How to nail your graduate CV for the creative industries

 31 August 2017

A report published by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport showed strong economic growth in its sectors, with the creative industries experiencing the strongest growth in employment figures in the last five years. To ensure you become a part of these strong employment statistics, here’s how to nail your graduate CV!

"Expanding on your interests could be your saving grace as a graduate."

1) Tweak your personal profile

Firstly, you need tweak the personal profile that sits at the top of your CV to show prospective employers what you’re all about and convince them to keep reading.

Your profile needs to say three things: who you are, what you can offer the company and your career goals.

As a graduate, you should reference your degree in the first line as it’s likely to be your biggest selling point. For example, “I am a recent graduate from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 in Graphic Design”.

If you have anything particularly unique or interesting to add, do so!

You then need to tailor the next point to the job description, to show the recruiter your suitability.

If the role requires someone who’s “highly creative” with “experience designing digital content” and that’s you, you ought to mention it to show you’re a match.

The final line about your career goals doesn’t need to have a long-term perspective. Employers know that since you’re a graduate and are just starting out in your career, you’re unlikely to stay with them forever.

However, you should always make sure that your short-term goals align with the company on some level and highlight what you can bring to the employer, not what you’re hoping to learn from them.

For example, “I am currently seeking a graduate role in digital design where I can put my passion for the industry and Photoshop skills to use”.

2) Include links to your portfolio

When entering the creative industries a portfolio is often a must. While your CV literally spells out your particular skill set, your portfolio shows so much more of your ability.

Therefore, if you have your work showcased online, be sure to include a link to it at the top of your CV.

This will heighten your chances to piquing a recruiter’s interest because you’ve been proactive enough to provide them with a detailed, relevant summary of what you can bring to the table.

3) Be selective with your skills

Since you’re a graduate, it’s likely that your work experience is limited. However, there are ways to compensate for your lack of work experience on your CV.

One way is by retitling your work experience or employment history section to read “Placements and projects” or “Work experience and projects”.

Your profile needs to say three things: who you are, what you can offer the company and your career goals.

In this section, focus on relevant projects and experiences you gained at university that could be applied to the workplace.

Title each project or placement the same way as any job like so:

mmm yyyy - mmm yyyy                                Project/placement

Then, provide a one-line summary of the project or placement, explaining the overall goal and what your involvement was.

After that, bullet point your key responsibilities and achievements to showcase as much of your skills and knowledge as possible.

Try to include subject-matter knowledge from your degree and transferable skills you gained throughout your studies, such as communication, teamwork and time management, with examples of use.

For example: “Developed time management skills from juggling multiple tight deadlines”.

4) Expand on your interests

While most seasoned professionals will avoid adding a hobbies and interests section on their CV because of their extensive work experience, it could be your saving grace as a graduate.

An interests section can be used in two ways. Firstly, it’s the chance to expand on relevant skills. For example, if you spend a lot of your free time blogging or volunteering at a local radio station.

This section is also a chance for you to stand out from the crowd and ensure prospective employers want to meet you.

Therefore, if you have anything particularly unique or interesting to add, do so!

It could put you ahead of another applicant with the same experience and education as you.

Just don’t add anything run-of-the-mill or empty, like 'reading', ‘socialising’ or ‘cinema’.

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.