CVs & Portfolios

From Job Search to Landing Your Dream Job: Part 2 Crafting Your CV

You’ve seen a dreamy job you’d like to apply to, but you want to send a CV and portfolio which will open doors for you?

One of the things to always keep in mind if when your CV and portfolio lands in someones inbox, is you have minutes- sometimes seconds to impress.

The person reviewing your application will be looking for something in particular, and you need to make sure you

provide them with that information straight away.

This week I want us to delve into the world of CVs, I’ve written a more in depth guide on this with exercises and templates, but here’s the essentials.

Before you sit down to start writing your CV ask yourself first, “where do you want to work?”

This is fundamentally the most important question when it comes to creating your CV. It will set the tone of how you market yourself.

Do you want to work for a super creative, boutique, quirky agency, or a more corporate one?

And why? What is it about that particular company that fits with who you are, and how you like to work?

The purpose of your CV is to create a connection with the hiring manager, with the intention of being invited in for an interview.

You’re telling the story of your career, so make sure you focus on development and success.

Consider every word you use and why you’re using it. Make sure it has a purpose, that will help towards presenting you in the best

possible light.

In every single Industry Leaders event that I have run —with Wolff Olins, Pentagram, Squint/Opera, Rosie Lee, VaynerMedia, you name it—every Leader has said when they look at an application, the main thing they look for is your voice.

That’s it, it’s as simple as that—it’s all about you. A CV exists to get your voice across.

A standard CV should be broken down as the following:

  1. About Me
  2. Career Experience
  3. Education
  4. Software Skills
  5. Hobbies and Interests

Also try to keep your CV short, sweet and concise. You should aim for one page, two pages max.

Your About Me, should be just that. Think of some things you can say that are specific to you, this is your elevator pitch.

Try to avoid using stock phrases such as “I’m a team player, with attention to detail.” Replacing it with something like “I’m a graphic designer with a love for typography and museum design” is more specific.

Your About Me section  need to be any more than 3–4 lines.

Moving on to Career Experience, there’s a few essential things a potential employers looking for here.

  1. They will want to know if you’ve worked for some of the big, sexy top draw agencies, the larger heavy weights or smaller boutiques. Where you’ve been is often (but not always!) a good indication of where you could go.
  2. What types of brands you’ve worked on. Sectors have general rules and guidelines.Demonstrate how much you understanda certain sector, or on the flip side, show that your breadth of knowledge indicates versatility when working on briefs.
  3. How long you’ve stayed at each agency. They want to know if you’re ‘jumpy.’ The client wants to know that, if they take you on for a permanent role, you’ll stick around.

Tip: If you have a gap in your CV, it’s always best to have an explanation. Things happen. If you spent some time travelling, had an injury, or had to take time off for compassionate reasons, these are all things which happen in life. It’s absolutely fine, and as long as you give an indication as to why then you’ll have covered all bases.

Education. Just put where you’ve studied, the dates and how long for. If you have a degree, just listing Uni, College, Alevels and GCSE’s is enough. Some clients want to see what grade you got at GCSE level, most of them aren’t too fussed.

Software skills. This is one of the most underrated sections of a CV. So many people overlook it, but it’s so important! Most creatives use Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, but if you’re also skilled in After Effects or WordPress, make sure to add those.

Hobbies and Interests. Now’s the time to show a bit more about who you are and let your personality really shine

through. Have fun with it. This section is for mentioning specific passions

that help you to stand out. Don’t just list hobbies generically, it’s a bit yawn! Expand on them with examples that go a bit deeper. You

can take it in one of two directions (or both):

1) Accomplishment oriented — for example:


• I completed in The Iron Man

Triathlon in 2018 and 2019


You enjoy languages.. “I can speak

English, Spanish, French and Hindi

fluently, thereby can converse with

approx. 1/3 of the world’s population.”


Or just simply, FUN — such as:

• “I probably bake the world’s most

delicious brownie, I’m open to a brownie

bake off challenge in any office”.

Your hobbies and interests will be something  that will help potential interviewers to connect with you, and might

even be something that they bring up in an interview.

If you’d like a much more comprehensive guide to crafting your CV, with additional CV examples an lay outs, here is a current 20% discount offer.

Next week I’ll be delving into how to put together a portfolio, which will help land you interviews or freelance bookings!


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