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Career Services

Developing Application Materials

Design Career Services helps students develop and refine resumes, cover letters, and portfolios needed to apply for professional positions and internships. Materials should be designed as a system with consistent style, typography and color.


The purpose of the resume is to quickly communicate relevant qualifications to a potential employer and to gain an interview. Resumes should be organized, clear and concise. You may use different versions of resumes depending on the intended audience and position. For example, resumes submitted for design positions, non-design positions, graduate school admission or galleries may vary in content.

Cover Letters & Communication

Success with your job search is largely dependent on your ability to communicate professionally and effectively by email, by telephone, in writing, and in person during interviews. Cover letters introduce your work and qualifications related to the employer and position. Cover letters are requested in most position postings, and one should accompany your resume and portfolio each time you send them.

You will also communicate with employers to follow up after applying, to thank someone following an interview, to accept a position, and more.  All should also be professional, and content should be personalized for each employer. The samples below are straightforward, traditional, and should be used to gain ideas for structure and content of your letter.


Applicants can expect to be asked to provide 3-5 professional references during the application process. References should be people who will speak positively about your work and qualifications. Be sure to ask permission before listing someone as a reference. Also ask what contact information you should list for them. Sharing your resume and descriptions of positions you are seeking with your references is also recommended.


Students in design programs will be expected to show a portfolio or work samples when applying for positions and internships. A portfolio is a collection of work that visually communicates your design skills and experience. Your portfolio should include your strongest work and only high-quality images. Presentation should be thoughtful and clear. Formats may include online collections/websites, books, cases, smaller sample pages for career fair, and more. You should be able to present your work easily in person as well as send it digitally.