Being a Graphic Designer: Top Must-Have Skills to Land a Job

Being a Graphic Designer: Top Must-Have Skills to Land a Job

When starting a graphic design career, you’ll need a bit more than just creativity. In fact, digital design jobs may have a pretty long list of requirements.

What does it take to become a graphic designer and land a job? We’re going to tell you about the most essential graphic designer skills that all employers are looking for.

What Are Graphic Designer Skills?

In order to identify the skills needed to be a graphic designer, it’s vital to understand the graphic designer definition first.

So, what is a graphic designer? And what does a graphic designer do? In a nutshell, a graphic designer is someone who conveys information through art and photos. Simply put, it is a professional whose job is to create visual concepts for various purposes.

It can be an office or online job. The range of responsibilities can also vary depending on the employer’s needs. For example, some types of graphic design tasks include creating logos, posters, marketing materials, brochures, etc.

Hard Skills for Graphic Designer

Now that you know what a graphic designer job implies, you are probably wondering about the skills needed to be a graphic designer?

First and foremost, to succeed in creative design jobs, you need to possess a strong set of hard skills. The term “hard” in this case refers to teachable skills that identify the level of qualification and mastery.

Namely, some of the most vital hard skills recruiters and employers expect to see in their ideal applicant include:

  • sketching;
  • freehand drawing;
  • typography;
  • Photoshop;
  • Acrobat;
  • Illustrator;
  • layout making;
  • InDesign;
  • HTML;
  • CSS;
  • Corel Draw.

These skills are needed to land an interview.

Soft Skills for Graphic Designer

Apart from the hard skills, employers are also looking for certain soft skills. In a nutshell, soft skills are more personal attributes. The reason why employers value this type of skill so much is that it shows how well a specialist can handle the job. Therefore, you may have flawless hard skills, but if they are not complemented with solid soft ones, you will not likely get more interviews.

Here are some essential soft skills job seekers are expected to demonstrate:

  • creativity;
  • technology;
  • communication;
  • criticism;
  • planning;
  • organization;
  • time management;
  • problem-solving;
  • research;
  • color theory;
  • teamwork.

Top Graphic Designer Skills

So, what are the key skills in resume for graphic designer?

As you already know, careers in graphic design can be rather demanding in terms of skills due to high competition. Depending on the type of graphic design you will engage in, the requirements and key skills needed to get employed can vary significantly.

Yet, the top five skills needed for becoming a graphic designer would be as follows:

  • creativity;
  • communication;
  • artistry;
  • time management;
  • technology.

Creativity Skills

Needless to say that performing this kind of work requires having a huge potential in order to find creative visual solutions. Every recruiter assigned to fill in the digital graphic designing position will first of all be looking for creative minds. Thus, this is the first type of skill you will want to highlight in your job application.

This skill set can incorporate a huge number of abilities. Namely, some of the core creativity skills to focus on involve:

  • creative problem-solving;
  • sketching;
  • freehand;
  • brainstorming;
  • attention to detail;
  • perceptivity;
  • ability to deliver an idea or message through visual elements;
  • aesthetics.

Communication Skills

The next one of the top graphic design skills for resume is communication. One of the core duties of a graphic designer is to communicate ideas through images and photos. However, live communication with other people is also important.

In order to succeed in the workplace, regardless of whether we are talking about offline or online graphic design jobs, graphic designers have to closely collaborate with other people, including employers, clients, marketers, etc. Thus, communication skills are a must-have!

The main communication skills include:

  • active listening;
  • interpersonal skills;
  • verbal and written communication;
  • consultation;
  • collaboration;
  • taking criticism;
  • confidence.

Artistry Skills

Creativity is a big requirement in such artistic jobs as graphic design. However, just mastery and a creative mind are not enough. Apart from creativity, you also need to showcase some artistic talent.

Regardless of whether you choose to computer-generate images, draw, or create illustrations, you will need some artistic vision in order to find the best visual solutions and be able to communicate ideas through the art in the best way possible.

With that in mind, we have to say that talent plays an important role in this job, so, be sure to highlight artistry skills in your applications.

Time Management Skills

Meeting deadlines is one of the biggest graphic designer job requirements. If you don’t know this yet, a graphic designer job often implies being on tight deadlines and juggling multiple projects at the same time. Therefore, effective time management is something you can’t do without if you land this job.

