CVs for the creative sectors

It always amazes me how many people applying for jobs in the creative sectors, who I know have the most amazing design skills don’t actually apply these to the CV itself.

Perhaps after years of generic CV advice, and with a fear that employers can be judgemental about a non-traditional approach, candidates are unwilling to take risks. It seems to me however that demonstrating what you do – as long as it’s done without any naïve gimmicks – can only enhance your image as an expert. Having consulted current employers in these sectors, this view is confirmed.

Links to an online portfolio within the CV seems like the absolute minimum that could be expected. Going further and providing immediate visible evidence of your abilities appears to be the best option.

As with all creative work however – the message really matters. Tell them who you are and what you are about while you are at it. Good content and good design should coexist harmoniously!

The message then needs to be backed up with evidence; since anyone can describe themselves as a ‘creative marketing strategist’ or some such string of adjectives. Saying it does not make it so. Your competitors for the job will be saying these things also – I am almost certain. So, what do you have that is different and how are you going to communicate this?

The main points to remember when writing a CV for the creative industries are as follows:

Avoid gimmicks 

  • Do treat your job search like a professional marketing campaign; the objectives being to first get you shortlisted and then selected.

Is an email with a bland couple of sentences and an attachment the best way to show off what you do? As Carl Buckley, Managing Director of Urban River Creative suggests – print something and send it to them so that it is memorable.

  • Don’t implement a badly executed campaign that takes your creativity off on a tangent. You can remain on course by reference to the ‘brief’, or in other words, the combined wisdom of the job advert, person specification, job description and your own research, beginning with the company’s website.

Take a risk

Candidates should not be afraid to use design led documents where this is a vital skill that needs to be showcased:

“If you’re applying for a creative role within a creative industry – It’s obvious really; be creative!”

(Chris Henderson, Managing Director, Climb Creative)

The importance of content

Don’t assume that because it’s a creative job the content doesn’t matter. An employer is likely to judge you if you can’t write in proper English. It’s their job to assess what you have put in front of them. It demonstrates whether or not you care. It also gives a clue as to how you will be communicating with their clients if they hire you!

Thanks to my friends at Urban River Creative and Climb Creative for their contribution to this article.

See the full article on how to write CVs for the creative industries


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CV Writer and Interview Coach. Blogging about ways to improve your CV writing and job searching experience.

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