Career Services

Resumes and References

Resumes quickly communicate your qualifications to a potential employer, so yours should be organized, clear, concise, and relevant. You may have different versions of your resume depending on what you are seeking. For example, resumes for design positions, non-design positions, graduate school admission, or contacting galleries will look different. 

Getting Started 
Develop a comprehensive list of your skills, knowledge, abilities, experience, accomplishments, honors and awards. Think about what you've learned in projects and classes, through volunteer work or student organizations, or from work experience. Also think about what will set you apart from others. Do you speak a foreign language? Do you have leadership experience? Do you have a minor?  

Once you've done this, take a look at the samples below and organize your skills into categories. You may want to elaborate on work experience, listing specific responsibilities and quantifying accomplishments when possible. What were the problems or challenges faced? How did you overcome them? What were the results? How did the team/project benefit from your performance? Did you receive any awards, special recognitions or promotions as a result?

What to Include

Definitely include:

  • Contact information
  • Official name of degree and graduation date
  • Comprehensive, concise statements of your qualifications
  • Employment experience and relevant accomplishments
  • Honors, activities, awards, exhibitions

Don't include:

  • Photos of yourself or irrelevant personal information
  • Personal pronouns (I, me, you, my, mine, etc.)
  • Spelling, punctuation, capitalization, or grammar errors
  • A weak or generic objective ("to obtain an internship")
  • Complete sentences or paragraphs
  • High school activities
  • "References upon request" (just send them) 


Skills from Study Abroad Experiences 
International experiences provide valuable communication and problem solving skills in addition to what you learn about design. Videos from the ISU Study Abroad Center provide examples of those skills and an example of how to use your experiences in interview responses.

Samples below are to show content only. Since you are graduating with a degree in a design discipline, your resume should be designed. Pay attention to what your font, paper, image and color choices communicate.


You will likely need at least three professional references that know you well and are familiar with your work. These could be professors, past employers, or leaders of volunteer organizations. You'll want to ask the person to be a reference for you before you provide their contact information to anyone, and let them know what positions you apply for so they are prepared when they receive a phone call.