A CV can be only a few pages long and yet you have to try to really sell yourself and stand out from the crowd. You may think about trying to utilise your talents to sell youself in some unique way. Here are some examples where people have done just that.


You can tell straight away that these people are talented. Of course we’re not all graphic designers so what chance is there for the rest of us?

Well this type of effort is relatively rare which is why it can be effective. Also they wouldn’t be appropriate for the majority of roles and not everyone agrees that they are effective.

There really are some inspiring examples but it would be so easy to fall short and end up with a disaster.

Would I say the lesson here is to attempt this only if you have the ability? No, I wouldn’t even go that far – I don’t want to be responsible for anyone applying for a position via crayon on napkin. I would say that even if you could come up with a great idea for a stand out application and you could execute it (in the good sense) perfectly, you still wouldn’t be considered if your content is poor. If you’re stuck on your CV and seeking some inspiration for making it stand out, sure, take a break and check out some fun and different examples but go in the other direction and forget presentation. Look at your content and move on to presentation only when the content is as good as it can be.

I’ll leave you with some examples of what can go wrong when attempting to be different instead of making the content speak for itself falls short of the mark – don’t join that list! Enjoy.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Graham, you’re absolutely right – the design shouldn’t overshadow the content and good design won’t be enough if you have poor content. On the other hand, you might have great content in a design that looks just like any other, and so is more prone to be confused or even missed entirely. Look at Susan Boyle- great talent but it took a long time until she managed to stand out, and only then was she recognized as a great talent.


    • Great analogy there and yes, sometimes you have to arrive spectacularly in order to be noticed at all. Perhaps I ended on a bad note there, I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that if you are thinking about making a creative CV then you should forget it and settle for blending in with the crowd. Not at all, but there is a danger there – Susan Boyle is a great success story but weve also seen the American Idol Auditions where people stand out… for the wrong reasons.

      You should certainly approach your CV application without doubting yourself and with belief in your abilities, so to put it another way: know thyself – if you’re going to get creative then concentrate on your strengths and know your limits. Thanks Jacob for catching any note of pessimism there and I have to say, the analogy between American Idol and Job Applications is inately entertaining and the more I think about it, the more it fits.



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Advice, CVs, Job application


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