Make your CV creative

We all know what a CV or curriculum vitae is. But what is a creative CV? It is the one that shows any sign of creativity, a touch of its maker. That stands out, that is different from the norm in any way, even if only a bit. Because it is a document perceived visually, what makes CV stand out has usually something to do with its design. And since we rarely apply for jobs by post anymore, we’re talking mainly about the digital or online versions.

Creative CV is not for everyone and for every occasion. While it can be perfectly tolerable and even expected in creative professions such as PR or graphic design, it might do more harm than good when applying for a position in a bank or an institution.

However, it is completely up to you how much creative your CV will get. You can be applying to a government position but still use elements of creative CVs. Or use them as an addition to your “normal” application. The purpose of adding creativity into your CV is this: to make you stand out from the crowd in the world where hiring managers spend only few seconds looking at job applications.

CV structure

Before we jump onto what creative CVs look like or how to make them, we need to establish one thing: that we know how to create the traditional one. It’s like playing the piano: first you need to master the techniques of playing and then you can experiment. And making creative CVs is exactly that: experimenting with your CV.

There are basic rules as to what a CV should include and be.

Your CV should be

  • as short as possible, ideally 1 to 2 pages
  • easy to read
  • clearly organized
  • without mistakes
  • and most importantly, true.

Your CV should include

  • only necessary and relevant information
  • basic info about you: name, where you are based and contact info — (professional, not foxybabe223!) email, phone and possibly skype/social media handles.
  • work experience
  • education
  • skills.

What you don’t have to include

Despite the frequently stated myths, you don’t have to include

  • your photo
  • gender
  • age/date of birth
  • marital status
  • the exact address.

An employer should select you based on your competences, not anything else. However, if any of these might help you get a job or are required such as when working in modelling, you can definitely use them.

Style is the key

Bear in mind that different CVs are also required in different cultural and geographical regions. We’re talking here about the European style of CV.

And how to put all the information together, you ask? There are three basic styles of CV: a functional, chronological and a hybrid between these two.

Here’s an example of a chronological CV.

Here’s an example of functional CV.

Inspiration

So we have our traditional CV and what’s next? Finding out what a creative CV actually looks like. You can find ton of inspiration just by googling words “creative CV or resume” or “online portfolio.” We’ve assembled some of the best examples of what you can do with a CV. Majority of them have an online form but you can also find some cool “offline” things.

Make it a list

There are many and many lists out there, showing you many and many examples of creative CVs and portfolios online. Some of the best lists that we have seen are the one by Creative Bloq, by Guru Careers and the one by Business Insider.

Then there hundreds of amazing individual examples such as

Tools

Have you checked all of these awesome examples and googled the others which are even more awesome and now you’re like “Man, I wish but you need to be a graphic designer or a programmer in order to do this”?

Not true! There are some pretty intuitive and often cost-free tools online that can help you create amazing creative CVs.

Website

One of the ways of making an online, creative CV is to build a website about you and/or your business.

For whom: People who really mean it with making their CV creative, for entrepreneurs, for people in creative professions.

Pros: Thorough; Can build it however you want and do whatever you want with it, depending on your (coding) skills and money.

Cons: Lot of work. Takes long time to make. Limiting if you don’t have enough (coding) skills or money.

Website builders

Little bit easier than building a website from a scratch is to use website builders/content management tools that have templates ready for you. Each of them has of course advantages and disadvantages.

Tumblr

Pros: Cool, attractive platform. Lots of beautiful designs and templates.

Cons: Hard to navigate at first. Hard to customize.

Wordpress

Pros: Easy to use and navigate. Lots of free templates. Does plenty of work for you.

Cons: Doesn’t work well beyond its core capabilities, i.e. can become a pain in a butt if you need something more/else it offers.

Wix
Pros: Big selection of professional templates. Intuitive interface. You can play around with content.

Cons: Free version has limited options and pricing is quite expensive. No access to source code. Templates can’t be changed later.

Weebly
Pros: Very user-friendly. Mobile responsive templates. Nice designs.

Cons: Purchased domain included only for one year. Supports only English characters.

…and many others.

Kind of like a website

Visualize.me 
Pros: Easy to use and navigate. Takes little to no time to create a visually appealing CV.

Cons: Limited options. Can’t be customised much.

About.me

Pros: Gives you space to tell your whole story.
Cons: Limited options. More of an addition to your CV itself.

Presentation

You can also transform your traditional CV into a presentation. We all know PowerPoint but what other tools are there?

Prezi
Pros: Enables you to create beautiful designs and play with content however you want.

Cons: Relatively steep learning curve. Free version provides only limited options.

Slideshare

Pros: Easy to navigate. Free. Well-known.

Cons: Not a really nice design.

Graphic design tools

You can also build your visually compelling CV through graphic design tools. One of the most user-friendly as well as free is Canva.

Make it a video

Your CV doesn’t have to be “on paper”. It can become live through a video. We will not talk further about this topic but here are some tips and tricks for you if you’re interested in this option.

Video by Sunny Lenarduzzi, 2015. https://youtu.be/ymyVwx4xNNQ

Other tools

Besides the tools listed here, there are hundreds of others out there that can help you to make you and your CV stand out.

Have fun being creative with your CV and making yourself stand out!