Create the perfect creative CV in 10 steps

Create the perfect creative CV in 10 steps

Create the perfect creative CV in 10 steps

Not getting those all important design job interviews? Your CV could be to blame. Follow these top tips to really stand out from the designer crowd.

In a world where designers are fighting it out for every job that comes along, it’s important that you stand out from the crowd.

Whether you’re just starting out or an old hand applying for a better position, your CV needs to be first rate for you to stand a chance of getting an interview. Getting it right is about how it’s designed and partly about what you write.

1. Don’t use Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word might be okay if you’re applying for a secretarial position, but if you’re after a design job or something creative, its limited and idiosyncratic layout options and subtle cross-platform issues can mangle the best CV’s. PDF is a much better format, because it enables you to create good-looking documents that are completely cross-platform.

 2. Use DTP software

Art directors will be paying close attention to the layout of your CVs as much as the content, so it’s important to use a DTP package. QuarkXPress, InDesign or even Illustrator will create great looking CVs, and will enable you to save them as PDFs.

3. Be briefScreen Shot 2016 11 15 at 09.50.14

Don’t write pages and pages of stuff!

Art directors do not have the time or the inclination to read your entire life story, such as where you went to nursery school. Cut the fat from your CV and focus on the relevant details. If your CV is any longer than two pages, you’re waffling and including too much stuff. Don’t be tempted to mask a lack of experience with verbosity. Clean, well-laid-out CVs will always win over flabby ones.

4. Include samples of work

By not including any samples of your work with your CV, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that the recipient will not consider you for the post. Stills from motion graphics projects are perfect, unless you’ve been specifically asked to include a showreel. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with images; that’s a job for your online portfolio.

5. Keep It Simple

Keeping things simple is not the same as making things dull

Unless you’re really confident and sure about what you’re doing, keep the typographic flourishes and fanciful designs at bay, ensure the layout is simple and clear and the information is cleanly presented. After all, the last thing you want is the recipient squinting because you thought dark grey text on a black background was a great idea.

6. Show your personality

Making your CV stand out is critical.

Keeping things simple is not the same as making things dull. A CV is a reflection of your disposition and persona, and the recipient will be scanning it, consciously or not, for elements that distinguish your CV from the other hundreds they have to wade through. Make your CV stand out with an idiosyncratic design and personal touches.

7. Include the right information

As a minimum, CVs should include your name and contact details, including email address, phone numbers and online portfolio address.

Screen Shot 2016 11 15 at 09.51.51

This should be followed by a breakdown of your work experience, then your education. In both cases, this should be most recent first. Work experience should include dates, job title and a brief synopsis of your role. References are generally optional.

8. Colour vs black and white

For most non-design related jobs a CV designed or printed in colour is probably a waste of time, and might even annoy the recipient. However, for design positions, touches of colour are an acceptable way to add a discreet personal touch. Use sparingly, however, as green type on a yellow page may not go down too well. If you are including a small selection of work examples, they should be in colour.

9. Create multiple CVs

If you’re applying for multiple jobs, you should create multiple CVs, each targeting a specific role and the kind of experience and skills the prospective employers are looking for. To take an obvious example, if the job specifically mentions InDesign as a requirement then you should make this first on your list of skills, and possibly expand the description of how and where you’ve used it.

10. Grammar and spelling

If you’re applying for a job as a designer, does it matter how well you write? The simple answer is yes. Spelling and grammar mistakes will make you appear uneducated, ignorant and/or lazy – none of these represent the image you’re trying to convey. So, always double check your grammar and spelling, and get others to check it too (it’s easy to miss one’s own mistakes).

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