How do you stand out against the flurry of CV’s received for a graphic design position? What information are employers looking for?
First step, research the potential employer as much as possible. Are they a fit for your skills? Does the workplace culture fit your outlook?
Always read the job description and application guidelines carefully and follow the instructions. We suggest you include a covering letter that you tailor to the ad. Check you have addressed the letter correctly. If it is an unknown addressee, address formally with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To Whom it may Concern’.
The covering letter should be succinct, no need to repeat information from your CV. Aim to demonstrate your interest and suitability for the advertised role. CV’s received without covering letters look cursory and imply the applicant is only mildly interested/ticking boxes on a quota of applications.
Bullet point relevant information. Content should be concise. Include relevant qualifications and experience. Include a short list of your interests outside graphic design. It gives a picture of your personality and life experience. Remember, most design roles are in small-to-medium studios. Interaction with a team is vital. Humans are social beings and intriguing non-design activities may be the edge that gets you an interview. If you have any voluntary activities, include this.
Entry level role CV
Of course, you have only limited experience at this point. The important point is to mention you are aware of this. If employers are hiring graduates, they understand you will be on a steep learning curve. Acknowledge you have much to learn and you appreciate you will need to work hard to absorb lessons from the industry.
Include your previous employment experience. Having retail or part-time work during study is invaluable. You demonstrate your reliability, motivational and interpersonal skills this way. This shows the potential employer you have the right attitude towards working and you have learnt skills dealing with colleagues and customers.
Suggest carefully balancing promoting your skills vs what you can offer the business. As you progress in your career, you should have an awareness of how your skills can add value to a new employer. You should also understand the type of team you would like to work in, the projects you enjoy working on and how it all fits into your career plans.
This is a chance to demonstrate your design skills. Keep in mind you want a professional design flair combined with clear typography, so the content is easy on the eye. Quality is always above quantity. Include the only best examples of your work. As your career progresses, tailor the projects included to suit the role you are applying for.
Word not to include
The word ‘passionate’ is overused and has appeared in CV’s – seemingly – forever. Everyone says they are ‘passionate’. We strongly advise not including it. You do not stand out from the crowd by using it. English is full of marvellous, descriptive words. Expand your vocabulary. You are engaged. You are captivated. You are immersed. Passion belongs to poetry, gardening and love songs.
Spell checking is mandatory. Further, read your CV and cover letter out loud and make the grammar is correct and flows well. If possible, have a friend also check over. A fresh pair of eyes will spot things you may have missed.