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If you’re applying for graduate roles in the creative industry, both the presentation of your CV and the content are crucial to nail. Here’s our top tips for how to create a standout CV for creative roles that shows off your skillset and flare, to secure your dream graduate job! Click the button below to check out our free creative CV templates for students and graduates!
The look and design of your CV is especially important with creative graduate roles - it gives you the chance before an interview to show employers your skillset, as well as making an impactful and lasting impression.
- Using design software / programmes
If you’re applying for design roles, creating your CV on Adobe Photoshop or InDesign or other design software is a great way to show potential employers you already know how to successfully use a programme they may be looking for experience in and really show off your creative abilities.
Alternatively, if you don’t have Adobe InDesign, Photoshop or other design software, Canva is a great easy to use graphic-design programme which is free, and you can use on all PC’s and even on your phone.
- Balance creativity and professionalism
Don’t go over the top with hundreds of colours, borders and graphics to show you can use every single feature. Keep your graphics appropriate and don’t let them distract from your content, they should be there to enhance. Your CV still needs to be easy to read and professional looking, stick to a few creative features and execute these well.
- Choose a colour scheme that reinforces what you're saying
The choice of colour scheme can really influence the tone of your CV, don’t choose a faint text colour, try and pick bold and vibrant colours, you want your CV to grasp the reader’s eye and to make a lasting impact. In turn don’t make your CV a rainbow, three colours is a good number to stick to.
Choose tones that go together, and colours that reflect your personality, hobbies or skillset, this will help brand your CV and reinforce what you’re saying.
- Make graphics multi-functional
Try to make features multi-functional, where you can add in graphics that both showcase your creativity and demonstrate your skillset, for example, graphs weighting your skills or graphics to show your interests. You could also replace conventional features with something more creative where permitting, for example replacing bullet points with a creative graphic.
- Take into account the company and role
Consider the brand and message of the company you are applying for and take this into account. Research their own branding and see if you can take inspiration from theirs, such as using one of their brand colours. Make sure your CV is also appropriate to the role and company you are applying to.
Here’s a few of our favourite creative CV’s designs!
Creating a stylish graduate CV that looks impressive is one thing, but content is king, here’s what to include to impress employers with your creative graduate CV.
- List previous work experience in detail
With creative roles, employers are really interested in seeing if you’ve had any relevant industry work experience. Make sure your ‘Work Experience’ section is at the top of your CV and easy for an employer to locate, the top half of your CV is what an employer will focus and make a decision on first, so don’t waste time with huge graphics of your name or headers. Be sure to include any placements, internships, freelance work, or any relevant paid work you’ve done, listing the tasks you were doing, the software/programmes you were using, and any results achieved for each role.
Listing your previous work experience in detail lets employers know that you’ve previously had experience in similar roles and that you have the necessary skills to be a great asset to their company.
- Include a ‘Technical skills’ section
To make you’re your creative skillset stand out event further, add a ‘Technical Skills’ subcategory and list all the software you know how to use, for example social media scheduling software, versions of Adobe or any marketing tools, and include if you have any qualifications in these or have been on any training programmes. This clearly shows employers the software you know how to use.
- Link your portfolio
Whilst not all creative roles require a portfolio, if you have an online portfolio of your previous work, link this in your CV where you can. This shows great initiative, and whilst a CV ‘talks the talk’, having a portfolio shows that you can actually ‘walk the walk’ by providing real evidence of what you have previously done and can do.
Want to follow a creative career path but don’t have any previous work experience? Don’t panic! Here’s our guide on how to write a creative graduate CV with no experience:
- Highlight your qualifications
If you’re lacking in work experience, your qualifications are going to be one of the main focuses for an employer. Make sure your CV clearly shows your qualifications, and be sure to list any impressive grades you got in relevant modules, e.g:
‘3rd year Dissertation ‘Brand Identity and it’s Affect on Consumer Behaviour’ (75%)
- Show enthusiasm and interest
Showing enthusiasm and a real interest in the role you’re applying for is a great way to show employers you’ve got what it takes despite not having all the creative work experience. Your ‘Hobbies’/ ‘Extra-curricular’ section is a great way to show this. Here you want to include any examples where you demonstrated creativity, perhaps you have your own blog, or set up a social media account for something your passionate about, or you worked on your University’s magazine.
This shows employers you’re clearly interested in the field by choosing to spend your time partaking in these activities. Treat these extra-curricular activities like jobs, just because it wasn’t a paid role doesn’t mean you didn’t gain any valuable skills, make sure to list the tasks you were doing and the skills you gained.
Your personal statement is another great way to show your enthusiasm and interest in the role. Focus part of your statement on your chosen subject and explain what you’ve participated in or read that shows your interest, for example was it a particular person or project that inspired your interest in the field?
- Experiment with graphics
If you haven’t had a lot of experience in design software, have a play around and teach yourself! Use an online tutorial to learn how to make infographic elements, this shows employers that whilst you might not have previous experience with specific software, you can self-teach and pick up skills quickly. Try this simple tutorial for creating your own infographics on Adobe InDesign. Or use Canva, it’s a simplified graphic-design tool which uses a drag-and-drop format so you can easily create a stylish and unique looking CV.
