CV advice

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.

Geneveive _Dennis _CVCV example sourced from graphic designer & illustrator, Genevieve Dennis. 

Writing a CV

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.

The range of careers that motion designers go into is so broad that you need to check what is appropriate to the area you want to go into.

Keep it personal

If you are not stiff and dull don't produce a stiff and dull CV.

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. 

Profile section

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 (motion 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 like D&AD, ISTD, RSA, CSD, YCN Promax will interest employers.

If there has been any press coverage of these awards then add this in too. Be sure to mention the brands 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 skills you may need in the future.

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Indesign 
  • Acrobat Pro
  • After Effects
  • Cinema 4d 
  • FinalCut pro
  • Flash
  • Final Cut
  • Dreamweaver 
  • HTML 
  • JavaScript 
  • Maya 
  • Nuke 
  • Houdini
  • Mudbox
  • Wordpress and Coding experience, 2D drawing, 3D Sketching, typography and printmaking skills should all be highlighted where relevant for you. 

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 should 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 check it after you've read it through.

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 as well

When you are designing your CV apply the same branding to your business cards. Be professional with a well-designed business card.

CV's aimed at the games industry

If you are looking to work in games ensure that your CV is completely geared to this area. State in your profile that this is what you want to do and ensure your hobbies section is full of games you play and interests that relate to that area. Include details of sketches, 3D modeling or even level design or game mods you've done in your spare time.

Some useful advice for animation graduates wanting to work in games can be found at Datascope’s site.

For advice on other industries visit the CV section in our other course pages.

Sample CVs

Make sure your CV is appropriate for your market and experience. You can get feedback from the Careers and Industry Liaison team during a drop-in session with them.

Search online and check out other’s CV and LinkedIn profiles to get a sense of what works but be sure to keep yours original and appropriate. One page is ideal- 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.

Your own CV may need to be more subtle depending on the market you are approaching. For some ideas look at: