If a Creative Director asked you to write an ad for a phone plan, a bank card, even a piece of fruit, you could come up with a bunch of ideas. But if the CD asked you to write an ad for yourself… how long would it take you?
That’s what a CV is – an ad for yourself.
Augment Talent understand how difficult it is to build a CV that stands out. True, selling yourself is incredibly challenging but you’re competing against other candidates with similar experience.
So how do you win?
We’ve been speaking with some of our industry leaders to gain their thoughts, with some key insights below.
Tip #1: Make it personal, not just professional.
What is a CV? We use the acronym all the time but very few people know what it stands for. No, it doesn’t stand for Corona Virus… it stands for Curriculum Vitae, which means “course of life” in Latin. So, don’t just talk about your professional life, talk about your personal experiences too.
The simplest way to make your CV personal is to have a killer intro. VMLY&R Design Director, Elliot Owen said the best way to make your CV stand out is;
"The introduction, I rarely read beyond it. Find an interesting way to write about yourself.”
Having a creative introduction engages the employer from the outset – crucial as they usually only have 2-3 minutes to look at your CV. That’s not to say they don’t care, but like a TVC if you haven’t captured the attention of your audience in the first 3 seconds, you’ve lost them.
Make sure your CV doesn’t concentrate too much on your employment history. As Senior Creative, Tim Brothers said;
"Obviously relevant experience is a given. However, a CV with a personal blurb can make yours stand out - esp. if it quickly gets to the heart of what drives you and your personal values, provided they're sympatico with ours!”
Do your research, check the company website and look for their “About Us” page. Making sure your values line up with theirs. The buzz word at the moment is “culture”, make sure you align with the company “culture”.
Tip #2: Show the process.
Now you have finished the introduction, your CV should continue to be creative. When you discuss your past work experience, don’t just include what clients you worked for, describe your creative process.
Experience Design Director at CX Lavender, Paul Kelly said your CV;
“Is more about evidence of the process and methods of delivery rather than just the final outputs of the work produced.”
The process and inspiration behind a campaign is incredibly insightful for an employer to see how creative you are. Whether your inspiration was another campaign, the design of another product or even a thought you had late at night that you scribbled on a note pad on the bedside table.
Creative Director at Red Engine, Duncan Shields said it is important to be original;
“We are storytellers and a CV is often the first story I get to see. I like to see decision making, context and a bit of background to each role rather than just how long it lasted and what was achieved.”
Showing how a brief came to life makes the final outcome look even better. Showing the process behind your work helps your CV stand out.
Tip #3: Your CV is an entrée. Your portfolio is the main course.
The best CV’s are clear and succinct – a teaser into your portfolio. Executive Creative Director at Lavender, Ryan Stubna believes that CV’s;
“Should be a quick one page read. Wordy CVs tend to be a lot of fluff and not much substance.”
Some employers look at your portfolio and then, if they like it, they will go back to your CV. Creative Director at the Hallway, Jeremy Willmott explains;
“I only ever look at a CV if I like their portfolio. So, a good portfolio of well-presented, ideas-led work will get my attention.”
In short, your CV should be telling a brief story of you. Experience is important but so are soft skills, personal values and your approach to work. Make sure your future employer gets a feel for you as a person. If not, you are just another applicant.
And nobody want’s that.