Top tips for designing a great creative CV

Author
Nick Gatt, Created Marketing Manager
Date
07.03.19

Need some advice on how to present your resume? We’re here to help! Having a good creative CV is the first step to getting the job that you really want. You need to make a great first impression if you’re going to be considered for an interview. With that in mind, check out our top 10 tips for creating the perfect resume for designers and creatives.

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1. Keep it short and sweet

When employers and recruiters are trying to fill a position, they will more than likely be going through hundreds of CVs during a short space of time (sometimes 50-100 in a single day).

This means that there is simply not enough time to read every CV in its entirety, so in most cases, they will sometimes only spend 30 seconds to a minute on each CV. This means you’ve got to get your points across quickly.

So don’t spend 4 paragraphs talking about something when one will do. A long CV is not necessarily a good CV. Keep it at max two pages, especially as they have your portfolio to look at as well.

2. Include contact details

If you’ve done a good job and they like what they see, they will hopefully try and get in touch with you.

Sounds obvious, but make sure you’re contactable! Include your mobile phone number and email address. Make sure that your email address sounds professional. No one wants to hire [email protected]!

Circumstances permitting you should also include your address if possible. Employers will want to know where you will be travelling from and if it’s not too far from their office. That will definitely be a bonus for them.

3. Introduction / Personal statement

You need a snappy introduction that says who you are, what you are looking for and what you have to offer.

Include a brief overview of your career to date, your skills and achievements and where you think you will add the most value to an organisation with regards to your next role.

Very important to get this right because if you get it wrong, it will probably be the only thing that gets read on your CV.

4. Be Creative

Given that you are a creative person, going for a creative role, your CV should reflect that. If you can make the layout interesting, possibly add some colour and maybe include an infographic or two, then go for it! Just don’t go over the top though or it will seem like you are trying to hard and make sure it’s still very easy to read.

One last thing… choose your fonts wisely!

5. Your Experience

You should include all relevant experience and this should always be listed with the most recent first. A short paragraph about the company and the projects/clients you worked on is ideal, with a list of bullet points to highlight specific tasks or projects.

Try to keep non-relevant things out of there if possible (like bar and restaurant jobs) unless you feel that you need to fill in the gaps, so as not to leave gaping holes in your timeline. If you are going to do this though, be honest with it and stick to the basics.

6. Your Education

Including your education history is important but again keep it relevant.

Focus more on any creative training/education (as opposed to academic) and again, the most recent should go first.

7. Software Skills

This is a very important part of the CV because employers want to know if you will be ready to hit the ground running if they do offer you a role.

If you need additional training then this means they have to spend time and resources getting you where you need to be and this could be a deciding factor in who gets the role.

Obviously Adobe products will be the benchmark, but if you’ve got any skills on things like Autocad or Ableton, then use it in your favour as it could be the thing that gets you to interview.

8. Things To Be Proud Of

If you’ve won any awards or competitions, or had your work featured in print or online, then why not make a song and dance about it!

This will help set you apart from the competition and the employer should think that hiring you is less of a risk as your work has been validated and appreciated by others.

Depending on how long your list of achievements is, I would mention this in your personal statement (as it might make your whole CV more intriguing to read!) and then list them later on after your experience.

9. Include Referees

Talking of validation, it’s very important to have at least two good references, especially from companies listed in your experience.

References from people who have managed you (or been involved in HR) are ideal but using other ex-colleagues can also work if you have to make up the numbers.

Just make sure that whoever you chose can be looked up on LinkedIn and that they have their own online portfolio if using another designer/creative.

10. Your Cover Letter

There’s no point putting a lot of time and energy into making an amazing CV and then not making an effort with your cover letter.

The cover letter is literally the first thing that will get read, so make it personal and relative to the person and company you are sending it to and mention why you think you will be a good fit for them and have the relevant experience as per the job spec.

No need to ramble on though. Three paragraphs are enough.

So there it is. Stick to this format for your creative CV and you won’t go far wrong. Once your CV is up to scratch, we also have a resource featuring the dos and don’ts of building a great motion design showreel.

Want to brush up on your skills? Created’s Motion Design career course is now taking applications for October 2019. This course will give you the technical skills, network and portfolio to future proof your career. Find out more here.

Related resources

How I Got Here: George Dyson

In episode 3 of our How I Got Here podcast series, we chat to Motion Designer George Dyson about his career journey.