A new take on creative CVs

Back in 2014 we wrote a blog advising candidates on how they could make their CV more creative. We gave tips on when it is appropriate to use a more visual CV, how to create one and how to make sure it is still effective.

Three years on we thought it would be worth revisiting the topic. As with most industries, recruitment moves at a fast pace with new technology and trends impacting how we do our jobs. Those changes have, to some extent, changed how many approach their CVs.

In this blog I thought it would be useful to go through a few updates we think candidates should consider if they want to make their CVs more creative – in 2017. If you have any other advice for fellow job seekers, why not leave a comment below?

Think about the reader when designing your CV

Recently we received a CV from a high-calibre project manager candidate. It immediately caught our attention. Instead of being a plain document with some simple formatting, the candidate had made the effort to carefully design her CV in a way that made key information stand out and easily digested by recruiters.

The CV included columns to segment the information, coloured headings to make sections stand out, simple diagrams to show a bit of her personality and scales to show her proficiency in areas such as foreign languages.

Even though the CV was more creative than others we had seen in the past, it still got across important information and gave a good level of detail. The CV wasn’t about showing off creative skills, instead it was designed to be easy to read and engaging. The candidate had really thought about what we want to see as recruiters.

Have you considered a video CV?

Anne recently wrote a blog discussing the benefits of video CVs for hiring managers. But it may be something that you want to think about as a candidate too.

A video CV is simply a short video that portrays everything that you would normally include in a traditional CV. In many ways a video CV gives you more freedom to express your personality and abilities as a communicator.

Before you opt for a video CV though you might want to think about whether it is appropriate for the job and sector. If the role is in media or requires you to be customer facing, then it might be a good option. Make sure it is well filmed though and always have a traditional CV to hand in case the employer requests it.

It might also be worth keeping in mind any potential downfalls of using a video CV. Much like we don’t recommend applicants include a photo of themselves in a traditional CV, you might find some employers are concerned about the employment legalities and potential for discrimination as a result of a video CV.

Whatever the format, always show the value you have to offer

When creating your CV think about the areas that a recruiter will first look at. Is it the header section? A right hand column? Will they listen to a video from the start or might they miss the first few seconds?

Wherever this ‘space’ is, it is the most valuable part of your CV – the very first impression a recruiter makes will likely be based off this space.

Use this space to highlight your key skills – what you can bring to the organisation. Use the remainder of your CV to reinforce these key skills, demonstrating how you have developed them and the results they have brought.

Some things don’t go out of style

As much as we see new CV trends coming and going, particularly around making your CV more creative, it’s important to remember that some things are never going to change.

Brevity, avoiding jargon and using real examples will always be a feature of a good CV – whether it’s in a video format or designed using Photoshop.

With that in mind, always remember to go back and review the basics in your CV – no matter how creative you have made it. Some things will always be essential in your CV – contact information, previous experience, relevant qualifications. Make sure you are still providing these in your CV.

Don’t forget about everything else that goes along with your CV too. Remember to send a great cover letter and check your social media presence is professional, in case any recruiters search for you once they receive your CV that you’ve worked so hard to create.

About the Author

Camilla Mitcham

Camilla Mitcham

Recruitment Partner

Camilla is a recruitment partner at Anne Corder Recruitment. An expert in spotting a great CV, Camilla blogs for Anne Corder Recruitment offering tips and advice for job seekers on standing out, managing their job hunt and more.