Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Your CV is a marketing document that sells your skills and suitability for a particular job. It needs to make you attractive to the sector you are applying for otherwise you are wasting your time.
In the creative professions there can be leeway to apply creativity to your CV. This approach can make you stand out but don’t forget the information needs to be easy to access and ‘look professional’. It is important for your CV to look good and show good design principles if the work you will be doing requires this.
The traditional CV layout is shown below with some suggestions on how you might adapt the standard layout for the creative industries.
- website (if applicable)
A brief summary to highlight your skills, experience and aspirations. Try to avoid cliché and highlight the skills you want to market with evidence. Keep it short and punchy.
An emerging interior designer, I also have gained valuable experience working on live briefs with local companies and built up good working relationships. My client centred approach results in customer satisfaction and repeat custom.
As opposed to:
I have almost completed my degree in Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth. I have excellent communication skills, am a good team player and am looking to demonstrate my creative skills in a suitable organisation.
Give examples, not generalisations: For example, ‘Directed the play ‘Hamlet’ in college‘ is far more engaging than ‘active in theatre.’
The employer will be most interested in the skills you have gained that are relevant to the job. If you have lots of good experience you may omit or reduce emphasis of the lower skilled jobs you have done.
Normally give the name of the employer, job title, relevant responsibilities/achievements in the job, and dates.
Start with the most recent and work back.
The employer will be interested in your most relevant qualifications. As a new graduate this section is important, particularly if you do not have much work experience. The more relevant work experience you have the less important this section tends to become. GCSEs for example are sometimes omitted as work achievements become more important.
Give the Name of the Institution, Subject and Qualification Studied with grades. The most recent should come first.
If your skills are not clearly shown in your ’employment history’ or ‘education’ sections you need to use a separate section to spell them out. Try to align the skills you have with those needed for the job.
The following are often included: software skills, for example In-design, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Quark etc. Language skills if you have them (unless they are of a reasonable standard it is not worth including). Driving is often useful. Particular technical skills associated with the job should be highlighted.
Some employers say this section is unnecessary but can be effective to highlight interesting and relevant aspects of your personality and skills other than those gained in education or employment.
Statements like ‘I enjoy reading, listening to music, watching TV, etc‘ should be avoided.
If you have enough achievements or successes to impress an employer consider an achievements section. Competition wins, exhibitions, published work, academic success, or any notable success in your field can be included.
The Creative CV
The creative industries will be looking for particular skills and qualities. So it is only right that you add content that demonstrates this.
Sections that are often added are shown below. Only use the ones that are relevant for you.
Freelancers will have a list of Clients, include respected ones to give you kudos.
If you have them will show case your talent and impress employers.
Particularly useful for fine art/academic posts.
Websites, published films, photographs, written work, illustrations, designs etc..
Work with other companies and agencies show an ability to make relationships and build links.
You will need to support your application with referees who can endorse your candidacy. For new graduates this is often an academic referee (tutor) and an employer/work experience supervisor who can recommend you.
The ideal referee will be someone who is known and respected within the industry.
It is acceptable to say ‘References will be supplied on request’
You should ask for permission for referees to be used before submitting their names.
The following links should be useful:
Larger employers may ask you to complete an application form rather than ask for a CV.
For detailed information: Application forms
The Careers Service can help with putting together your CV. The drop-in service on Tuesday afternoons is a good way to access this help. Alternatively, to make an appointment please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org