How to write effective job descriptions for graphic design jobs

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    • 14th May 2018

    We recommend that candidates approach their CV and portfolios as their calling card. It’s the chance to make a great first impression. And likewise, an employer wanting to attract the best candidate needs to approach a job description as a calling card.

    A bit back, we published an article on job descriptions for digital marketing jobs. Now, we’re taking a look at writing job descriptions for graphic design jobs!

    Whatever position you’re writing for, there are some basic rules you can follow.

    The Basics of Writing Job Descriptions

    sketchpad and pencil

    The key is always to balance necessary details with a concise job description.

    • Keep the job title simple and avoid unnecessary jargon.
    • Give an overview of the job role, but give some insight into the culture and office environment as well.
    • Divide job requirements into smaller sections, to make them easier to read.
    • Get in everything vital, but don’t overload a candidate with requirements!

    You can read more about the basics of job descriptions in our digital marketing article, as this is just a quick recap.

    How to write graphic design job descriptions

    colourful pencils

    Graphic designers must bring together a wide range of abilities to do their jobs properly. It’s as much an art as it is a science, and understanding what you want from your designer is an important first step.

    The core skills

    There are certain core traits and skills a graphic designer must have as standard.

    The right equipment

    The most important is an in-depth understanding of Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign are essential tools of the trade, as well as the ability to work across media.

    Spotlight on creativity

    A strong creative streak, a relevant degree (in graphic design, illustration or similar) and an eye for detail are also a must; look for evidence of these in a candidate’s portfolio.

    The additional skills

    Every job needs some additional skills and depending on the role these can vary. Here are the most relevant additional skills for graphic design jobs.

    Project management

    Being super-organised and meeting deadlines is key for a graphic designer. It’s not just planning out what to do though, but also being able to adapt to unforeseen delays and displaying a solution-focused attitude.

    So project management has to be on the top of the list of additional skills.

    People skills

    Since graphic designers don’t work in a vacuum, they need to have strong people and communication skills. They can expect to liaise with marketing and IT departments inside and outside the business, take creative briefs and work under pressure.

    Presenting ideas

    Being creative and developing great design concepts is essential, but you also need to win over approval for your ideas. A skilled graphic designer can be drowned out in the crowd, if they can’t get their concept across clearly. As a business owner, you know how crucial good presentation skills are for gaining new clients.

    You want a graphic designer, who can show-off their designs in the best possible light.

    Attention to detail

    A good grasp of written English is also useful, since this allows designers to spot spelling and grammatical errors at the design stage. Checking and re-checking a design before it goes over to the client or for print is also a key skill.

    The next big thing?

    Finally, in the long run a willingness to learn and expand their knowledge is always a good sign. This can apply to emerging new technologies like augmented and virtual reality, but it should also apply to the specifics of your industry.

    The ‘You’ specific skills

    Every job role has it’s own needs, but your business is also a unique entity. It’s not just about getting your agency culture across, but also ensuring that specifics to you come across in the job description.

    Marketing know-how?

    In an integrated marketing agency, for example, you may expect a certain level of marketing know-how across your staff. If you want a graphic designer with basic marketing skills or to show specific marketing skills like email design, then you need to tell candidates in the job description.

    Code know-how?

    Currently, there’s still a print and digital design divide, though the border between these is blurring. Some graphic designers have a good understanding of digital, but you may require them to have Javascript and CSS3 skills. To get the best candidate for the role, make this clear in your description.

    Sector specific skills?

    If your client base is mainly in interior design and you want a graphic designer who really understands the ins and outs of paint can design, then interviewing someone whose main focus has been on digital infographics won’t guarantee an ideal interview. Be clear not only on the length of experience your ideal candidate would have, but also on what sector experience is most suitable for the role.

    If you have sector specific needs, then let people know. It’s also a great way to find a good candidate match, as job seekers passionate about interiors, fashion or FMCG will be interested in your role.


    Be sure to mention that you want to see a portfolio. Most candidates will automatically do this, but it’s a chance to remind candidates what experience is most suited for the role. Here you can highlight the design mediums you’re looking for, such as advertising, print, catalogues, brochures, websites, branding  and reiterate the sector specific skills you need, i.e. construction, financial, retail etc. 

    Graphic design jobs 101

    writing pad with a checklist

    To summarise, here are the main points for graphic design job descriptions.

    1. The job title.

      We recommend avoiding internal job titles, like ‘Senior Visualization Operator’ or ‘Design Guru Grade 1’ (you’d be surprised what kind of internal job roles different agencies have).It’s key for a candidate to know straightaway what the job is and what level of experience is expected (‘Junior graphic Designer’, ‘Graphic Designer’, ‘Creative Director’ etc.).

    2. The portfolio you’re expecting.

      Print, digital, or both? FMCG, fashion, or interior design? Video or animation experience needed? Add this and the chances of getting a portfolio that hits the mark is good.

    3. Avoid obtuse language.

      Stick to words and phrases that everyone can understand, whilst going into more complex detail only when it’s absolutely necessary.

    4. Length 

      of job descriptions is another common problem. A good job description balances detail with brevity, and with jobs like graphic design (where there are lots of technical skills to consider) it’s easy to get carried away. When you’re writing the responsibilities and skills sections, try to limit yourself to eight bullet points for each one. This helps prevent the description from getting away from you, and helps you focus on what you really want to see from your candidates.

    5. Avoid gushing!

      If you talk up your business and work environment too much, it can sound untruthful or leads your candidates to have ridiculously high expectations that aren’t realistic for any company.

    6. Don’t repeat.

      You want to make sure you get all the key skills into a job description, but make sure you aren’t repeating yourself. It can be easy to put the same requirement twice if you’re stressed or distracted, so thorough proofreading before publishing is always worth spending time on.

    7. Check spelling and grammar.

      You expect a keen eye for detail from graphic design job candidates, so having mistakes in your own job descriptions is a serious oversight.

    The Gloss approach

    Alternatively, get an expert creative recruitment agency on your side to write an effective job description for graphic design roles for you.

    We’ll work closely with you to ensure your graphic design job description covers:

    • An introduction of your business -> the sector and mediums you work with
    • Your ideal candidate  ->  a straight to point paragraph on what you’re after
    • Core responsibilities  – > concise and to the point (no lengthy essays)
    • Required skills  – > tech and tool know-how needed
    • What’s in it for the candidate – > the reason for them to get super excited to apply

     And we’ll also make sure the job description is worded for the best search outcome within job sites. 

    Call us today on 0113 209 5705 to set-up a job spec for your latest graphic design job. Or submit a vacancy today.