5 steps to a winning creative CV

 19 May 2017

As a career-minded creative professional, it’s important to have a strong CV that gets you noticed and lands interviews for the jobs you want. But writing an effective CV can be challenging when you have a wealth of skills and talent that you need to showcase in such a short document.

"It’s no good having amazing content in your CV, if employers cannot read it, navigate it, or make sense of it."

So how do you create something that demonstrates not only your creative flair, but also your ability to contribute in the workplace and make a positive impact?  Follow these five steps to a winning CV and give your creative job search a boost.

1) Research your target employers

Before you start writing your CV, it’s crucial to understand what your target employers want to see in a candidate.

Keep your CV simple with clean basic fonts and minimalist approach to design

Scan the creative job boards, read as many relevant job adverts as you can, and make a list of the most commonly occurring requirements.

Now that you have an understanding of the most in-demand skills in your niche, you know exactly what you should be highlighting in your CV if you want to land interviews.

If you start writing your CV without this basic research, you will merely be guessing as to what should be included.

2) Structure for easy reading

The creative mind often works best in free-flowing and unstructured environments, but it must be tamed slightly for the production of your CV.

It’s no good having amazing content in your CV, if employers cannot read it, navigate it, or make sense of it.

Recruiters and hiring managers tend to be busy people, so you need to present your CV to them in a manner that allows them to digest the information quickly.

Divide sections with clear bold headings and break up information with short sentences and bullet points – avoid big chunky paragraphs. If you struggle to create a good structure, you can find plenty of CV templates and examples online.

3) Don’t put style over function

As a creative, it’s only natural that you want your CV to look amazing.

Don’t be afraid to big yourself up, and show some of the benefits a company will gain from employing you.

However, be careful not to fall into the trap of creating a CV that looks visually stunning, but doesn’t win interviews for you.

Firstly, you need to ensure that your CV demonstrates your relevant skills and knowledge to readers; that should come above all else.

Using over-elaborate fonts or intricate background patterns can make a CV tough to read and distract recruiters from the all-important content.

Keep your CV simple with clean basic fonts and minimalist approach to design.

4) Sell yourself

Head the top of your CV with a profile that gives an elevator pitch of your abilities, and tells employers exactly why they should hire you.

You should include sought-after skills, industry experience, knowledge, qualifications and anything else that your target employers will value.

Don’t be afraid to big yourself up, and show some of the benefits a company will gain from employing you.

5) Prove your impact

Creative professionals often find it hard to prove their impact on a business, because work in the arts spaces can be harder to measure and quantify.

For example, a designer could create an illustration that some people will love, and others will hate, so how do you measure its impact?

The best way to prove the impact of your creative work, is by demonstrating some facts and figures that surround it.

For instance, the designer’s illustration may have been part of a marketing campaign that attracted 10,000 customers, or it may have sold at auction for £1,000. Use hard facts and numbers like this to demonstrate the wider impact of your work.

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter, careers writer, founder of CV writing service StandOut CV and author of How to write a CV – the ultimate guide.