Your Design CV should portray you at your best. Employers usually scan a creative CV in about 20-30 seconds, after which they should be left with a good understanding of what value you can add to their design practice.
After many years of discussing Design CVs with the world’s top companies, we recommend the following structure.
- Start with your profile. This should be a paragraph profiling your career to date. You want to give an overview of your experience, awards and achievements. It should be engaging and ensure that the prospective employer has a reason to read on—talk of your skills with authority and conviction.
- List your experience. This should be the most recent first and include: Job title, company name, dates (critical), location and a brief description of the role (it is important here to mention any big brands you have worked with and the extent of your involvement in these projects.
- Profile your education. It would help if you started with your University degree, including dates, subject, level achieved (i.e. 2:1), and University attended (add any awards won here, too). Then add your college education with the same information. You can also add your secondary school information, although this is not always necessary, less so the more advanced you are in your career.
- You should then follow the software packages that you use. Crucially – this should include the ones you have experience with and not just a list of all the packages you have used once or twice. If you list all possible ones, it will not be clear which you are competent with – prospective employers want to know that you will not need assistance using these packages if you get the job!
- If you have won any awards or have any notable achievements, you should add them here. If there has been any press coverage of these awards, add this in. Don’t forget to mention the brands the work is associated with!
- Add referees. These should be professional rather than academic. You ideally want a mix of colleagues who have worked very close to you as well as senior members of the practice.
A Designer’s CV should be well designed. However, it is not an opportunity to show off your graphic skills. It should be simple looking and easy to navigate around and read. Quite often, the best-designed CVs are the most simple look.
It is often essential to tailor your design CV for different design jobs.
After writing your CV, I suggest you give it to a valued peer and ask them to proofread it. Then, as a review, ask them what you do, what your primary skills are and to name notable brands. It will give evidence of clarity and the ability of the reader to retain critical information.