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The Ultimate Guide to Designing a Resume that Recruiters Can’t Wait to Read

career advice emerging professionals getting an interior design job interior design interior design students personal growth writing tips for interior designers Jan 05, 2022
How to Write an Interior Design Resume

Remember the last time you were on Google or scrolling through social media when suddenly, a random ad popped up? It displays a five-second clip perfectly tailored to your needs and sucks you in immediately. Most likely, this has already happened to you today. 

This little snippet is either going to hook or sink your interest as a consumer. Once hooked, the ad links directly to the company’s website, where you then decide to buy or bounce.

Your resume is the website for your personal brand, and the introduction to this powerful sheet of paper - is the five-second ad needed to get your viewers there. 

The average time hiring managers spend looking over applicants’ resumes is seven seconds or less, which is also the average time a consumer observes a new website. So, how do marketers and developers come up with the secret to keeping viewers engaged and wanting more? How can individuals apply the same principles when creating a new resume?


Visual Sells Every Time


A well-designed, visually pleasing resume can help to highlight your skills and be a museum of who you are personally and professionally. In addition, it should contain an accurate representation of your character, work ethic, and principles. The overall objective is to develop the cleanest, most unique resume while maintaining the same professional demeanor necessary to take on the role you are applying to.

A Resume That Sells Will Have:

  • Contract
  • Balance
  • Emphasis
  • White Space
  • Proportion
  • Hierarchy
  • Unity
  • Variety


A resume can be chaotic and distracting, completely passed up, or the first to get a callback - based on the content structure alone. The power this sheet holds is simply remarkable. Avoid making the same mistakes most people make when submitting their resumes. Take advantage of the power you have right now.

Whether you use these next couple of tips to design a resume never seen before by hiring managers or not is up to you. I will tell you this though, this document is the only determining factor standing between you and your dream job - and life. So guide your viewer's eyes directly to the bits you are trying to showcase and toss out the rest with the following tools.


Five Key Components of A Resume


Contact Information


The first part of every resume is the contact information. You want this piece to be clear and easy to find. Preferably placed in its own section highlighted with a different background color. Keeping the color palette consistent, use a clean portion of the page to display your information along with your headshot picture if desired. This allows the hiring manager to attach a name to a face.

When done correctly, candidates who put headshots on their resumes received up to twenty-one times more views than those who did not. Only use a high-resolution professional picture with minimal distractions. A picture can say a thousand words - make sure yours is saying the right ones.


This section should include:

  • Full Name
  • Phone number
  • Home address
  • Email Address
  • LinkedIn Usernames (if applicable)
  • Website or Online Portfolio (if applicable)




Your introduction will be like the “hard copy” of an elevator pitch for your resume. This will set the overall tone for the story you are trying to sell. Use it to entice the viewer as the “hook” into reading more. Include things that differentiate you from the other applicants. Be concise in your writing by cutting out unnecessary words.

Include these in your introduction section:

  • Accomplishments
  • Direct Experience
  • Education
  • Responsibilities
  • Awards
  • Soft and Hard Skills


Job Experience


Your job experience, just as stated in the previous section, should start with the most relevant job and work background. Then, when writing about your experience and tasks that accompany those jobs, use crisp descriptive phrases formatted in bullet point structure. 

Include these four points under your experience section:

  • Job Title
  • Company Name
  • Date of Employment
  • List of Responsibilities and Achievements

Don't worry if you do not have any professional experience directly related to your career yet. You can share your college jobs on your resume, but be sure your achievements tie back to your aspirations. For example, if you were team lead at the local Chick-fil-a, then share that you led a team of people to ensure client satisfaction was not only met but exceeded.

For every accomplishment you add to your resume, you should be prepared to speak in detail about the situation and its impact in an interview. We covered interviewing tips for design students here.  


Relevant Skills


This section holds immense power within the words but is intended to be short and to the point. Skills are especially important to display for various careers. For example, commercial interior designers need substantial knowledge and experience in Revit and AutoCAD.

Highlight hard and soft skills here but make sure they are all relevant to the job you are applying to. Go back through the job description and pull out the required skills. Address those within this section. This section plays a supporting role in the claims you made in your introduction.




The education section should also be concisely brief. Make sure to put the most recent degree or certification you have completed at the top of your list.