Time management skills enable specialists to stay on the right track at all times and ensure the timely completion of all tasks. These skills are vital both for office and home workers.

The core time management skills involve:

  • deadline management;
  • organization;
  • planning;
  • flexibility;
  • adaptability;
  • prioritizing;
  • multitasking.

Tech Skills

Finally, graphic designers are expected to be well-familiar with different kinds of technology. It’s not rare to see employers looking for a graphic designer with a focus on Photoshop, Illustrator, or another tool. However, if you have proficiency in more than one tool - that’s great! The more skills you possess, the easier it will be to impress the hiring manager.

There is a wide range of technology skills that can come in handy. Here are some that hiring managers and employers are looking for most often:

  • Photoshop;
  • Acrobat;
  • InDesign;
  • Illustrator;
  • HTML;
  • CSS;
  • ability to master new digital design software quickly.

How to Improve Graphic Designer Skills

So, we’ve already told you about the major skills to be a graphic designer. But, what if you lack some of those skills?

Don’t let this hold your back! Luckily for you, today there are plenty of ways to acquire missing skills and hone the ones you already have. Namely, some of the steps you can take are:

  • Learn from lessons and other materials available on the web.
  • Participate in masterclasses and workshops.
  • Find online courses.
  • Work on personal or freelance projects to practice.

Follow these simple tips to improve your graphic design skills and get a better career perspective!

Graphic Designer in the Workplace

How to be a graphic designer? This job can be very multi-faceted and flexible in many ways.

Graphic design specialists can work for large publishing, design, and marketing agencies, as well as for companies across various industries, small firms, and even private customers.

When it comes to the work environment, it can be different. Some graphic designers can work full-time or part-time in comfy offices, while others can work on a freelance basis from the comfort of their home or from anywhere else in the world.

Designers can work with multiple projects. Yet, they always have to deal with fixed deadlines.

How to Showcase Your Graphic Designer skills

How to shape a flawless graphic designer skills resume section? There are four main rules to consider:

  1. Blend soft and hard skills.
  2. Don’t make the list too long.
  3. Tailor it to the job description.
  4. Mention skills in a separate skills section, as well as in work experience and summary/objective sections.

Pro Tip: If you want your resume to get noticed, don’t hesitate to use well-targeted resume keywords in the skills section. The keywords will make your resume visible to an applicant tracking system (ATS) that recruiters use to scan applications and weed out those that don’t match the job.

Skills for Resume

Writing a digital designer resume, pay special attention to the skills section. This is the section that drives the recruiter’s attention most. So, you have to show your best points here to succeed.

To craft a winning resume, follow these essential tips:

  • Read a graphic designer job description to discover the core skills recruiting firms will be seeking in candidates.
  • Make a list of your skills of graphic designer and tailor it to the job description.
  • Add 5-7 strongest skills (both soft and hard ones) in bullet points.
  • Emphasize your skills in the experiences section and quantify them if possible.

Skills for the Job Interview

Although a resume helps recruiters and employers make the first impression about you, it is during the job interview when they finally decide whether you are the right employee for them or not.

Here are a few handy tips to help you stand out from the crowd and nail your interview:

  • Show confidence and don’t be shy.
  • Get involved in the process.
  • Collect some information about the potential employer.
  • Look up the most common interview questions and prepare to answer them.
  • Show passion to your job.
  • Provide more info that can’t be found on your resume.
  • Be yourself and stay sincere.

Sample Graphic Design Resume Skills section

Now that you know what employers are looking for in potential employees, let’s take a moment to see how to use all those skills of graphic designer on your resume.

Graphic Design Skills in a Resume Skills Section

In a skills section of a resume, you need to list your core soft and hard graphic designer skills in bullet points. Here’s an example of how it looks:

Skills

  • Detail-oriented.
  • Excellent time management.
  • Strong written and verbal communication.
  • Proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, and Acrobat.
  • Experienced in branding.

Graphic Design Skills in a Resume Work Experience Section

Freelance Graphic Designer

May 2013–July 2018

  • Completed 1,000+ gigs with a 100% success rate.
  • Was featured in the Top 15 Graphic Designers to Hire on Fiverr.
  • Designed logo for a high-profile IT company that increased brand recognition by 20%.
  • Created marketing materials that enhanced the campaign’s ROI by 60%.