General Question

squirbel's avatar

How do I word my resume properly? It seems repetitive...

Asked by squirbel (4292points) January 30th, 2009

I have been a freelance web designer for longer than the past ten years. Now that I want to try to enter the industry and earn a steady salary, how should I tailor my resume?

I find that for each job/position I used the same skillset. This causes each job entry to be the same… how can I differentiate them?

i.e.:

Web Developer, X Company City, State 2006–2007
Produced graphic sketches and design layouts for online content. Determined size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy, selected style and size of type, and arranged layout based upon available space, knowledge of layout principles, and aesthetic design concepts. Designed and constructed commercial websites and incorporated graphic user interfaces and other techniques.

Web Developer, Y Company City, State 2005–2007
Produced graphic sketches and design layouts for online content. Designed and constructed commercial and individual websites and incorporated graphic user interfaces and other techniques.

Web Developer, Z University City, State 1999–2005
Designed and constructed collegiate websites and incorporated graphic user interface features and other techniques. Maintained and provided ongoing design of the website as well as seasonal content. Led and directed the work of others.

Web Developer, Self-Employed City, State 1997–2008
Produced graphic sketches, designs, and copy layouts for online content, as well as print. Determined size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy, selected style and size of type, and arranged layout based upon available space, knowledge of layout principles, and aesthetic design concepts. Designed and constructed individual websites and incorporated graphic user interfaces and other techniques.

This is my resume, with the companies and locations generalized. What am I doing wrong? How can I improve?

I already will be including a portfolio with this resume, as well as a cover letter. This question is specifically asking what should be done with my wording – to make it less repetitive.

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18 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

The way I go around doing this is to make Web Developer a subsection in my work history, include a general statement of what this entails, then describe each contract with a focus on the exact items I did there.

A quick mockup:

Work History 1, Place, Date
Details of Work History

Work History 2, Place, Date
Details of Work History

Web Development, Date Span
General description of tasks done in all jobs. It’s important to note if you are both a designer and a coder, it’s pretty rare that people are both.
-> Web Development Job 1, Place, Date
Details of Job 1, focusing on exactly what you did at just that job. “Worked with a team in launching a new version of the website, including creating an array of themed print media.”
-> Web Development Job 2, Place, Date
Details of Job 2. “Designed, constructed, and maintained website X (with the URL if you want). Formatted (or created, as need be) and posted new content on a monthly basis.

When it comes to getting a job in web design, the proof is in the pudding, so show the URLs if you can. And be very specific as to what you create. Anyone hiring a web designer knows most of what you’ve written down as your descriptions so far, so it doesn’t really have any value, and certainly doesn’t demonstrate exactly what you did.

eponymoushipster's avatar

instead of a chronological resume, you can do a skill set resume.

try this here. it might be of assistance.

whackyrusty's avatar

I found this to be a decent guide – it’s a simple, no-nonsense approach.

Jack79's avatar

btw if they really are looking for a web designer, I don’t think it harms your chances. After all, you’re not writing it to amuse them. What you want is the job. And I’d certainly hire you if you’d been doing the same job all that time.

funkdaddy's avatar

Make a section for your skills and then make the employment history section more about outstanding accomplishments at each position. Whether that’s a big name you helped produce an outstanding site for or a smaller company that grew significantly thanks to an updated (and improved) web presence.

Make it more about the end results than the skills used… drop your keywords into the skills section so you can get past the recruiter and make the history section more about wowing them with what your projects have done for those bold enough to hire you.

quick example -

Designed and launched website for Acme Inc. in May 2007 – Monthly online sales tripled over the next year enabling Acme to expand into a larger warehouse and grow from 12 employees to 27. Since the launch I have worked with Acme to add a shipping calculator, product configurator deluxe, and other improvements to create a better customer experience for their shoppers. (urls for improvements)

From what I’ve seen, people who see your resume fall into three categories

1) recruiter – looking to see if you have the same basic skills that are outlined in the job brief, basically looking for keywords, length of time, or expressed expertise
2) people who take care of the business side – want to know that you have been successful previously and can meet deadlines and budgets, work with others, and generally take responsibility
3) the folks you will be working with – know what’s involved with producing web sites (design layout, execute layout) but want to see successful executions, even if you were just part of the team, will care more about the portfolio than the credentials most likely

Good luck with the search. Can I ask where you’re located? (PM if you like)

dynamicduo's avatar

Great point from @funkdaddy. Highlight the results that your actions achieved. Cause really, producing results is why a business is going to hire you.

Grisson's avatar

Potential employers look at the chronology of you resume’ to determine whether you’ve been in jail or rehab or out of work for other reasons that you don’t want to talk about.

That said, I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing to present your works in skill order. Pro: It makes the employer figure out when the dead spots are and miss that time when you were in rehab. Con: The employer gets frustrated trying to figure out the chronology and assumes you did it that way to hide the fact that you were in rehab.

squirbel's avatar

lol, rehab? are you serious?

fireside's avatar

I would do something like this:

Biographical Info
-name
-phone
-email
-address

Graphic Design
-skills and or responsibilities related to design
-skills and or responsibilities related to design
-skills and or responsibilities related to design

Website Development
-languages, skills and responsibilities related to web development
-languages, skills and responsibilities related to web development
-languages, skills and responsibilities related to web development

Project Management or Marketing or Something General related to your experience
-bet you can guess what goes here
-bet you can guess what goes here
-bet you can guess what goes here

Work History (most recent first)
-Title, Self employed, date range
-Title, company, date range
-Title, company, date range


Obviously pretty it up a bit with formatting and good use of varying fonts to show a visual hierarchy. I think bullets with phrases are better to describe the skills than paragraph form.

By sectioning off the experience into skills sections, it will help them to visualize what you can do for them based on their needs.

Good Luck!

squirbel's avatar

I have no gaps in my work history; I’ve never used any foreign substances outside of aspirin or the occasional antibiotic; I don’t drink; and I’ve never gotten so much as a parking or speeding ticket in my life.

Rehab is LOL for people like me. Are you kidding?

LOL.

Grisson's avatar

Your prospective employer might not realize that.

fireside's avatar

Also, don’t put your WoW character stats on the back like a baseball card.
That would be bad form.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I would do it like this:

Biographic/Contact

Applications/Languages

Employer, employment dates, position
project overview with results and ownership language
“led design project” “created solution for accounting problem” “Managed ____”
Then “resulting in____ time saved/money saved of ____”

Then education

In your cover letter mention that since graduating, you’ve been continually employed, increasing your skills and knowledge blahblahblah

You want to show that 1) you step up to the plate and create business solutions and that 2) you are constantly learning and expanding your knowledge.

squirbel's avatar

@fireside: the advice was superb, the humor was lacking.

fireside's avatar

What can I say, sometimes I stay up later than I should Fluther.

Oh, but Alfreda brings up a great point about education. I forgot to add that section earlier.

Grisson's avatar

@fireside The humor was excellent!

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