The four pieces of critical education information needed:

  • School Name
  • School Location
  • Degree / Major / Minor
  • Years Attended

If you have completed or are in the process of completing your NCIDQ or any other certification programs, be sure to acknowledge the completion date or anticipated date. Certifications specific to interior design are important for standing out among other applicants.


A Few Simple Rules For Amplifying Your Resume


Design a resume that accurately represents the industry/position you are applying to. This is arguably the most important step of the entire process, especially since you are applying for jobs in a creative field.

Sit down and thoroughly visualize the role and workplace you strive to get into. People make a common mistake when sending out resumes by mindlessly shooting a generic one out to every role they apply to, regardless of the job itself.

Interior design and architectural professionals should give their resumes a more colorful or artistic spin. First, think about your design principles and elements. Then, consider how you can use what you learned in design school to create a beautifully crafted resume? Even if you aren’t a graphic designer per se, you have the basic design eye to create something visually appealing.

Replicate the overall “feel” of this new opportunity by designing a resume that is purposeful and professionally appropriate. Just as you would for your interview dress code - or a marketer when trying to “hook” your interest on an ad.

Don’t use complete sentences. Less is more, so be concise in your wording without losing the meaning. Use action-driven words.

Related Article: “My Best 10 Tips to Being a Better Writer” 

Avoid overloading your resume with too much information. The main objective is to outline - not elaborate core skills, qualifications, and education to back up your introductory points. It can be hard to summarize the entirety of your work and educational history into a few quick bullet points. However, it is super important to not say too much and risk overwhelming the hiring manager.

Write your resume introduction to fit your experience level. The most important part of your resume is the introduction. As employers spend only a few seconds scanning applications, you will want to provide a positive first impression. There are three introductions to choose from based on your experience, qualification, and education level.


Career Objective Introduction: This introduction should be used when applying to entry-level positions. This statement of two to four sentences acting as an abbreviated cover letter emphasizes your personality, character, and work ethic suitable for that position.


Qualifications Summary: The qualifications summary should be used for candidates applying for jobs in different industries. This demonstrates the skills, abilities, and soft skills a candidate has without being backed by a ton of experience. List these in five or six bullet points that directly meet the requirements stated. 


Professional Profile: This is a combination of the objective career introduction and the qualifications summary. A brief synopsis of your relevant jobs and experience built for people at a higher level in their industry. Unlike the previous two, this method is flexible and formatted in paragraph or bullet point style.


How to Knock It Out of the Park:


8 Pro Tips On How to Design the Most Alluring Resume.


There are a million ways to write a proper resume, but only one will land you that dream job you have been fighting for. Times of employment have undoubtedly changed over the last two years. Whether you are looking to get into a new position or just wanting to be prepared when the time comes.

Now is the perfect time to dust off that old resume and give it a modern twist. Demanded wages and budget cuts are increasing, so employers are looking for individuals who are a cut above. So stay ahead of the pack with the next several creative tips to boost your resume and receive an interview every single time. 


Pro Tip 1: Create a Personal Brand.


You have the freedom to run wherever your heart desires on this. Start utilizing this power by creating a clean canvas originating from your personal brand. If you are applying to a creative role and sending your resume, portfolio, and cover letter, consider all the ways to make them look more unified and professional. Take your resume to the next level by demonstrating your creative ability working within a set of rules. Just guarantee branding consistency over every document submitted. Focus less on style and more on substance.


Related Article: “Everything an Interior Designer Needs to Build a Personal Brand


You can cover three pieces of brand expression before designing your resume.


  1. Logo
  2. Color palette
  3. Font and How Your Format Text


Ask yourself:


  • What do you value most?
  • Are there specific colors that represent my mission?
  • Who is my target audience?



Pro Tip 2: Use a Different Layout than the Norm.


Consider using a horizontal layout versus the traditional vertical style. This is not a common practice which is a great opportunity to immediately stand out. You may also be able to include more information into your resume without worrying about the one-page rule.


Put the impressive stuff above the fold. For example, the top half of a newspaper is prime real estate, so the most important news items are placed there. The same principle applies to your resume.


The top is what employers will focus on first and maybe only. So, do not waste this space with huge headers with your name and contact information - as the typical format has. Instead, push that content to the side in its own section that does not take away from the bulk of the paper.


Pro Tip 3: Throw Some Color In There.


