Getting your CV right is vital to your success in your chosen career. The more specific and tailored you make your CV for each job role the better you chances are. Portfolios/showreels/demoreels are also key in getting yourself noticed.
There is no perfect way to write a CV. Spend time researching how your competitors present themselves online and then come up with a CV that represents your skills and experience. See our general guide to CVs - some specific points for graphic designers below.
Keep it personal
If you are not stiff and dull don't produce a stiff and boring CV.
Graphic designers are expected to show their eye for detail and layout in their CV. This doesn't mean going overboard with the design but you do need to produce a well laid out document with short snappy copy. No one wants to read lists of generic statements, so focus on what you have achieved instead. This way you can show what you can do rather than say what you can do.
Target your CV every time
Ensure your profile is targeted for every job you apply for, and think each time of what will be of interest to that particular employer. Mirror the job description in your word choice or make a subtle reference to the brand/product. If you have an interests section, make sure this section reflects your enthusiasm for the area of work you are applying for.
Call this section whatever you want, e.g. ‘about me’ but just make sure it is concise. The aim is for the reader to understand what your speciality is (packaging design, typography, etc.) as well as your future goals and ambitions. Be upbeat but do not oversell yourself - it just sounds arrogant.
Awards and competitions section
Awards make your CV stand out over competitors. Include design awards or competitions you have entered either as part of your course or individually, even if you didn't win. Just taking part in competitions for D&AD, ISTD, RSA, CSD, YCN and the Banco Sandander all interest employers.
If there has been any press coverage of these awards then add this too. Be sure to mention the brand the work is associated with and what you produced.
Skills to highlight
Consider which of the following skills are appropriate for you to include, remember that Ravensbourne short courses give you an opportunity to build on skills you may lack.
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Indesign
- Acrobat Pro
- Final Cut
Ensure all experience and education is listed in reverse chronological order.
Finally, put your online portfolio URL at the top of the page alongside your name, which will be formatted like a letterhead.
Do not rely on spell check alone
We all know how important good grammar and spelling is. Spell check can autocorrect 'Ravensbourne' or change 'form' into 'from' so do take the time to proofread thoroughly. Get someone else to help if necessary.
Check your CV file size and attachments
If you decide to include a condensed, PDF of work, edit each ‘taster’ you send to reflect what the company you are approaching do, and keep the file size below 5MB so it can pass through most email systems.
Save your CV as your name, company sent to (don't forget to edit every time if you add this) and a title. Then save as a PDF and check it opens on PCs and Macs.
Develop a business card
When you are designing your CV apply the same branding to your business cards. Be professional with a well-designed business card.
Make sure your CV is appropriate for your market and experience. You can get feedback during a careers drop-in session.
Search online and check out other CV and Linkedin profiles to get a sense of what works but be sure to keep your CV original and appropriate. One page is ideal and definitely no more than 2 pages. You can always use 2 columns instead of one so that you can maximise the space on one page.
Some examples to consider here. Your own CV may need to be more subtle depending on the market you are approaching.