We all know the important of having a great CV, but what can you do to make your CV a cut above the rest? To answer this question we contacted hiring managers in the creative/advertising industry and asked them what they want to see when looking at a CV, and just as importantly, what makes their blood boil?!
According to Charlie Wolcott, HR Manager at Syzygy, CVs should not be moulded into a particular format, as he sees them being “truly reflective of the person behind it”, and therefore their “ability to organise and communicate will usually show through.”
Maria Stark, Head of Production at Glue Isobar, says that she likes it when people use a “short, sharp introduction outlining their main skills, experience and ambitions”, as well as “a sentence explaining why they’re passionate about digital/advertising/production”. A clear list of accounts and projects you’ve worked on also makes it easier for a client to see what you have done. It’s also essential to be honest about your role within a project – don’t make it up and don’t just describe what the project was. It’s more important that you communicate your input. Maria also mentions that applicants are unlikely to get a response from a her if there is “no indication whatsoever of that person’s role in the campaign”. If relevant, links to websites are helpful so that the client can see your work directly. However, Maria is not a fan of photos and doesn’t need to see details relating to your DOB/marital status/drivers license etc. It’s just not relevant and - more importantly – not in line with UK discrimination law. http://www.equalities.gov.uk/equality_act_2010.aspx
Structure and presentation
Craig Lawrie, Head of Digital at Initials Marketing prefers it when people stick to within two pages and don’t have long, irrelevant personal statements. Structure and presentation is also important to him. Most of all, he says that candidates should mention their achievements; not just a re-hash of their job description! These achievements should be in bullet format so that it is easy to read.
One major point that they all mentioned was grammar and spelling! This may sound obvious but it’s a common bugbear for all hiring managers and happens even with the most senior of candidates so please make sure you get someone else to look over your CV, even if you have proof-read it a million times, as you’re likely to have missed something that someone else might spot. Better a friend or relative see this, before a potential employer!
Other essential points to consider
Make sure your dates are clear. Include months and years, not just 2010 to 2011; that could be a year or just a week! Be prepared to explain any major gaps in your CV – if you’ve been travelling for 6 months for instance, put it on your CV and in the correct place for example;
- August 2010 to present – freelance digital creative
- January 2010 to July 2010 – travelling across central America
- August 2010 to present day – contract position
This makes it clear to your future employer exactly what you have been doing during this time.
Personal statements are good, just keep to a short and informative paragraph summarising your experience to date and what you are looking for now. Make it as clear and concise as possible. Put this at the top and then go straight into your work experience, making it easier for someone to read. Ensure your job title and the company at which you worked are both clear.
Last but not least…
Don’t lie on your CV – you are only going to get found out sooner or later! If you say you have qualifications and/or experience which you don’t have, you are opening yourself up to failure and expectations beyond what you can deliver. Honesty is always the best policy.
Sticking to these rules, you will have yourself a very effective and strong CV; easy for employers to read and quick to respond to.
If you have any questions or comments about this blog, please contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org