DGHE & Coronavirus

10 Steps to creating a Creative CV

Jun 12, 2020 | Students Career Progression

Welcome to the DGHE Careers Blog!

Some weeks ago, I gave you my 10 Top Tips for writing a Chronological CV, since then I have been thinking more and more about the type of CV which is often required when applying for roles where you need to demonstrate creative or artistic skills. I spoke to a number of my colleagues in the world of careers and Loughborough University has allowed us to use their 10-step guide to creating a creative CV you can be really proud of.

1. Check you need to go creative.

Generally, creative CVs are used to apply for roles that require a certain level of practical creative ability, for example, designer or artist. Standard CVs are used to apply for roles that don’t necessarily require practical creative ability, for example, buyer, merchandiser, researcher, project manager. So even though the company or department may be creative, you don’t necessarily need to apply with a creative CV.

2. Collect your 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. Also, 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.

3. Personal details.

Do you need to include your date of birth, photo or National Insurance number? None of this information is required for a standard UK CV. The employer should be judging you according to your skills and experience rather than your age or appearance. Giving out information such as date of birth or National Insurance number on your CV can make you more vulnerable to identity theft.

4. Personal statement.

This is optional. It can be a helpful way to introduce yourself and make the employer want to read on but it’s not essential. If you do write one, keep it short and sweet, no more than two or three lines including where you are now, where you want your career to go and one or two unique selling points about yourself.

5. Do your research

What do Creative CVs for the industry you’re applying to usually look like? You may be taught about creative CVs as part of your course but if not, get inspired with some examples:

Behance & Coroflot - good places to look for examples of creative CVs www.behance.net   and https://www.coroflot.com/

• LinkedIn - see examples of creative CVs

• Major Players - examples of alternative CVs  www.majorplayers.co.uk/news-events/major-blog/the-alternative-cv/

• Pinterest - Creative CV Inspiration Pinterest Board www.pinterest.co.uk/giveagradago/creative-cv-inspiration/?lp=true

6. Design your CV

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. 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!

7. Input your content

Content is ‘king’ so make sure that within your design it’s quick and easy to read.

• 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.

• Don’t forget to include dated entries in reverse chronological order. For each section put the most recent activity first and then work backwards in time.

• When it comes to inputting your work experience and extra-curricular activities don’t just list the responsibilities, think about including the skills that you have developed and any associated achievements and awards.

8. Link to examples of your work

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.

9. Tailor your CV to each job

This will give you a higher chance of success! Find what the employer is looking for in the job description (this often comes in the form of a list of bullet points called ‘essential requirements’) and make sure that you clearly meet each of these criteria through your experience, education, skills etc.

10. Get some feedback

Once you’ve created your CV, it’s time to get some feedback before you send it out. You can contact me at angela.kinloch@dghe.ac.uk to book in for a Careers Appointment and I can give you some pointers on how you might improve what you’ve produced. Happy creating!

Further Advice

• Artsthread - simple guide to the CV/Resume www.artsthread.com/writing-cv-resume/

• BBC - Writing the Perfect CV for Journalism and Production www.bbc.co.uk/academy/en/articles/art20130702112136472

• Bubble Jobs – CV advice for a Digital Career www.bubble-jobs.co.uk/career_portal/graduates/interview-tips/

• Creative CV Guide – produced by University of the Arts London, University for the Creative Arts and University College Falmouth in 2010 www.nottingham.ac.uk/careers/documents/students/other/creativecvguide(1).pdf

• Ask an industry expert at fairs or events