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Creating a Creative CV

When applying for a job, you want your CV to create a long and lasting impression. In particular, if you’re applying for a job in a creative industry (design, art, media, etc.), a traditional CV may not cut it. That’s when a creative CV can help you stand out from the crowd. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of a creative CV.

A creative CV usually differs from a standard CV in its layout and its design. This can include using bright colours to highlight certain sections, bold and unique typography to draw attention or adopting an entirely different format.

This type of CV is therefore particularly suitable for graphic designers, photographers, painters, people who work in media or in other creative professions (e.g. cookery, architecture).

Making your CV creative and eye-catching

There are plenty of ways to stand out from other candidates for a position with a creative CV. For example, a cook could create a CV in the form of a menu. Someone looking for work in the media could create a video CV, poster or infographic of their CV. A journalist could present his CV in the form of a newspaper.

You can put your CV on a package, create your own website or create a CV consisting of images. There are many more examples of creative CVs available on the internet, in particular, on Pinterest.

While there are plenty of options around, keep in mind that almost everything has already been done. If you really want to be original, you’ll have to come up with something surprising.

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Some of the most popular types of creative CVs include; Infographics: these are visual representations of your skills and experience. Video CVs: these give you the opportunity to show recruiters the person behind the CV, through a video where you can introduce yourself and your work. CV website: this is a digital version of your paper-based CV, which displays your portfolio and/or the projects you’ve worked on.

Advantages of a creative CV

With over hundreds or even thousands of applications received on average for the one sought-after position and recruiters spending very few seconds scanning CVs, creating a creative CV can be a great way to stand out from the crowd.

For instance, creative CVs can help highlight web development skills for online CVs, filming skills for video CVs and design skills for 3D CVs. Furthermore, a creative CV shows initiative and that you’ve gone the extra mile. Employers and recruiters will immediately see how much time you have put into creating your CV and take it as an indication of your enthusiasm and passion for the job.

Disadvantages of a creative CV

Creating a creative and original CV can take a lot of time. If the deadline for your desired job is approaching, then you’re better off updating your traditional CV.

Making adjustments to your creative CV to match the position as closely as possible isn't always easy. For example, a video CV will need to be re-recorded, a package CV reprinted and an infographic updated. Of course, with speculative applications, you’ll have more time to make these changes.

The main disadvantage of a creative CV is that it may not pass the ATS (Applicant Tracking System), which many companies use at the first stage of an application process. These systems screen CVs for keywords that indicate whether a candidate has the required skills and experience.

Is a creative CV appropriate?

In conservative industries (banking, law, medicine, etc.) or work environments (e.g. office management or administration), it’s probably not appropriate to send a creative CV. In those cases, you can still ‘pump’ your CV a bit by using colour or playing around with the design. However, it’s still best to stick to neutral colours (black, blue, grey, silver, dark purple) and avoid making it look as if your CV has clashed with a pot of paint.

If you’re not sure whether to make use of colour and design in your CV, take a look at the company’s website to get a feel for the tone, wording and imagery used. You will soon see whether a creative CV would be appropriate.

As a rule of thumb, if a company has a formal dress code, then a creative CV will probably not be welcomed.

Too loud, too funny or too focused on yourself and your creative CV can work against you. So, make sure that your creative CV adds value to your application.

While it’s fine to emphasise your creative or out-of-the-box thinking skills with your CV, ask yourself whether these are required for the position you’re applying for. If not, err on the safe side and stick to a text-based CV.

Does a creative CV match your personality?

A creative CV isn’t for everyone. If you’re a shy and retiring person, then a CV with a wacky design will probably look out of place and leave hiring managers confused. In that case, it’s better to opt for a traditional CV.

However, it’s still possible to bring a standard CV to life through your personal statement or profile where you can let a bit of your personality shine through and by making use of action verbs.

You could also consider using a CV builder such as Jobseeker, which offers a number of templates to create a stunning first impression.