Creative CV | Workshop

Today, I began my workshop week by attending a Creative CV and Personal Brand session. My existing CV highly needs recreating as it was what I created in college and used to look for part time jobs. Now I have to ensure it is to a high standard when applying for work placements or internships for my year in industry. The session was taken my careers adviser of the university Zoe Mitton. She began by saying what we should be doing now to prepare ourselves.

It is important to think about the placements that you are interested in and intend or looking for as this may influence the content as well as design of your CV. We also must think about what skills we can offer to employers, and whether or not we need to improve in order to get a certain placement. In preparation, we should build a brand for ourselves; this includes a logo/identity, CV, and a portfolio of work. If we were unsure about the kind of job that we want, there is a website that can help; http://www.prospects.ac.uk. Zoe also told us about the website Yell.com which allows you to identify companies within a certain area.

Zoe provided us with a booklet of statistics regarding CV’s and applying for jobs. The first was a graph showing the different methods companies recruit, such as: Newspapers and Magazines. Employers and small businesses tend to prefer using the internet or contacts and networking as a method of recruiting. Employers also prefer CV’s as the method of application, rather than email or a standard application form. The next research statistic asked the question “which part of the CV is most important to you?” and was directed to contacts through University. The most popular answers were the skills and experience of the individual, followed by their education. The next question asked employers what their preferred method was of presented work. The majority choose a traditional portfolio or website as their preferred method, but interestingly there were also strong percentages of people that preferred a CD or DVD format. I found this surprising as I have never heard of anyone doing so before.

The last part of the research gave employers the opportunity to say what they thought made a good and bad CV.

Good

  • Clear and precise
  • Express Passion
  • Individual
  • Shows thought
  • To the point
  • Relevant
  • Well presented
  • Honest
  • Visual
  • Memorable
  • Personality
  • Up to date

Bad

  • Irrelevant information
  • Poor spelling
  • Bad grammar
  • Poor presentation
  • Bad use of English
  • Too generic
  • Too long
  • Anything over 2 sides of A4
  • Bragging
  • Bad Fonts
  • Lies
  • Cheap Paper

We then moved on to discuss creating a CV, and began with the content. Firstly, it is important that you now do not include D.OB (Date of Birth) as age should not influence employability. When including our contact information, we personally don’t need to include a postal address because employers will not mail you. It is also important that your personal information does not take up too much space in your CV, leave it to be punchy catchy without any waffle. Zoe also told us that it is best to not write in first person “I”, and stick to third person but a more professional overview. However this refers to your personal statement as you are giving a basic background of yourself. You can actually change your personal statement when applying for a specific role to ensure you are what the employer is looking for.

When writing your work experience in your CV, always start with your most recent as this is usually the most impressive. Be sure to include the name of the employer and the length of time in which you worked there. Interestingly, Zoe informed us that we can also include any competitions we have done that may support our creative field.

It is ideal to include a skills section within your CV especially if your experience is lacking. Be sure to include significant skills for the role that you are applying. For example, nobody is interested if you can burp the alphabet. In your skills section, it would be beneficial to include information of where you had gained these skills, for example: work based academic or life experience. As I have already previously mentioned, make sure to include information that is significant, for example it is unnecessary to include your GCSE grades, however if you wanted to include your college grades because they are impressive then that is okay. But don’t include all the subject modules; ideally to you want your CV to only be 1 page.

Zoe told us that she finds the interests and hobbies section particularly interesting when looking at CV’s as it gives you an idea of what the individual is like outside the work environment. You can include exhibitions, hobbies and interests, but make sure that they compliment the job you are applying for.

We then briefly moved on to talking about CV formats. Usually they alternate between: Formal, creative and infographic. Zoe showed examples of the approaches; I liked elements from each type, and feel as though when I recreate my CV, I will try incorporating each approach within my format.

The last thing we talked about is the Covering Letters. I have never written a covering letter before, so this in particular worries me more than the actual CV. Zoe said to break it down into 4 parts:

  1. Intro

Why are you applying for this role, and where did you discover the application? 

  1. About you

What might interest and impress the reader in thinking that I am right for this role?

  1. About the company 

What do you know about the company and why do you think it is right for you?

  1. Closing statement 

Summarize the above 

Once I recreate my CV I will take on the covering letter, and as I have never wrote one before I will probably book a session at the university to help me. I found this workshop session very useful as it has answered some of my hesitations about recreating my CV and put into perspective how badly it needs doing.

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