WATCH: Is Your Design Résumé Still Relevant?

by . December 4th, 2015

The year 2015 changed the design industry as we know it.

But there are still some things that don’t change. Like the résumé. As designers, is your design résumé still relevant?

Chris Do and Jose Caballer of the The Skool Network discussed the relevance of the résumé in the design industry. Check out the video below:

Short answer? Not relevant anymore.


For those who skimmed the video, Chris and Jose framed the résumé as something made for the 20th century. Back then, it focused on technical skills, experience and education. Today, it is about goals, aptitude and attitude. Employers are no longer looking at an inventory of skills but rather what your aspirations in life are and the value that you’re gonna give to the company.

But that doesn’t mean your skills, experience and education are no longer relevant. It’s the résumé itself that is outdated.

In a Medium article by Liam Campbell of Mule design, he discussed the realities of an employer looking at a stack of résumés and likened it to “panning goat shit for gold.”

“Sorting through job applications is a soul-killing prospect. Sturgeon’s Law is too optimistic to describe the experience. Easily 99% of job applications are tedious, overstuffed, boring messes,” he wrote.

This is the sad, dehumanizing reality of job hunting. Applicants don’t get a ton of attention each, and even brilliant people get overlooked when they undersell themselves.

Liam went on stating that the first time he looks at a résumé is 15 minutes before the interview and stressed the importance of the cover letter more than the credentials.

“When I read your cover letter, I’m comparing you to the notional person we had in mind when we wrote the [job] description. [I want to read] a brief description of what you do and why you’re special. You can show off your credentials later down the line.”

Attention. It’s easier said than done.

One of the more recent examples of how a résumé can get attention is the case of Nina Mufleh. For months, Nina got in touch with the company the traditional way, through job listings and email, but she didn’t land a job.


Nina got noticed by the CEO and CMO of Airbnb by creating an online résumé specific for that company. What is notable about her résumé is that it didn’t focus on her education or experience. What it showcased is her knowledge of the travel industry, what she could bring to the table, and what the company should pursue next.

It doesn’t mean you should replicate Nina and create a website specific for the company you are applying for. There are several things, however, that can be learned from her experiment.

First, everything that you need is online. Skills, experience and education can already be searched through LinkedIn. Knowing these is only supplementary to what you can actually do.

Second, value is a critical part of the job application process. At the start of her résumé, her cover letter says briefly what’s included in her résumé—an analysis of the global tourism market and were Airbnb should focus next.

Finally, the whole process of her failure to secure a job through HR, creating the résumé website, and promoting it directly to the decision-makers of the company says something about the traditional way of job application. In the design industry, it doesn’t work anymore. You actually need to let these potential employers know what you can actually do.

Show, don’t tell. 

But what does this say about the design industry? Is it becoming a rat race, an endless pursuit of outplaying one another to vie for the attention of employers? I guess that’s another topic for another article.

How did you apply for your job? Comment below!


Kevin is a reader first, a writer second, and a gamer somewhere in between. When not rooting for Tyrion Lannister for the Iron Throne, he's probably writing some morbid short story. He enjoys some surreal art, clever advertising campaigns, and a warm cup of coffee while reading Murakami.