What makes a good CV?

For Design Competition, the module requires  me to present and position my creative identity effectively alongside other practices, through a range of sector specific media and formats appropriate to my specific career path and proposed freelance practice. Therefore, this blog post is to showcase my research, development and outcome of my CV.

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At first I gathered as many CV’s as I felt I need, the above are the ones I looked at. All the CV’s I engaged with were of a creative practice career approach. Taking my preferences out of the equation for a moment, I focused on the lecture notes, and contrast them to the CV’s I had chosen to look at.

Lecture Notes:

– Short (2 sides A4 max)

–Clearly laid out, with excellent written english, spelling and typesetting

– In order – work backwards – I don’t need to know GCSE grades first off

– Compelling (show/explain why you’re the best and most RELEVANT for the position)

– Supplied with a charming, well written, purposeful cover letter

– In keeping with the employer – find out about them and their style – look at the flipping website at least!

– NOT: sloppy design, over-designed (keep the expressive design in the portfolio), difficult to read, hard to fit in a folder/file, incomplete

– spellcheck, always. And then: spellcheck again. And if you’re unsure about your use of grammar or language, get somebody who is good at those things to read it for you and ask them for suggestions and advice. A misspelt CV is a very bad thing: it suggests a lack of care and a poor eye for detail. The best designers read what they are designing.

– don’t include a photograph of yourself on your CV (unless it’s part of a really clever or unusual concept). It somehow ends up looking clumsy and unprofessional.

– don’t over-design them. The CV should be a simple, elegant piece of typesetting. An opportunity to show that you can set beautiful, legible type: not to try our your new post-modern design technique. Random triangles, squiggles, unusual angles and Photoshop filters are generally unwelcome!

– a bit of wit is worth considering, but difficult to get right. One CV I received had a section for referees (those to contact for a reference) labelled ‘People willing to lie for me’. Funny!

– Some CVs aren’t emailed PDF attachments: they are physical objects. Ideas in their own right. Only take this approach if you have a brilliant idea. It can and does work very well – good, clever ideas executed well arriving on the Creative Directors desk can get you in the door – but as I say, the idea needs to be great

Scan of my sketchbook, shows me interrogating the CV’s from these notes (below)





From there, I took to creating thumbnails of the most common layout, of which I thought was the best to display information correctly. A big name title (using as a ‘logo’), with contact and skill set running down the left hand side, making room on the right hand right for the important ‘Experience’ information, that employers will be mostly looking at. Everything has subheadings so it is clear to see and find information. I used a QR code, as I think it says I am in the digital world and can adapt to future situations, it is something different, and it takes the client directly to my online portfolio without any fuss.

No extra designs, no photos, no ‘splash’ of colour. Just a concise, considered, display of information, in readable font.

My final edit can be seen below, along with an InDesign screen of the grid and layout in view.


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