Every so often, it’s good to take a long hard look in the mirror and reevaluate your job search tools — especially if you’re having a tough time landing that highly coveted freelance Graphic Designer job you know could kick your career up to the next level. Before you throw in the towel and resign yourself to being happy with what you’ve been able to accomplish, take an honest look at your resume and portfolio.
Signs Your Resume and Portfolio Needs an Update
Keep your eyes open for some of the following signs that could indicate it’s in dire need of a makeover.
It’s Been a Long, Long Time
If you can’t remember the last time you updated the information on your resume or added new projects to your portfolio, now’s the time to do so. As the principal implement in your toolbox to get you noticed by prospective employers, you can’t afford to let your resume gather dust. You also can’t risk the possibility of coming off like someone who doesn’t have the energy to invest effort in its upkeep.
As a best practice, consider keeping a weekly journal of all projects and work-related activities that you perform. Being able to refer to this will make it easy for you to make necessary updates without having to rack your brain to remember all of your career highlights at once.
You’re Missing a Cover Letter
A cover letter is typically the first thing any employer looks at prior to delving deeper into your resume or portfolio to discover the evidence of your abilities. While there are many employers who specifically state that cover letters aren’t necessary, don’t assume this is the case for all. If everything is in order with your resume and portfolio but you don’t have a cover letter, this could very well be the missing piece that’s been failing to tie it all together for you.
Short and sweet is always your best bet, and whenever possible include the name of a mutual contact as early in the letter as possible. Be formal, but not so formal that it reads like an instruction manual. Read these tips for further help refining your cover letter, and then get busy writing it.
It’s Just Too Big
The longer you live and the longer you work, the bigger your work history grows. This can lead to a situation where you’re simply including far more information than is necessary for someone to get the gist of your abilities. While you might think that sprawling portfolios and resumes are a great way to display your diversity of talents, it’s actually a better showing of your organizational abilities to provide a brief and concise package.
Instead of hitting them over the head with everything you’ve ever done, go through and cut the fat. The end result will be a tight, impressive “greatest hits” that will play to your strengths and make you a far more memorable candidate among all the other web or mobile app developers in contention.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help
It's okay to ask for help too! Find a trusted colleague or mentor and ask them to take a look. Seeing your portfolio through the eyes of someone who’s seeking the best possible job candidate is essential to driving your career in the direction you want it to go as well, so don't be afraid to ask your go-to Recruiter for their advice too.
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