Thoughts on CVs (resumés) for creatives

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Blue Velvet, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Yes, it's getting around to that time again to brush off my CV (resumé to those in the US) and start looking around... and it's been a while since I was in the job market.

    My first impulse is to keep it plain and simple, nice type, two pages max, easy to scan and PDF etc... but some in the creative industries seem to favour something with a little flair, some even advocate really outlandish documents.

    I guess I'm looking for something relatively senior with some management in my role, although these days I could probably tackle most things. For job-hunting, how essential would it be to set up a simple website for primarily a print designer/project manager?

    Any general thoughts are most welcome...
  2. bluetooth macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2007
    Personally, I would keep it to one page with a decent cover letter - even for senior positions. A cover letter can explain how your talent and experiences relate to the position you are applying for, the actual resume, should be brief and to the point.

    I was fortunate enough to sit in and observe some interviews for management etc. in my previous job and I can tell you that when they have a dozen or more applicants, resumes etc. people (in my experience) do not want to read 2-3 pages on someone. A good strong, well written cover letter, along with a brief but informative resume, will get you the interview in which you can elaborate further on your experience etc.

    As for style, I believe that resumes and cover letters and a great way to illustrate your strong sense of typography and ability to produce a neat, clean layout, however, stay away from actual "designs", using a lot of colour, gradients and the like. The employer should be looking at your information/experience not your design skills - your design skills will be evident in your portfolio, so keep the resume, simple and clean, but perhaps with a little bit of flair (just nothing over the top or too distracting).

    - my 2 cents
  3. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thanks, I wasn't planning on gradients or colour... professional suicide is not an option yet. ;)

    My work experience goes back twenty-plus years, with the last ten years being particularly note-worthy but there are positions that go back further that have some bearing on my skill-set, so I thought that two nicely-spaced pages — rather than one cramped page — with the most vital stuff on the first page would suffice.

    A custom covering letter for each position I apply for would be par for the course.
  4. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    Hi Blue Velvet,

    The last time we were hiring at our studio, we relied heavily on online CVs. Lots of them were small flash based pages. They were the easiest to show around to the directors and get a consensus as to the the quality of work. Most of the plain written submissions got binned, so I'd say online is the way to go. Have a link to a plain CV as a PDF download from your site.

    Goodluck! :D
  5. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    At this stage, what site? :eek:

    You're talking to someone from mainly a publishing background with indepth print and display design, senior client-facing, print-buying, studio and project management skills with a well-rounded technical support background.

    I might get to do an animated GIF once a month or so... although a few years ago, I did stack up some Dreamweaver experience on another project. :eek:

    I'm reluctant to make any personal details available online.
  6. Golf Tango macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2007
    Chester, UK
    i have recently been involved in recruiting artworkers and some of the CVs we were getting were pretty cringeworthy. Far too long, chatty and irrelevant in most cases. People genuinely put down things like, "In my spare time i enjoy watching TV." Then there were candidates who tried to have clever, zany CVs. Bearing in mind that they were applying for a job with a major bank it just wasn't appropriate.

    A strong covering letter and a CV that sums you up quickly will do the job. We discarded most of our applicants pretty quickly, we knew what we were looking for and it didn't matter how witty the covering letter was or how many hobbies they had, all we were interested in was the ability to do the job. Simple, clear, clean and concise does the job in my opinion. Leave all the clever design work in your portfolio. Your recruiters will know what they are looking for, make sure they can find it quickly in your CV.
  7. Lau Guest

    I have heard that people are expecting a website more and more these days, but then that is more from a newb hitting the market point of view. I'd imagine that people established in a job could show off the work they've done by pointing them to their current company's site.

    Incidentally, if you do need a simple website, I'd be happy to build you one. You've helped me out (and bought me dinner!) on various occasions, and I'd be more than happy to repay the favour. :)
  8. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thanks. That's reassuring seeing as inhouse positions appeal to me but I'm not ruling anything out...

    In my spare time I enjoy zapping n00bs and banning troublemakers at :D

    I might just well take you up on that, but will not permit you to do it for free. Not under any circumstances.
  9. Poopface Morty macrumors regular

    Poopface Morty

    Apr 25, 2007
    I've always considered a designer's CV or resume to be an exercise in information hierarchy, layout, and typography. Never in illustrative talents or design flair, which is typically what the portfolio is for.
  10. Lau Guest

    If so, I'll do it for the price of a nice dinner. ;)
  11. TheAnswer macrumors 68030


    Jan 25, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    Maybe put up an anonymous portfolio site that you can steer people towards whenever you send out your CV (via mail, email, in person, whatever). That way, prospective employers could get a quick look at the quality of your work after they look at your CV.

    In addition, you could put the majority of your CV online, but leave personal details out and ask prospective employers to email you with details about the positions they have available, at which time you could provide the personal details.

