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The 10 Most Obvious Mistakes Creatives Make In Their CV

12 Jul 00:00 By Lawrence Akers

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​The 10 Most Obvious Mistakes Creatives Make In Their CV

When it comes to CVs, even the most gifted creatives can falter. Given that most people don't have to produce one on a regular basis, it's easy to understand why. When one is needed, it's also easy to overlook the basics or to overindulge in the aesthetics. Here's a list of the top 10 mistakes visual creatives often make with their CVs and how to fix them.

1. Missing Basic Contact Details

It may seem fundamental, but some creatives forget to include their full name, phone number, and email address. How can you land that dream job if they can't reach you? Ensure your contact details are accurate and easily visible.

2. Neglecting The Folio

A visual creative without a folio? It's unheard of! Make sure to include a snapshot of your finest works in your CV or provide a link to your online portfolio. Additionally, make sure your folio is ready to go before you send out your applications. There is nothing more disheartening than going to an online folio and seeing the words 'Coming Soon' appear on the screen.

3. Not Hyperlinking URLs

If you're using an online folio, ensure that the URL is hyperlinked in your CV. This might seem like a small detail however I've personally experienced some CV's that wouldn't allow a cut and paste, and if the URLs are long, it can become a truly frustrating experience and slow hiring managers down.

4. Misunderstanding The CV's Purpose

Being upfront, your CV is a sales tool for your career. Nothing more, nothing less. Its purpose is to let someone know where you've worked and what you achieved during your time there. It offers an insight into your skills and experience. Too often, I've seen CVs that have verged on self indulgent when what it really needs it to be kept concise, focused, and tailored to the role you're applying for.

5. Boring The Hiring Manager

You're a creative! Let that shine through in your CV. Experiment with layouts and typography. Use design to enhance readability and highlight essential information. Your CV literally only has a few seconds to convey the information that a hiring manager needs to see, so use your design nous to layout your CV in a way that allows the right information to 'pop'.

6. Over-Educating on Design

Remember, your CV isn't a lecture on design. Avoid going overboard with the design jargon. You don't want to appear condescending to hiring managers who are likely well-versed in design themselves, and you don't want to confuse hiring managers who aren't. It's great that you're passionate about design, but your CV isn't the place to put quotes from your favourite designers.

7. Focusing on Duties Rather Than Achievements

Talk about your accomplishments, not just your job duties. The responsibilities of your role might get you an interview but what you achieved in the role is going to be what secures the job for you. Did you increase brand visibility? Improve UX? Let them know!

8. Not Starting with Recent Work

Ensure your CV follows a reverse chronological order. Hiring managers are more interested in your current skills and recent experiences. I know this might seem obvious but it happens more often than you might think! You're not the same person now that you were 10 years ago, so why start with your first job from 20 years ago? Start with right now!

9. Starting with Education

On a similar point, If you've been in the game for a while, your experience carries more weight than your education. Start your CV with your most recent role, followed by your education.

10. Failing to Make Key Information Pop

I touched on this before however I can't begin to stress on how important this is. Remember, hiring managers often scan CVs in under 6 seconds. Ensure your most important information leaps off the page. Use design elements to draw attention to key details, and avoid getting lost in a sea of words.

Note: I used the term hiring managers here. This term covers both recruiters and other hiring managers, whether it be a design studio GM, corporate in-house HR, or any other person charged with the responsibility of hiring someone. The reality is that, right now, there is an overwhelming number of applications coming through for jobs. While each application is reviewed, it would be impossible to spend too much time on each application which is why taking in the key points above is essential for your success as well as making it easier for the person who is managing that job.

Wrapping Up: The Perfect CV for Visual Creatives

Avoiding these mistakes can be the difference between your CV ending up in the "no" pile or the "let's interview them" pile. Remember, your CV is your first impression. Make it count! Happy job hunting, creative geniuses!