Put together the perfect CV

So, you're a web designer and you need to get your CV done. Not only do you need to get it done, you need to make sure it stands out and impresses hiring managers. No problem!

Although there are an infinite number of ways for creative people to construct their CVs, there are certain aspects that set winning ones apart from the remainder of the pack. Below are the most important things to accomplish when creating your CV.

If you need some help getting going, then see our list of free resume templates (opens in new tab) or check out the best creative resumes (opens in new tab) out there.

01. Clarity and continuity

Nobody wants to be confused or disoriented when reading through a CV. You need to ensure that it is as clear and concise as possible. It should flow well and have continuity. So if you use bullet points in one job description, be sure to use them with every job description after that as well. Clarity and continuity are key.

02. Brevity

I'm not telling you to leave out important information but I am telling you not to write a book. Hiring managers often have to sift through hundreds of CVs. Don't let your CV scare them off with lengthy paragraphs and run-on sentences. Say what you need to say in as few words as possible. Quality over quantity!

03. Proof of expertise

Obviously one of your most important goals when writing a CV is the effective conveyance of your skills and expertise. The hiring manager is on a mission to hire someone who can do the job and do it right. Be sure to prove that it's you!

04. Relevant experience

The key word here is relevant. While it is true that most experiences help to shape and mould us in some way, you really are better off listing relevant experiences for a few reasons. If you are currently trying to find employment as a teacher, there is simply no reason to list your experience as a DJ circa 2007. You want your CV to flow well and have continuity. That being said, if you feel strongly that a work or life experience, though unrelated, particularly lends itself to your cause, then feel free to list it. Simply be careful about including too many irrelevant pieces in your CV.

The perfect CV

cv template

The CV you choose will largely depend on your area of expertise and your own personal style. There are plenty of options to choose from

So how should you go about creating this perfect CV? Let's take a look at a few of the options out there.

Draw your CV in Illustrator or Sketch and export it as a PDF

Pros: The choice of tools and visual elements are seemingly endless with this option. You are free to define and create your own visual style.

Cons: This process can be quite time-consuming. When using this method, it may also be difficult to keep the structure optimised for recruiters. According to studies, recruiters tend to spend most of their time on select areas of a CV. This means that the structure of a CV and the position of elements in it truly matters. Although it could attract more attention with its unique look, recruiters might miss important information if it's not placed in an ideal location.

Complexity: 4-10 hours on average, depending on your design skills.

Design your own portfolio website using web-based site builders

You can a website builder (opens in new tab) like Squarespace or Wix to build your own website. These offer a collection of ready-to-use site templates that can be customised.

Pros: Online portfolio websites give you greater opportunities to promote yourself. Websites are search-engine optimised, so your website might be indexed by Google, giving you more of an opportunity to get noticed by employers and potential clients alike.

Cons: These function more as online portfolios and it's worth bearing in mind that some companies will only accept printed CVs. I would recommend that you know your audience before taking this bold step!

Complexity: 3-5 hours of work on average.

Use convenient online CV builders with professionally designed templates

There are lots of online CV builders available but many of their templates aren't particularly appealing and, in some cases, can be downright boring. This is why any builder you choose needs unique design templates, a friendly user interface and should be carefully structured to follow the exact 'CV rules' hiring managers look for. See our post on 19 free resume templates (opens in new tab) for some ideas.

Pros: This is by far the fastest and most effective way to create your CV. There is a wide selection of templates from classic and clean styles to edgier and more creative ones. There is truly something for everyone.

Cons: You cannot adjust any of the styles. If you think that you will need this kind of control over visual elements, choose options #1 or #2.

Complexity: 15-20 minutes of work.

This article was originally published in issue 306 of net (opens in new tab), the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers. Subscribe here (opens in new tab).

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