    Good Luck.
  12. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    Having invested a significant amount of time over the years both hiring and trying to be hired within the industry ...

    I'll agree with posters above that it's all about typography. You know as well as I that the right font at the right size on the right leading will just blow someone way if they know what they're looking at.

    When I was hiring, I was hiring juniors, so when someone could knock my socks off with type alone, I basically knew that I couldn't afford them! In your position, that's exactly the effect you're looking for, IMHO.

    Try and hold it to one page (perhaps double sided) of A4 ... one of the nicest CVs I received combined gorgeous typography (IIRC, which I probably don't, I think it was something gloriously simple like 10pt Garamond Narrow on twenty-odd point leading) folded to DL and formatted like a posh restaurant menu. The b/g colour was a kind of off-white and there was a single, subtle paper tear effect on each face, but it was the typography that leapt out.

    As far as the web aspect goes, I'd leave it the hell alone at the outset. If it's not your strong suit, and they haven't explicitly asked for it, then I'd gloss quietly over it. To that same end, I wouldn't try to set up a site as a showcase - they're going to ask if you did the site. If you did, then they're going to try and drop web development duties on you, if you have to fess up and say no, then you've copped to a (perceived) weakness in your skill set.

    On this particular score, I have to admit that I always kind of came out fighting when anyone tried to point to a lack of web skills as a weakness. I said then, and I would still say now, that any person who walks into an interview and claims to be both a quality print designer and a competent web designer/developer is, frankly, a liar.

    They're different disciplines and any prospective employer who expects a candidate to be able to do both to a pro standard is a cheap bastich who doesn't understand the value of either discipline.

    Phew ... sorry about the rant. I'll shut up now.


  13. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Good idea, if it's kept simple. :)

    It's very much appreciated though, especially as I've been getting a little down about it tonight. Some very wise words there... Thanks, Jim. :)
  14. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Attached is my CV. I tend to keep mine very simple and straight to the point. Clear and concise with a maximum of 2 pages. I also send them a covering letter pointing them towards my website and let that do the rest.

    Attached Files:

  15. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK
    If print is your thang, then that's entirely understandable ... despite the huge part that print plays in all our lives, the rise of new media has lead to a devaluing of the medium in general perception.

    And yet ... newspapers, novels, so many things, are still printed products that end up in our hands. I tried, several times, to make the move but I still can't replace the thrill of seeing something that I spent X number of hours designing come back as a finished product, of physically holding that product.

    Frankly, it seems to me a lot like magic, and is, perhaps, (because Macs were the only game in town when I started) why I feel this huge emotional debt to Apple - to conceive a design in one's head be and to able to translate thought into tangible product ... No, it's not like magic, it is magic.


  16. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.

    CV should be typography and nothing but. no colors, no illustrations, no line art, no gradients no nothing but exceptional, perfectly executed type. period.

    if you are not a web designer (nor am i) you should look at indexhibit which is a portfolio template that one of your countrymen, Daniel Eatock, came up with as a way to show his work without the site itself being overly designed. all administered via the web browser, etc.
  17. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    I tend to agree, your CV should reflect who you are as a person, nothing too fancy, to the point and spelling/grammatical error free.

    Simplicity is the key, ideally the best CVs out there are 3 pages including a well written cover letter.
  18. macgfxdesigner macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2004
    thanks for this post!

    I am also in the same boat and working my resume too! and looking for a job in the creative field!
  19. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thanks... It's not so much the writing of it. I have some excellent resources and people to assist with that. My query was generally about presentation and how much and what kind of effort to put into it from a design perspective and specifically tailored for designers... especially for more senior roles.

    I will check the link you've provided in more detail tonight though. :)
  20. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    I tend to agree with your reasons, but I still think it is smart to have a webpage. It might be as simple as something made in iWeb that has various PDFs for download. This way, your portfolio is online and what's not important is the website, but rather the content - in this case, examples of print work.

    I managed to get a management job in a corporation at 22 despite having never formally studied design or CS through an onilne portfolio. It was not media heavy or extensive, but rahter just offered a few examples and links to my work.

    If you're going for management, I think examples are important. They don't have to be flashy, but they should still be there. And having an online portfolio means a shorter resume, or you could focus on more important things like skills and qualifications instead of listing every small design job you ever had.
  21. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    Yeah, I know BV is more into print production end of things, not the flashy web side, but an online CV can go places you never dream of – people can pass the link around and you may be getting calls from places you'd never have the time or energy to send a paper CV to.
  22. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Precisely why a little caution should be taken when a single woman is putting her address and phone number up for everyone to find in a place like London. ;)
  23. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Right. I have blanks where my address and phone number should be on my online CV.

    What's important, IMO, is the online portfolio. An online CV can just replicate what's on paper. But an online portfolio, even a simple iWeb listing of PDFs extends far beyond what you're handing the employer on paper.
  24. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Are you still looking for thoughts on this Blue?

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