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Fundamentals for a creative CV

Fundamentals for a creative CV

about 2 months ago by Alana Campbell
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In a world of LinkedIn and Instagram profiles, online portfolios, and WOW factor showreels; job seekers underestimate the importance of a strong CV.

We have shared insight before on how to write a killer CV, however, I have tailored this to CV writing for Creatives in the hope that it will help some of my talented candidates to best showcase their experience.

Your CV is a summary of who you are and where you’ve worked, and it needs to convince the reader very quickly that you are worth investing more time in. It needs to be easy to digest and quickly match what you have to offer with what our clients are looking for.

Remember, the purpose of a CV is to get you an interview, not the job.

Split into easily digestible chunks

  • Summary: LinkedIn has made it super simple for companies to put up their own job ads, opening the floodgates to 100s of applicants. For your CV to really speak to the hiring manager, it is essential that you start with a summary of who you are and what you are looking for. This is especially important for multi-disciplinary roles; the career paths that lead to these roles are not linear, meaning CVs can often look misaligned with the job advertised.

  • Software: I would next list the software that you are proficient in. Often employers will be looking at a list of necessary software needed for the role, so putting this high up will again highlight that you have the skills needed. I would also add years of experience if appropriate. E.g. After Effects – 3 years

  • Experience: Listed job by job. Organise the employment section to include Key Responsibilities and Key Achievements within each job listed. Try and get some numbers/quantities/timeframes into this section but keep succinct!

  • Education: Provide details of all relevant qualifications including a year of graduation. No need for long lists of GCSEs! Simply include the number of qualifications, with associated grades (e.g. 9 GCSE’s grade A-C).

  • Interests: Interests are good when they demonstrate attributes that are required, in the job you are applying for, but they can be off-putting. Try to avoid, ‘I love my cat’, ‘I enjoy socialising with friends’. These may well interest you but are they helping you communicate something important to the reader? Perform a sense check and put yourself in the readers’ shoes!

Do’s

  • Your CV must be totally typo free and grammatically correct (just because you are applying for a creative role, do not overlook the importance of this). Check, check, and check again… proofread and ask friends and family to proofread it too. A poor CV, full of typos, will often be rejected immediately – even if you have everything that the job requires!

  • It is no more than 2 pages. Our clients are looking for your most relevant (and recent) experience, which will be your last two or three jobs (we don’t need to know that you worked in a bar when you were 17 - no offence!).

  • It is a personality trait of many creatives to be modest, but remember, now is your opportunity to sell yourself and try and secure that first meet!

  • Applying for a role within the creative industry means that your CV must look visually appealing and harmonious. Layout is everything. Write your CV and then tighten it up, again and again. Check your margins and columns are all aligned, to the pixel.

Don’ts

  • The photo! First impressions count, so even if you have your best pout on, remember including a photo is high risk, not to mention against recruitment ethics.

  • A CV that is not kept current and where dates don’t add up. Check them!

  • A CV that does not match the information on your LinkedIn profile. This can be checked by our clients so make sure all your dates and job titles are aligned.

  • Overly designed CVs. A simple white, portrait CV with a nice typeface and good spacing over 2 pages is perfect. CV’s on a slant, with butterflies, etc., or landscape are high risk. Make life easy for your reader!

  • Obvious job hopping. If you have an employment history where you have only stayed a short amount of time in a few of your jobs, the perception will be a lack of focus or stability. If there are genuine reasons beyond your control, do add your reason for leaving, be it redundancy, company relocation, insolvency, contract only, etc.

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