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How to Write a Creative CV

Are you excited for your first job or university application? Do you want to make the first impression, then you need a creative CV to stand out from the crowd. In today’s job market, when there are 300 resumes for a single job opening, the first impression counts a lot. Skilled and wise job seekers do not forget to keep their resumes updated and customized for the job position. This helps the employer determine that it is you who deserves the job and is qualified enough to contribute to the team.

Let’s dive right in. Here’s my step-by-step guide to write a creative CV you can be really proud of.

1. Content

  • Write a list of all the things you want to include on your CV, based on the research you’ve done into what the industry you’re applying to expects.
    • This might include:
      • Contact details, academic history and achievements.
      • Work experience, extra-curricular achievements.
      • Technical skills and awards.
      • Prioritise industry relevant experience – your degree and industry specific skills, e.g. Photoshop knowledge, prizes and awards, relevant placements or volunteering etc. by placing it high up on the first page.
      • References – Don’t forget to ask two people to be your referees, the norm for students is one academic and one professional i.e. someone who has managed you in one of your work experience roles or extra-curricular activities.

2. Length

  • Ensure your CV is no more than two pages long. In terms of one page or two – either is fine.
  • Some prefer one page as it is more concise and looks better from a design perspective, but two pages is also fine – as long as you have the most important information on the first page. Then if they read the second page it’s a bonus!

3. Design & Layout

  • Showcase your design skills but remember that CVs are designed to be read quickly so don’t go so overboard with your design concept/embellishments that you confuse or deter the reader. Often a carefully selected font, a touch of colour or use of columns is all that’s needed.
  • Put your name at the top and make it larger, centralised and bold. Next should come your email address and contact number. Include your full name, home address, mobile number and email address. Unless you’re applying for an acting or modelling job you don’t need to include your date of birth or a photograph.
  • Think about the layout. People generally start by reading along the top and down the left-hand side, so ensure that you are putting your most important and relevant information here.
  • For more help and advice on how to write a CV and to find CV templates, see my post on Creative CV Examples & Template

4. Format

  • There’s no set format for a CV, but you should choose something that looks professional and well-organized.
  • Please avoid using fonts such as Comic Sans. Choose something professional, clear and easy to read such Arial or Times New Roman. Use a font size between 10 and 12 to make sure that potential employers can read your CV. Ensure all fonts and font sizes are consistent throughout.

5. Profile or Statement

  • Write a brief personal statement directly under your contact details. Make sure it’s no more than five sentences long and should cover who you are, what you can bring to the table and your career aims. It highlights your key attributes and helps you stand out from the crowd. Usually placed at the beginning of the CV it picks out a few relevant achievements and skills, while expressing your career aims.
  • A good profile focuses on the sector you’re applying to, as your cover letter will be job-specific. Keep it short and snappy – 100 words are more than enough.

6. Employment History

  • List your experience in reverse date order, making sure that anything you mention is relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you have plenty of relevant work experience, this section should come before education. Include any key points that may resonate with the prospective employer.

7. Education

  • List and date all previous education, including professional qualifications. Place the most recent first. Include specific modules only where relevant. Include qualification, subject, grade, institution and date.

8. Skill & Achievements

  • This is where you talk about the foreign languages you speak and the IT packages you can competently use. The key skills that you list should be relevant to the job.

9. Interests

  • Aside from qualifications, help yourself stand out from the crowd by listing any additional skills or other information that will strengthen your application. This could include training, language skills, relevant awards or membership of professional bodies.
  • Relevant interests can provide a more complete picture of who you are, as well as giving you something to talk about at interview.

10. Portfolio

  • Often the reader will want to see examples of your creative abilities and previous projects. Therefore, don’t forget to include links to your online portfolio, website, social media profiles etc. Usually these links appear at the top of the first page beneath your name and are the best way to demonstrate your practical creative abilities.
  • The practice of building an online portfolio and linking a resume to it is becoming increasingly popular these days. The Behance network is a wonderful place to host your online portfolio. It’s also a social network where you can follow and connect with other creatives and employers.

11. References

  • You don’t need to provide the names of referees at this stage. You also don’t need to say ‘references available upon request’ as most employers would assume this to be the case.

Finally, read through your CV before you press send and ask someone else to double check it, in case any spelling or grammatical errors have slipped through the net. Check your spelling and grammar. Poor spelling is the quickest way to get rejected. If your CV is sloppy or riddled with errors, potential employers will be unimpressed.

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