CV Makeover Tips: Applying for Jobs in Creative Industries

We LOVE to receive creative CVs at drp. Need some fresh inspiration for a CV template to catch our attention? Wondering how you can inject personality into your job applications? Then read on…

For a creative job, you have to appeal to creative people, and so you’d be shooting yourself in the foot to hand in a generically-formatted CV.

So why do so many of us continue to hand in the typical CV, then sit there dejectedly, wondering why the employer can’t see our potential or how much we’d add to their company or project?

It may seem simple, but the employer will only know as much about you as you give them.  If you don’t put your stamp on the CV then how will they know that, behind the textbook black and white application, you’re bubbly, artistic and suited to this role?

Here are some ideas to help get your CV ball rolling…

  1. First and foremost: don’t make it “look” like a CV

Show it to a friend. Do they immediately recognise that it’s a CV? If yes, keep going. Change the layout and avoid a page, or pages, of text. Even if it has bullet points, it still looks overwhelming and, ultimately, generic.


Catch your potential employer off-guard. Using colour or arranging text in a creative way on the page are great ways to do this.

  • If applying for film crew roles, why not use images of equipment on the page? For instance, write your personal profile on an auto-cue and your details on a clapperboard.shutterstock_518861683
  • For directing roles, try a picture of a director’s chair in the centre of the page, with your name written on it in white letters.
  • If you’re really arty and applying for creative admin or PR type roles, maybe even create an image of an office desk on the page. You could have your computer skills “typed” on the laptop screen and “write” your administrative skills in the notebook.shutterstock_514867765.jpg

(Tip: if you use this method, try and avoid creating a “messy” looking desk, as this may not work in your favour!)

Simply using different fonts and rotating your text to fit “onto” objects like this can really make a difference and you don’t need any fancy software.

  • Pursuing a career in design? You have the edge over the rest of us here, so take advantage of your design skills.
  • Remember: keep it simple. Stick to an uncluttered image if creating a landscape or an abstract picture, and include only a few objects if you are using a more urban scene.
  • Let’s face it, the majority of candidates will also be talented at art and design, but styling your CV unconventionally will help you to show how you are able to bring uniqueness and personality to the role.
  1. Include the right information
  • Experience that exemplifies your warm personality and great interpersonal skills is key in creative industries.
    • Creative industries tend to recruit not only on talent and work ethic, but on a candidate’s ability to work well with others, due to the teamwork required in pulling together creative visions.
  • Free up space by making information “top-line” and use an URL address to your LinkedIn page so they can find out more. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is full of up-to-date information, as this way your employer can find out the finer details about you there.
  1. Correspond your CV with your cover letter

If your CV is creative and unique, why stop there? Keep your application cohesive and maximise the chance of the hiring manager remembering you. Make sure both are in sync with each other…


  • Simple maths: with a creative CV, you give them one thing to remember; with a creative CV plus a creative cover letter, you give them two things to remember, and your application is more likely to make an impact.


Well, are you applying for a job in PR or marketing? Maybe write your cover letter as a press release, or style it to look like a Twitter or Facebook feed!

How about a career in production/post-production? Try styling your cover letter like opening/closing credits. If you’re feeling super creative make a VERY short film, styled like an opening sequence to grab the attention of the employer.

In summary:

  • Avoid the tradition that there’s only one ‘professional’ way of writing a CV.
  • Break up text and create unusual layouts – use images, colours, and text boxes.
  • Avoid overcrowded, cluttered pages: it’s an immediate “turn off” for an employer. There’s always something that can be removed so be ruthless if you have to.
  • Think about creating “you” on the page. If you were a CV, what would you be and what would you look like?

Ultimately, take a risk and avoid the “traditional” CV and cover letter format. It will prove you’re capable of using initiative and creating interesting, unique content – this can only work in your favour.

Good luck! Tweet us @drpgroup with any successful applications you have using these tips.

Emma Claydon

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