Blog 7: Necessary Evil the CV

Welcome to what would seem to be a laborious topic revolving around the concept, presentation and content of this infamous occupational obstacle. Its social accepted that this document can aid the normal person get a job in any sector, yet this discussion will go in to detail about the stark difference and complexity that lays behind your resume, rather than it being a list of your skills and hobbies. Oh no, a document of such importance in a world where its increasingly more competitive every day requires strategical planning and consideration which they forget to inform you about when you leave school. Hence why this post is centered around the lecture given by our careers officers at the University of Derby who informed us about succeeding by normal graduate CV standards, as well as pushing for the creative market.

(There will be a word Talley of how any times CV is used for no valid reason so don’t question it)

The Lecture:

At the start of the lecture, it was laid out that that as far as illustration goes within the market that in comparison to Graphic Design, the market was a lot more saturated or competitive. Presumable due to the high demand of Graphic designers for online sites and text publications which would warrant more jobs, whereas Illustrators seem to require a tactical plan to battle it out for jobs be it permanent or free-lance based. Although I would argue that in support of Geoff from Hill Langdell mentioned in his talk is that a title should define you but you can combine graphic design, illustration and animation under your brand identity. This identity will be present in a CV either way so in this sense, the amount of jobs available is up to how you portray yourself. The more skills you have in different areas the more you can apply to those areas.

The debate further engaged us to find the key underlining foundations for which we should present or contain in our CV’s. This included:

  • Be professional
  • Be the Boss
  • Content over Format
  • No more than two sides
  • Relevant information
  • Specific skills
  • Reflect the company and yourself.

I would agree that these in cohesion would stack up a strong approach toward any employer from my novice point of view. It’s easy to presume that an art based CV should be colorful and show all your skills as an artist or designer, it became apparent that this presumption was completely incorrect. Content over format, employers will treat it like any other job selection process, who can catch their eye and meet the brief of the job description. If you go mad with creative flair over the content then you’re essentially painting a shell with nothing inside. The information is key, employer’s can search for your creative work on a website or portfolio which you present as information, rather than trying to force it.

As we were told a CV is a record of your personal details, work experiences, qualifications and achievements formatted by chronological relevance.

It’s a marketing tool for everyone even for us creatives, its common procedure to have a CV that on basic level is  well-structured otherwise if you fail the basics then how can show any niche or expertise to build from those foundation stones. Ultimately, it’s a document in place to test if you’re the kind of person worth meeting, as employers are human too as much as lecturers make out that they are evil doom bringers, they need to be able to associate with you as an employee who they can trust and work with. I mean if you switched the roles you would do the same, the myth behind employers who crush CV’s is just a myth if you consider how to form your CV with relevance and legible communication. Essentially if you apply to be a visual communicator and you can’t communicate your importance through a document, then that is proof that you may not be able to compete against those who consider these foundations when it comes to CV’s.

Reflecting on my own CV:

In reflection to this lecture I will now go through and analyze my own current cv which is present below:

James Trangmar CV old

In all honesty, this CV has only ever gotten me to interview twice after applying for numerous jobs. The overall layout isn’t abysmal yet it does waste a lot of the page with white space rather than putting more relevant information on one page. As seen by my Qualifications that I have displayed all my GCSE’s and grades where I could really sum up what is taking up a third of the page into a single line or two. Including the locations of my qualifications isn’t an issue but my personal statement on its own screams out a very cliched individual who in my view after the lecture wouldn’t be worth meeting, due to its mundane and lack of relevant information towards the role that could spark any interest.  This clichéd approach occurs again on the second page within Key skills and Personal interests, its simply stating the subjects without any sufficient evidence to back it up. This could be further improved by intertwining my work experience and my kills to provide a well informed and evidenced statement that represents my abilities in a favorable light. In conclusion, my CV is more of average Joe kind of document that would generate much interest apart from filling up the void of bin.

Action Plan:

In preparation for the CV Clinic I will have consolidated my qualification, skills, and interests with relevant evidence suite to the job role. As it was mentioned the more I understand about the job, the more easily I can give the employer want they’re searching for. A generalized CV won’t cut it in such competitive market be it for part time jobs or illustration jobs, each role needs to be tailored to engage with the interests of the employer who provides the roles.

Guardian Tips:

Further research from the guardian under the article ‘How to write a CV for the arts’ written by Care Whitmell who provides some basic rules to follow in accordance with.

  • Develop more than one CV
  • Be selective and concise
  • Highlight the practical value of qualifications and training
  • Include a covering letter

These points back up what I have mentioned in my own analyze of my CV and lectures you must rule out a general CV as it will be instantly seen as unselective or consider document that isn’t worth the time, since the person didn’t make the effort to refine it. Again, by being selective, you should avoid stating everything you’ve ever done in a hope to impress, as it will seem broad and unfocused, being concise and to the point with sufficient evidence is enough to catch their attention it would seem by the lecture and Whitmell’s stance.

Insight from Creative Bloq:

Before the end of this post, I will take advice from Creative Bloq Staff who wrote an article named ‘Create the perfect designer resumé: 20 pro tips’.  Creative Blow provide consistent news and advice about all types of design in the world with an modern approach to handling the creative process as well as the formal side of the creative industry such as this topic.

The same principles and jargon were implemented by that of the lecture and the Guardian with this publication but what stood out that wasn’t present in others was the presentation of a creative CV. I had mentioned not to go overboard with designing it as the content matters but for a creative CV to differ it must portray some clues to your brand identity as designer, otherwise it’s not a self-promotion tool at all but more of data base of text that is useless. These visual clues would spark interest thus would take a further glance at your portfolios or sites. As Creative Bloq mention and I quote:

Keeping things simple is not the same as making things dull. A resumé is a reflection of your disposition and persona, and the recipient will be scanning it, consciously or not, for elements that distinguish your resumé from the other hundreds they have to wade through. Make your resumé stand out with an idiosyncratic design and personal touches.

There is a different between being professional as a creative and being too excited, a lack of visual substance isn’t going to crush your chances but as they mentioned its those subtle personal touches that the employer can identify as your personal voice as well as show of your design skills in a more procreative manner that is clear rather than ruining your well-crafted content with overloading visuals.

CV Tally: 22


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