Colourful patterns and imagery on CVs may be visually exciting but often they can be tossed aside by employers/recruiters because they are too difficult to read or not what they are looking for. Remember, recruiters are busy people and if your CV is too fussy, they might not even look at it at all.

However, there are a few industries that might welcome visual CVs and we’ve come up with a few suggestions that might help you out.

Start with a basic CV

There are definitely circumstances where a creative CV is a good idea but it’s useful to have a basic version as well just in case. A lot of companies use an applicant tracking system to screen CVs and more often than not, these systems won’t read your colourful infographic of video. As a result, you might miss your opportunity to be considered for the role.

Even if you’ve spent loads of time on it and it reflects your best work, it might not be what the recruiter is looking for. For every creative CV you make, ensure you have a basic alternative ready to send.

Why are traditional CVs important?

Most recruiters or hiring managers will quickly glance over a CV in the initial stages so it’s important to make your CV clear and readable from the get-go. If your CV looks like there’s too much going on, recruiters might not even bother reading it or they might be too distracted by the format that they miss crucial information in your CV that highlights your best skills and experiences.

Even if you’re applying for a role in the creative sector, it’s likely that an office manager or HR officer will see your CV before anyone else and a traditional CV will be much easier to read. Besides, if you are applying for a creative role, you will more than likely need to show a portfolio of work so use this is as your opportunity to show off your creative abilities if the company is asking to see a basic CV layout.

When are creative CVs a good idea?

Although we mentioned in the above point that a basic CV is a good idea, that’s not to say that you can’t try your hand at making a creative CV – some industries may welcome the idea and if you’ve got one prepared, go for it!

If you are in an industry such as marketing, social media or design, you may want to consider doing something a little different with your CV to highlight your abilities. After all, if you’re applying for a graphic design position, your employer is going to want to see examples of your work and your CV might be the canvas you need to showcase your skills.

If you like the idea of designing a creative CV, here are some tips to help you out!

1 – Cut your CV down to one page – This might be difficult if you have a long list of past experiences, qualifications and skills but remember that each CV should be tailored according to the job role anyway. You might want to shout about that course you did 5 years ago but if it’s not relevant to the role, leave it out and cut your CV down.

2 – Structure is key – Design doesn’t just mean fancy patterns and colours, it also refers to structure. When a recruiter first looks at your CV, they will instantly notice the layout. In this instance, it’s a good idea to separate your content into chunks according to each category, i.e, employment history, education etc. Structuring your layout will make your CV much more pleasurable to read.

3 – Use infographics Infographics are a great way to include some visual features onto your CV. Instead of listing your skills, why not put them in a timeline from most experienced to least or use a bar graph to show the employer what your main strengths are.

4 – Find the balance between creativity and professionalism – Before an employer has seen you in the flesh they will make judgements on you based on your personality and professional skills. These are two things that can be taken from your CV so you will want to make sure those first impressions are as positive as possible. There’s nothing wrong with highlighting your personal interests in your CV but leave casual conversation for the interview. Your CV is a way to prove to the employer that you are the right person for the job so keep your content professional, sleek and elegant.