Graphic design is a creative and dynamic profession. Therefore, in order to bag yourself a job, you need to stand out against the crowd to get a recruiter’s attention. However, while you still need to show off your innovation and creativity, your CV also needs to be professional. To help you strike the right balance, below we give you our top tips to boost your graphic design CV.
Link to an online portfolio/attached examples
The best way to highlight your skills is to show them off visually. This way, you’re not just saying how talented you are with Photoshop, you’re showing it too. If you link to your online portfolio, it will help to give you an edge over other candidates and make you more memorable. After all, showing that you’re creative and can think outside the box is essential as a designer.
Plus, if the recruiter sees a piece of work they love, they’re more likely to invite you in for an interview. However if doing this, you need to make sure that your portfolio is up to scratch with current work that shows off your skills as if it’s outdated or not well put together, it could have the opposite effect. This can also apply to whether the work shown is relevant for the role, so ensure it has examples of the type of work they’re looking for.
Another popular option with designers these days is actually adding some work examples on the pages after their CV, as detailed above perhaps just do this with your best and most relevant work. Read our blog on design portfolios here.
Showcase your design skills
Think of your entire CV as a design project but not necessarily from the point of view of it being super creative, as you shouldn’t forget that if it has to be sat on recruitment agencies’ databases it needs to be searchable by their software. By this we mean make sure it’s clean, your fonts are all the same, your lines are all matching and there are not any parts out of such, as this will not look great to a Head of Creative.
If you don’t use Microsoft Word or a similar word processor programme to write it, and would prefer to use a programme such as Photoshop to design your CV then ensure you save it as a searchable PDF, and not a flattened image while potentially being prepared with a Word version, should it be required.
If you do air on the creative side, try to follow a similar structure to a CV. You will need to explain your skills, experience, qualifications and employment history, ensuring that the right buzzwords and keywords around your experience and software capability are included, but keeping it neat, smart and creative.
While the usual advice for CVs is to save them as a word document, a graphic designer CV can be saved as a PDF as it’s important the formatting isn’t messed with too much. Just be prepared that the recruiter may require a copy, without your contact details on and their logo, so perhaps you can sort this out for them if you have a chance, as opposed to them adding it.
Don’t go overboard
While you need to show that you are inventive and skilled, you shouldn’t go overboard with the style or presentation of your CV, anything too out there could be risky and ruin your chances of landing the job so be cautious with your approach as well as creative.
While structuring your CV as a 3D object sounds cool, it’s actually quite impractical for the recruiter to read. So be sensible and remember that it still needs to look professional and contain all the essential information.
If you’re choosing a colour for your CV, avoid really bright designs that look over the top. And make sure you avoid common mistakes such as including a photograph of yourself or using a hard to read font as these are generally turn offs for employers. Also if the CV is sent electronically, the recruiter may print it off, so make sure you consider how this will look when you’re designing it.
Leave out unnecessary information
It can be easy to want to include as much information as possible in a hope to impress the recruiter, certain facts and hobbies just don’t have a place on a CV and may actually distract from the key information you want to show off.
Hiring Managers are busy people and they will want to have the ability to quickly find out if your skills and experience match up to their requirements, so make it easy for them to ensure that your CV meets the shortlist by highlighting all the key skills clearly.
Make sure your CV stands out by showing off your creativity, and remember that this doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with bright colours or crazy designs. A well-thought out clean, tidy and professional layout will go a long way towards your CV making the shortlist.