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The Art of Crafting a Creative CV: What Employers Want and Essential Rules.

By Simon on

In today’s competitive job market, standing out from the crowd isn’t easy but it’s pretty much essential in creative industries where innovation and originality are highly prized. Your CV serves as your first impression and a creative one can make a lasting impact, not only during the application process but during it, too.

The primary objective of your CV is to get you an interview for the job you’ve applied to or, at the very least, create engagement. Employers are interested in your skills and expertise, so avoid jargon and illuminate the in-depth knowledge of your primary specialisms. Achievements are of equal importance, such as increasing sales, social followers, and so forth. Beware of exaggeration – people will see through it. Today, companies are doing more with less, they are leaner and plan to keep it that way, so candidates who can display business-minded traits that will add value tend to get ahead of the crowd.        

Let’s explore the benefits of a creative CV, what employers are looking for, and some fundamental rules for crafting a standout document.

The Benefits of a Creative CV:

  • Memorability: Creative CVs stick in the mind. They leave an indelible mark on hiring managers, making them more likely to remember you amidst a sea of applicants. Not only can they be a door opener, but it is also there long after you’ve gone, and will possibly be reviewed at the latter stages of the hiring process.
  • Showcasing Skills: They provide a canvas to showcase your creative skills, proving your ability to think outside the box and bring fresh ideas to the table. They can also demonstrate that you have a feel for balance, colour, tone of voice and white space.  
  • Reflecting Your Brand: A creative CV allows you to showcase your personal brand, demonstrating that you not only understand branding but also live it.

What Clients Want to See:

  • Relevance: While creativity is essential, clients want to see relevance. Ensure that your creativity aligns with the industry and that the information on it is apt for the position you’re applying for.
  • Tangible Results: Highlight concrete results achieved through your creative work. Whether it’s increased social media engagement or successful ad campaigns, quantifiable achievements matter.
  • Adaptability: Showcase your ability to adapt your creativity to different projects and challenges. Flexibility is key in creative industries.

A special note on the opening summary/profile:

  • Skills: Writing 5 – 7 lines that surmise you and your most prominent skills and expertise is not easy. Most of all, do not list a long line of personal adjectives – it is skills employers are interested in learning about, rather than you’re willing, confident, etc… It’s best to highlight your prominent skills, ideally aligned to the job you have applied to or the industry you’d be keen to join.
  • Take your Time: The opening summary on your CV or LinkedIn page is very important, so it’s worth spending a bit of time to get it right. Take it seriously and be sure to give it everything you’ve got because it can make a huge difference. The summary can be the part that separates you from the masses and it’s the bit you have the most control over. Curated correctly it can win over hearts and minds.

Basic Rules for Crafting a Creative CV:

  • Try to tailor it for each role:  A general CV has drawbacks because it isn’t specific – do customise your CV for each job application, emphasizing the skills and experiences most relevant to the position.
  • Clear Structure: While being creative, maintain a clear and logical structure. Use headings, bullet points, and subheadings for easy readability. Less is more, always works.
  • Visual Elements: Incorporate visuals like infographics, icons, or a unique layout to make your CV visually appealing.
  • Consistency: Maintain consistency in fonts, colours, and formatting throughout your CV. This reinforces your attention to detail.
  • Keep it Concise: Aim for brevity while including all essential information. Ideally, your CV should be no more than two pages.
  • Online Presence: Include links to your professional social media profiles, portfolio, and website if applicable.

Remember, a creative CV should never overshadow your expertise; instead, it should enhance it. Striking the right balance between creativity and clarity is the key to impressing clients and landing your dream job in the creative field.