- Get your LinkedIn up to date
Creating a LinkedIn profile is a hugely important part of the job application process, your profile has the potential to strengthen your CV, establish you as a credible and highly attractive candidate and boost your chances of getting graduate jobs. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and as impressive as it can be, here’s our top tips for how to boost your LinkedIn profile!
Volunteering is usually associated with giving to others; but it can also help you get a job if you’re lacking in work experience. Don’t forget to list if you’ve previously volunteered on your CV, it has a range of benefits that all help add value to your CV. Find out more about the benefits of volunteering here.
Your personal statement is your chance to show an employer who you are, explain why you’re suited to their role and state what you can offer a company, here’s a few tips on how to tailor your personal statement when applying to creative graduate roles.
- List your University degree
Start by listing your University degree subject, result and where you studied. If you’ve studied a creative degree such as Graphic Design, Marketing, Creative Writing etc, this shows employers you’ve already got a great foundation in the field. E.g 'A recent 2.1 Design graduate from Goldsmiths, University of London seeking entry-level positions in Graphic Design'.
- Pick your most impressive previous experience
Briefly list your most impressive and relevant industry work experience (your personal statement shouldn’t go into a lot of detail, but get straight to the point) and use this to demonstrate one of your creative skills, e.g: ‘During at internship at Fourleaf, a leading graphic design agency, I developed (X creative skill)’
- Provide examples of your creative skills using buzz words
You then want to provide evidence of your creative skills, don’t list them all, but highlight the most impressive and relevant to the role. This is also your opportunity to include any buzz words, some good ones for creative roles are: ‘creative flare’, ‘eye for detail’, ‘artistic ability’, ‘content creation’, e.g: “During an internship at Fourleaf, a leading graphic design agency, I developed an excellent eye for detail and really built my Adobe Illustrator skills”.
Stating the type of environment you’re looking for is another way to set up an example of one of your skills, e.g “I am now looking for a challenging and faced-paced environment where I can utilise my creative flare and grow with the company”.
“A recent 2.1 Design graduate from Goldsmiths, University of London seeking entry-level positions in Graphic Design. During an internship at Fourleaf, a leading graphic design agency, I developed an excellent eye for detail and built my Adobe Illustrator skills. I am now looking for a challenging and faced-paced environment where I can utilise my creative flare and grow with the company.”
Applying for a graduate Social Media role? Here’s a few top tips to get your CV noticed!
- Highlight relevant skills
Social media is all about building connections, whether this be with customers, companies or within your own team. In your CV you want to highlight your communication skills and ability to talk to a range of people, perhaps you were part of a sports team or society at University, where your communication skills really developed.
- Showcase previous Social Media Success
One of the best ways to impress an employer is to showcase your previous social media results. When listing your work experience, include facts and statistics to show how you previously grew a company’s social media channels, perhaps you grew their Instagram followers by 200% or one of your tweets was retweeted X amount of times, or a YouTube video received X amount of views. Demonstrate your creativity at the same time and use graphs to demonstrate these results. Including facts and figures of your previous results is a great way to show an employer you’ve had success engaging followers and growing a community, and that you can deliver for their company.
- Show you know your social platforms
Showing you know how to use the basic social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest) is a given, but what will help make your graduate social media CV stand out is showing you know your scheduling software and more advanced programmes. Showing you know how to use scheduling software adds credibility to your CV by demonstrating to employers you know how to plan your content and ensure the best results – include a sentence in your skill section such as ‘proficient in Buffer/HootSuite/Publer’. If you’ve had experience running any paid promotions on a social platform be sure to include this as well, this demonstrates to employers your social media skillset is advanced.
- Get Analytical
It’s important not only to show you can create successful social media campaigns, but also to show you know how to judge the success of campaigns. If you’ve had previous experience using Google Analytics, or any other metric software include this, it shows to employers you know how to identify trends and optimise the performance of campaigns.
Applying for a graduate Marketing role? Here’s a few top tips for a standout CV!
- Show off a wide range of skills
Unless you’re applying for a highly specialised role, you need to demonstrate a wide range of skills with graduate marketing roles. Here’s a few good example skills to include, and with each make sure to list examples.
- SEO – show your knowledge of how to improve web performance through techniques such as keyword usage
- Budgeting – state you know the importance of and how to meet internal and client budgets
- Creativity – demonstrate your creative flare
- Analytics – show you know how to review the performance of marketing campaigns and track analytics
- Copywriting – demonstrate you can effectively produce interesting and relevant content with a consistent tone of voice across all platforms
- Keep it on brand
Keeping your CV on brand is especially important when applying to marketing roles, it shows if you can successfully brand yourself, you can successfully brand their business. Here’s a few tips on how to brand yourself in the best way possible:
Create a standout personal statement with a confident tone of voice. Don’t waffle, get straight to the point and state your areas of expertise using relevant keywords.
Design your CV to look attractive, with a clean style and font, unlike design and more art skilled based roles you don’t need to go over the top with graphics.
Make sure your grammar is perfect, a typo in a CV speaks volumes. Grammarly is a great free spell-check software.
Make sure you have a consistent tone of voice and keep your language professional but not overflowing with buzzwords, you still want it to sound natural.
If you’re interested in a creative career, you’re looking for a job at the right time; the creative industries are growing faster than any UK sectors.
Find out more about what a graduate career in the creative industry is actually like!
Applying for a more specialised technical role? Check out our proffesional CV guide with templates here.