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Cv composition

CV writing advice for web design & creative students

0 April 27, 2012 in Students Area by advanced

We’re currently recruiting here at EuropiWeb, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to share some CV authoring advice that we’ve collated with our HR department. Our Human Resources team usually get to flip through three or four CVs every day, so they were quick to share a list of common bug-bears with both the presentation and contents of an average web design CV that lands in their in-tray. We’ve structured what we’ve learnt from our HR team, along with our own personal recommendations to come up with our top 10 tips for writing and designing your CV. After the tips, we’ll conclude with a few good examples to give you a little inspiration.

1. Size Matters

Tip Number one is Size Matters! Your CV should comfortably fit onto a single side of A4, so if you’re struggling to format it onto a single page, then you’re including too much information. Interviewers like to see everything at a glance and not have to flip through multiple pages.

2. Keep it brief

This leads onto Tip number 2 – Keep it Brief. Your CV should be a summary designed to interest and assure the interviewer. Take a moment to look at every sentence you’ve added to the document and challenge whether it’s appropriate. For example, personally I wouldn’t include the fact that I have a driving license.

3. Grid format

Tip number 3 is to format the layout of your CV into a grid. Ensure there’s plenty of white space and that each section of information is clearly identifiable. In our opinion, if a sentence runs the full width of the page, then you’re CV will be slightly less inviting to read. There’s a reason why Newspapers are formatted into narrow columns, the content is simply easier to read.

4. Structure into sections

Tip number 4 is to structure the content into 5 clear sections in the following order.

  1. Obviously, your personal details should come first.
  2. Section 2 should then be a summary of your experience and/or employment history.
  3. Section 3 should then be your education. Remember the tips we mentioned earlier and keep this simple. If you’ve got a degree, you don’t really need to be breaking down the grades for all of your individual GCSE results.
  4. Section 4 can be an opportunity to summarise or list your skills and proficiency. Be careful using terms like ‘Expert or Advanced’ – simply list the languages and design packages that you’re comfortable independently working with.
  5. Finally, conclude with section 5 – your interests. Here’s the opportunity to add some personality to your CV and connect with the person vetting your CV. Designers are known to be quirky and creative so don’t be afraid to list your interests, whether you’re a big star wars fan like me or a keen Bonsai keeper like Joel.

5. Scrutinise the details

Tip Number 5 is to scrutinize the details and professionalism of your CV. A great example of this is your email address. We’ve seen some CVs with email addresses that beg belief. If your email address could raise an eyebrow, then take 5 minutes to set up if you don’t have the luxury of your own domain name.

6. Typography & presentation

Tip Number 6 is typography. Many designers fail to grasp the fact that their CV is the first page of their portfolio. Choose an appropriate font that demonstrates your understanding of typography. Spend time formatting the text and experimenting with the size and colour until it’s perfect.

7. Spelling

Tip Number 7 is spelling. Our HR guys have said they’ve seen almost anything spelt wrong from ‘Web Designer’ to someone’s own name. We can’t stress enough how important spelling is. Tolerance will vary from person to person but if our team find a spelling mistake or two on your polished CV, then you’ll be expected to leave embarrassing spelling mistakes in all of your work. Remember, if you’re creating your CV in a package like Illustrator it’s not going to help you with your spelling as much as Microsoft Word.

8. Examples of work

Tip Number 8 is how to present examples of your work. Your CV is your CV, and shouldn’t contain thumbnails or additional pages of work. If you’re asked to supply examples of your recent work with your CV, then the preferred format is URLs.

Our final two tips are based on whether you’re printing or emailing your CV.

9. Printing your CV

Tip Number 9 is for those people who are printing and posting their CV. Advice for this method is obvious. Use quality paper, set your printer’s print quality to high and make sure you don’t smudge the ink when whipping it off the print tray. Keep it crisp and flat by scoring the folds and popping it in a strong card envelope.

10. Digital CVs

So our final tip is for Digital CVs. Supply a PDF, not a Word Document. In all likelihood, when your CV is opened up in Word, it will look nothing like it does on the computer you made it on. Whether you’re in Photoshop, Illustrator or Word, save your CV as a PDF. For speed and quality, ensure you save your CV in a vector format. This will keep the file size low and ensure that when it’s printed it won’t pixelate.

So there’s our top 10 tips for junior designers looking to improve their CV. If you have any questions, comments or contributions to our tips, please leave them in the comments below.

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