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A good resume for business

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Lindsay Carter
A good resume for business
on Jul 13, 2015 at 10:43:31 pm

Please bear with me and if you don't consider this the place for me to be asking this questions please just tell me. No reason to be rude or mean about it. I wasn't sure where to ask this at and figured the people here could help :)

I'm a graphic designer and I'm working on my resume. I do a lot of event packages for the church I work for and I do the tickets, handouts, signs, logos, designs for decorations that can be printed or be printed on transparency paper to be used with a projector so it can be redrawn on a larger scale, custom illustrations, I make slides that play during the event with the event logos and sometimes facts that go along with it, slides for games, slides to show beforehand with info, any props that need to be designed, cards the guests get when they show up, event photography, event videography, presentations of the pictures and video I've taken, audio editing for the music for these events, video editing, actual physical artwork, photo editing and probably some other stuff I've forgotten.

My problem is I'm trying to decide what to call what I do. Originally when I was updating my resume it said something like this..

-Promotional Media
-Presentation Graphics
-Event Photography
-Event Videography
-Audio Editing
-Video Editing

Instead of using such big words I want to go into more detail about what I do and list the various job responsibilities I have. I'm just not sure how to word it so that I capture all the different areas I've worked in that sounds professional.

Thanks for the help!

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Mark Suszko
Re: A good resume for business
on Jul 14, 2015 at 2:27:55 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jul 14, 2015 at 2:34:39 pm

You could call yourself a multimedia specialist, or a Visual Media Production Specialist. But it may not matter until you know the title of the job you WANT.

Frankly, I think you're doing fine with the six main categories as-is. Some of that detail you went into just isn't going to be make-or break, like preparing transparencies for reproduction at larger scale... I think what you want to do is re-phrase that as "wall art and mural pre-production".

The first question I gotta ask, though, is: what kind of job is the resume supposed to be targeted towards? Do you have a specific job or career in mind? You should. The cover letter and resume should be customized for EVERY job you apply to. And they had better be extensively cross-checked for spelling and grammar, or in the trash they go.

There are two common formats for resumes: chronological and functional. Chronological is self-explanatory, but doesn't say a lot about you except to point out how long you've worked. A Functional resume is organized in a more non-linear way, and what it does is prioritize the parts of your background of most interest to H.R. in relation to the job you seek.

You can Google a million examples of functional resume layouts. But in your own case, if this church job is all you really have to talk about, you can make each of those six areas a main section, then under each, write a paragraph or a two-sentence example of something you did in that area that parallels the new job you seek, along with a very short sentence about the successful results.

The top has your name and a goal statement, customized (that's vital) to EACH job you apply for.

Objective: To organize and direct successful promotional and advertising outreach efforts for xyz corporation.


Promotional Media Lead, 2010-2015:
Entrusted with organizing and execution of all aspects of promotion for church events at (name of org), from ticketing and tracking receipts, to scheduling, budgeting, creating and distributing advertising, promo flyers, custom signage, event decor and installation, programs and certificates, supplemental media for table tops, invitations and outreach, thru post-event follow-up and contact management. Handled all the promotion for a 3,000-member event staged in the local convention center, which broke previous attendance records.

That was a little long; with some editing you can trim it a bit yet retain the essential "story"... you can fill a page with six sections like this, six little short anecdotes that paint you as having the skills and temperament to fit their requirements - plus a 2-line section on your education, and any other job-related skills you have that say something about how you can lead people, work with various people, or take initiative on your own.

Add a summary line at the bottom that reinforces your main skill as it relates to the job you want. If you prefer to be a generalist, say so; aim everything to paint yourself as a jack of trades that can fit in on any team wherever there's a hole that needs plugging. Or that your eclectic background gives you fresh perspectives and approaches to problem-solving. You can make any feature of your background a positive, if you look at it the right way.

Functional resumes are also good for disguising gaps in the employment history. You should be prepared to talk about those without shame or hesitation, though. "Yes, that gap was during the time I went back to full-time school to earn a BA in xyz", or, "I took some time between jobs to do volunteer work for (charity organization)". "I worked odd jobs during that time while taking care of a sick relative/ sister's kids/whatever".

These days, many if not most resumes are first read by machines, and only if the computer finds enough matches to the keywords in it's criteria, does your resume and cover letter get kicked up the chain to be read by a human. So if the job ad mentions specific skills and/or brands, you had better mention those exact words in writing, as often as you dare.

Because of machine readability issues, don't get too wild with fonts and layout eccentricities, or the machine will get lost and reject it.

I'll finish by saying you don't write a resume, necessarily, for the job you already HAVE: you're making people see how you would fit into THE JOB YOU WANT. To that end, you're showing them how you solve their problems, how you meet their needs. Tell them the story of who you are: make yourself a real person, not just another applicant. Make them imagine how it would be to have to see you and work with you every day.

Don't skip the 3-paragraph cover letter OR the thank-you note after an interview. These little details matter more often than you know.

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Lindsay Carter
Re: A good resume for business
on Jul 14, 2015 at 11:24:17 pm

Thank you for the input. I appreciate it! I have a degree in Digital Media and I'm sort of a jack of all trades when it comes to graphic design and digital work as well as print work and physical artwork. I would really want to work for a graphic design company, doing custom artwork for clients or provide promotional media and marketing services for a company. I'm just really struggling with how to make all of the different areas I work in look professional on my resume.

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Mark Suszko
Re: A good resume for business
on Jul 15, 2015 at 2:17:52 pm

Typically, graphic artists don't do a lot of actual marketing or sales "footwork", so the part of your experience that involves organizing all that stuff may be of less interest to a potential hiring person than your actual portfolio.

You may want to make multiple references to that portfolio, including links to online versions of it, in the cover letter and resume. If the portfolio is kind of thin, now is the time to start bulking it up, even if you have to make up spec projects for it.

Video editors get hired much more on the strength of their demo reels and a positive live interview, than thru the resume itself, and I think that's probably much the same case for a graphic artist and designer. My wife is one and that's what she tells me.

Clients look at reels and sample books for the work examples to see if anything you've done matches what they are looking for. The more variety of examples you can come up with, the better the chance for a match. Now you know and I know that just because it isn't in your demo reel or portfolio, doesn't necessarily mean you CAN'T do it, and do it well, but that's the way the civilians think, when they're looking over these things and trying to find a person that's a "good fit". They are not necessarily in every case, gifted with vision and the ability to extrapolate - in fact, that's why they're looking for someone to hire, that has that skill.

Beyond any barrier you think is in front of you, THAT is the biggest one I've found: making a client see what's in YOUR head, and visualize a result, without having to first build the entire thing for real and showing it to them. It's a chicken-and-egg situation in that they often won't authorize the expense to make something without a clear idea of what it will look like, but you can't show it to them without spending some money. Sometimes, mockups and thumbnails help, but just as often, they look at a semi-comp or thumbnail as if that's the finished product, get confused and disappointed. They wanna see it before they buy it, and you can't afford to make it until they pay for it.

Though one time, this was decades ago, a Chicago ad client watched the "animatic" rough cut of a proposed TV spot and liked the style of it so much, they aired the demo instead of shooting the live action spot on film. Today, that would be like screening the "pre-vis" and never shooting the actual movie. The art director and account manager decided it wasn't wise to tell the client he was paying for the rough concept "sketch" because "the customer is always right" :-)

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Richard Herd
Re: A good resume for business
on Jul 21, 2015 at 7:54:16 pm

Creative Director

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