Strive to create an even balance of creativity and professionalism. If you use color within your resume, stick to a consistent palette. Use tones that correspond to the job you are applying to. Avoid super bright tones that drown out the critical points. But, you would be surprised what a little splash of a cheery hue added in does for the viewer’s emotional response.


Use sites like Coolors and Paletton to generate a beautiful color palette. Using these colors in your portfolio will tie everything together.


Related Article: “How to Build an Interior Design Portfolio that Sells 


A good move is to curate a resume design with an eye-catching border while maintaining a professional look. Want to get extra crafty and thoroughly impress the hiring manager? Match your resume colors to the company’s colors. You just naturally took your introductory piece to a whole new level.


Pro Tip 4: Never Use the Same Font Throughout Your Resume.


Using a consistent font throughout your resume is and will always be one of the biggest design mistakes you can make. The hiring manager will typically just glaze right over your resume because nothing stands out to them. Use a maximum of three fonts, preferably just two with a mix of weights and italics. We are not talking about using a combination of Pinyon Script and Lobster.


Utilize Google Fonts or another font tool to help choose fonts that complement each other and are neither boring nor unorganized. Remember, the objective is to showcase your qualifications and skills professionally yet creatively uniquely.


Pro Tip 5: Always Include Power Words.


Power words are used in a resume to help the applicant stand out from the others - the loudest speaking words in place of full paragraphs. They are striking action words that describe tasks and responsibilities handed in past jobs. Use them to highlight the suitability and strength you possess for that job.


When choosing which words to use, add an accent color to make certain words more prominent. This approach helps those keywords to stick with the manager throughout the hiring process. On the other hand, simply just bold the keywords without color if you are applying to more of a conservative workplace.


Pro Tip 6: Use Fewer Words and More Icons. 


Companies want to know you are an overall good fit for the workplace culture, not that you just have the experience required. After all, there are a million potential candidates with the same qualifications who are just as capable of doing the job.


Use icons to illustrate your hobbies and interests outside of work without overloading the page. Attach a related icon for sub-headlines like abilities, skills, educational milestones, and more. This will help the reader gain some quick insight and draw their eye to each piece of information.


Look through a huge range of free icons available at FlatIcon and Free Icon.


Pro Tip 7: Use Columns to Maximize Use of Space.


Along with using fewer words to avoid overwhelming the viewer, white space is your best friend when writing your resume. All your future employer wants to know is how your qualifications stated are relevant to the job you are applying for.

One way to make this happen is to split your resume layout into two sections, with a narrow column running down the left- or right side of the page. You will appear concise and organized, displaying a handful of valuable qualities simply by how your sections are laid out. 


Pro Tip 8: Use Data-Driven Infographics.


This is to simultaneously show off hard and soft skills. If the hiring coordinator only spends a few seconds glancing over the resume, give them more in a shorter amount of time using this tip.


Your resume is all about your story. It can be narrated as either one of the exhilarating Matrix movies or Andy Warhol’s 1964 black and white film, “Empire.” What are you going to choose?


Post-pandemic workplace demands employees to be versatile, moldable/adaptable, and genuine, placing a high value on innovative individuals. In addition, companies want their employees to have equal parts technical to soft skills. Implementing this into your resume will exemplify that right away.


Simplicity is the name of the game when featuring your information this way. Infographics can often go on for a mile long. Data visualization aims not to fit everything into charts but to curate and select the most relevant points to tell your story. Use the charts to outline your education/career timeline, skills, specialties, travels, internships, etc. A simple timeline is one of the best ways to visualize your past experience or education.


Tools to give your resume a boost:

  • Pie charts
  • Bar graph
  • Timeline


Putting the Finishing Touches On A Beautifully Designed Resume.

Before wrapping everything up, proofread your document several times. I use Grammarly for all my proofreading. It is a great tool. Send it to your family and friends as well to get an outside perspective.

Make sure your content is easy to scan. Use short sentences and bullet points to make the information easy to skim through. This is where proper formatting and a keen eye for design come into play. A combination of data visualizations, icons, timelines, power words, and concise information can make your resume design wholly unique and easily digestible.


Want to know more about branding? Check out our newly launched course "Build Your Brand Identity Beyond Logos: How Interior Designers Can Use Branding to Build a Successful Design Business". This is a 1.5 IDCEC credited course and is $49!

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