Creative Skillset shows you how to first master the basics and then stand out from the crowd.
With the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently announcing that long-term unemployment has hit a 17-year high, and figures revealing that graduates in Europe now expect to submit as many as 60 applications before landing their first job1, perfecting your CV should be a priority.
It’s a tricky business, and you will find that different employers have different opinions about things such as font, design and whether to include certain elements such as hobbies. However, no matter which sector you work in, your CV should have the same essential elements and should ultimately show potential employers, at a glance, what you can do for them.
Whilst overloading the page with information can be tempting, you should keep it to a minimum (maximum two sides of A4) and tailor the information to the role. It is very rare that you would send the same CV for more than one job or company. Use your covering letter to expand upon the most relevant points (this should be no longer than one side of A4).
Use the job description provided (if there is one) and make sure that you address each element in it, as the employer is likely to use this as an indicator of whether you have the required skills and experience.
Presentation often gets overlooked. Whilst content is key, it may not always be read if your presentation isn’t up to scratch. With so much competition, particularly in the Creative Industries, employers have a mounting number of CVs to search through, and need to be able to see the relevant information at a glance.
Whilst there are no written rules for formatting, you should use the same font throughout, align bullet points and keep the font size legible. We would recommend size 11 in a sans serif font such as Arial or Calibri. Never send anything off without triple checking your spelling and grammar – first impressions count for everything!
Passion and enthusiasm is always the best way to get noticed, but there are other ways you can think about standing out from the crowd. Employers within the Creative Industries may want to see a demonstration of creativity and initiative in your CV.
Include links to online portfolios and showreels (which again, should be short, sweet and include your best work). If you’re going for a role that involves design or photography then you may wish to incorporate one of your images into the CV to demonstrate your talent.
More and more employers are recruiting online, so it makes sense to utilise the web in your job search, opening up a world of possibilities:
- Websites such as Visual CV allow you to embed audio, video and PowerPoint files into your profile and send employers the link.
- Use YouTube or websites such as Meet the Real Me to make a video CV. Make sure your clip is interesting but professional. Tell a story which sells your strengths or let the company know what you can offer them.
- Keep your LinkedIn page up-to-date. Join groups and invite relevant people to join your network.
- Look into new ways to display your CV on social networking sites such as Twitter (see @twit_res) and Facebook.
It’s easy to get carried away with gimmicks and branding, but it is important not to go overboard, and ensure that the content and messages you are trying to get across are not diluted.
Jobseekers are becoming more and more creative in their efforts to find work, both good and bad, from billboard ads to stalking executives (not advised!). Here are a few of our favourites:
- Alex, an animation graduate, delivered company Blue Zoo a present – a jigsaw of a blue zoo which she had made, with a note explaining how she would ‘fit in’. Find out what happened in this video.
- Jeanne Hwang wanted to work for Pinterest, so she created a Pinterest CV. She got a job offer from Pintics, founder of Pinterest analytics.
- Copywriter Alec Brownstein got noticed through a Google AdWords campaign costing him only $6. Watch how he did it.
- Ian Greenleigh targeted marketing managers and executives with Facebook ads.
- Eric Gandhi designed a CV that looks like Google search results page.
Share your hints, tips and stories about finding work on Twitter #creativejobtips.
1 Figures from a survey conducted by the trendence institute in Berlin