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.

Product student working

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.

Keep it personal

If you are not stiff and dull don't produce a stiff and boring CV. This doesn't mean going overboard with the design of the CV but you do need to make it 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 the 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 (e.g packaging design, interaction designer 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 can make your CV stand out over competitors. Include design awards or competitions you have entered such as D&AD, either as part of your course or individually, even if you didn't win. 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 design software is appropriate for YOU to include. Remember that Ravensbourne Short courses gives you an opportunity to build skills in you may lack.

  • Cinema 4D
  • AutoCAD 
  • Autodesk 3DS Max 
  • Autodesk 
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop 
  • Adobe Indesign
  • Google Sketchup 
  • Rhino
  • Mental Ray 
  • Vray 
  • Movie Maker 
  • Sony Vegas 
  • Final Cut
  • SolidWorks 
  • ProEngineer
  • Mechatronics

Programming experience, concept generation, 2D drawing, 3D modeling and rendering sketching, prototyping and fabrication, and 3D printing skills could also be included where relevant.

Demand for Revit skills is growing, especially in larger firms as it simplifies the communication between contractors, and designers, so if you know how to use it, say so.

When searching for jobs, always look through what skills (type of software, level of proficiency, etc) companies ask in their adverts and make sure your CV reflects that for each job you are applying for - don't lie about your knowledge just make sure your CV shows what they are looking for.

When you find a desired job or internship but your qualifications/experience is not on the required level yet focus on the gap between you and your desired job. Improve yourself (and your CV) according to what companies looking for. Never stop checking job adverts and requirements, it is the most up-to-date feedback about your job market.

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 as well

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

Sample CVs

You can get feedback on your CV at a Careers and Industry Liaison  drop-in session.

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. The National careers service website can give you more information. 

Here is an example of a good CV found on the Prospect website.

CVs can be creative, here is a great example of that found on the Behance website.