sound too bold? Not if you suggest discussing how your specific illustrator skills can help them.
How long must a cover letter be? Stick to a 3 paragraph minimum and a max of 5 paragraphs. A single page is best.
Read more: Short Cover Letter Examples
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
That’s everything you need to write a crisply-drawn illustrator resume!
Thanks for reading! Do you have nagging questions on how to write an illustrator resume that holds the eye? Give us a shout in the comments section!