Tips on CVs for Creative and Design Roles

So you're not sure how to approach your CV as a creative or design student? We asked a number of designers, including Design Assembly director Louise Kellerman,  for tips on how to put together a great CV as a creative.

Content Tips

  1. When applying for a role, don’t talk in design jargon. Remember you’ll be working with clients who will want clear communication in everyday language.Are you ready
  2. List any software or creative packages you have used – they may be looking for a particular area of expertise and if you haven’t listed it, you’ll be filtered out. Many organisations now have screening tools that do key word searches
  3. Don’t exaggerate your student briefs. You’re graduating and the industry don’t expect you to have deep levels of experience.
  4. Any part time work in retail or hospitality – or volunteering - is important to include because a huge part of design work is communicating with clients and your team
  5. Work experience and areas of specialisation, education, interests and a summary of skills are all required in a creative CV
  6. And most importantly, include links to your online portfolio and any digital work you’ve done that can demonstrate your talent. Don’t forget to add links to Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, but make sure you’re showcasing your talent not your personal life.

Layout Tips

  • A CV is a CV - not a piece of art. It needs to be easy to read especially if you’re applying to a large organisation. This is because a recruiter or someone from HR will vet it before passing it on and they won’t be impressed if the CV is impossible to read. We suggest doing a B&W copy before you send it to check how easy it is to read.
  • A lot of large organisations use applicant tracking systems that only accept Word and PDF so your CV will be discarded if you’re using a format that isn’t compatible
  • Make sure your CV opens effortlessly. HR and employers will not bother downloading new software for the privilege of reading your CV! PDF is preferred because it retains your format so nobody can make changes.

Creative CV awards section

  • It’s fine to show skills of typography and illustration but just don’t overpower the content with visuals. Anything too in your face or colourful can obscure the text and that puts people off – it’s still a CV.
  • Don’t include a photograph unless you’re able to do something very creative with it

Now, before you send your CV off, make sure you've got a professional looking portfolio ready to showcase your talent. Read our blog 'Creative Portfolio Guidelines from Experts' to get tips on the best way to create a great professional portfolio…

If you want to chat to someone about your CV, attend a CV workshop or book an appointment with our friendly Elab team.

Written by Employability Careers writer Angela McCarthy.