Traditional CVs have their place. If you’re applying for a traditional role, in accounts perhaps, then you just need to work through your employment history in a methodical manner, highlighting all the appropriate qualifications and skills. If you’re applying for a creative role though, using a traditional CV layout is just a wasted opportunity.
When hiring for a creative role, an employer is looking for someone who is imaginative and skilled enough to fit their requirement. What better way to show that you are that person than by showcasing your abilities on your actual CV? Do you specialise in Illustration? Packaging? Animation? Infographics? Whatever your forte, find a way to incorporate that skill in how you present your CV.
Sure, you could direct potential employers to your online portfolio, but if you don’t grab their attention at the first stage, they’re never going to get that far. Take a look at our quick tips to making potential employers pay attention to your CV…
1. Maintain Quality Content
At the end of the day, this is still a CV, so remember that the backbone to a good CV is a clear representation of your skills and experience. If you’re including infographics, make sure that people don’t have to spend too long figuring out what you’re trying to represent. If you unsure whether the design has become too tenuously linked to the facts or not, ask a friend.
2. Highlight Important Information
Sometimes it might be easier to think of relevant visual imagery for the more trivial stuff than it is for the actual key information. Don’t fall into that trap! You want to draw attention to the things that are actually going to get you hired, so make sure the design is focussed around your experience and skills, not your hobbies.
3. Be Varied
If you’re creating an infographic-style CV, experiment with all of the different ways you can present your statistics before settling on your final design. Bar charts and percentages are pretty standard but how about bubble charts, word clouds, pie charts, or timelines?
4. Direct them to a Portfolio
As good as your CV is, it cannot display the full extent of your abilities. Include a link to your online portfolio so that they can see how good you are at applied design, and how you can vary your style according to the needs of your employer.
5. Ignore CV Norms Completely
Who says your CV needs to fit on an A4 sheet of paper? Why not break the boundaries completely and create a video CV, or in the form of a restaurant menu? Take a look at the next section to see how some people have completely reformed the concept of a curriculum vitae.
Our 10 Favourite Creative CVs
We had to start with this incredible CV from designer and animator, Robbie Leonardi. This interactive game takes you through the different sections of his CV in a completely novel way. We particularly like how he uses pie charts to demonstrate the skills he used in his previous places of work.
This infographic CV rather cleverly tells you a story. This draws you in and encourages you to follow his links to discover more of his work and continue the story. Simple, yet effective.
We quite like how this CV has managed to not only break the boundaries of a traditional CV, but also emulate a style which might well be required of them by their potential new employer. You can just imagine this form being used for a poster or flyer to advertise some event or new service.
While this CV does follow a more traditional layout in that it’s very word-based, it also makes use of illustration to show personality and style. Granted, this CV would probably only be appealing to a very specific kind of employer but there could be a job out there needing exactly this kind of designer.
Here’s another prospective designer who has broken the norms of printed CVs. Instead of presenting his CV on a flat sheet of paper, Rob Jervis has created a box, showing off his abilities in packaging design (and bribing potential employers with chocolate at the same time).
This illustrator’s CV manages to find a balance between creating something that is definitely different and will stand out, without using a completely unusual form like the example above which would be hard for employers to file. A folded leaflet is a great way to show off applied design skills as well as giving you lots of room to include strong content.
Here’s another mix between traditional and creative layouts. The circular design is sure to catch the eye of any potential employer and yet each item is word-based so Stedman is able to give detailed explanations.
This guy was so keen to get a job at Google he made his CV look like a google search results page. Can you think of a better way to show your potential employer that you’re passionate about working with them?
Interactive CVs don’t have to be digital. Take a look at this intricate CV where the writer has clearly made use of their skills in print work. This would be ideal for a job in a company that sends out direct mailers.
Finally, we’d like to end on this genius CV pack entitled “Cures for Design Disease”. The details of Wong Sock Ying’s CV are distributed across the labels of the various items in this pack and he has masterfully demonstrated his packaging design skills, his ability to create a cohesive brand, and his absolutely amazing imagination.
Remember that when it comes to designers, the recruitment process doesn’t end at the CV. Once you’ve got that part sorted, you’ll need an incredible portfolio to match. Learn “How to Make Your Portfolio the Best it can be” with another of our blogs.