How to make a CV to get a design interview?

When starting to look for a job as a recent graduate or just want to change our current job, we need two important things before starting to apply to the companies we want to work at, a curriculum and a design portfolio.

In this post I want to give you some quick tips on how to create a good curriculum, the do's and dont's. Note that there is no perfect CV, but the following structure helped me a lot:

You can download the free template I made to get you started. Hope it helps you and good luck finding your dream job!

Make a first draft

Start writing down the content of your CV using a simple Word or Google Docs file before designing a custom template. You can download this template that can help you structure your CV. (The template has three different formats: Pages, Google Docs and Microsoft Word and is in English and Spanish).

Start dividing it by sections:

  • Section #1 — Personal information
  • Section# 2 — Career summary
  • Section #3 — Work history
  • Section #4 — Education
  • Section #5 — Skills

Section #1 — Personal information

Objective: In this section basically you just need to identify yourself, write the following information:

  • Name and surname
  • Current role (if you're a recent graduate write what's your profession)
  • Phone number
  • Personal email
  • Link to your portfolio website (if you have one). It can be your own website link, Behance profile, etc.
cv-section-1

Section #2 — Career summary

Objective: Write a brief description about yourself and your experience so that recruiters can have a quick understanding of who your are and what you do.

DO'S

  • Be concrete and brief about your professional experience
  • Share key insights of what's your value as a professional even if you're still looking for your first job.

DONT'S

  • You don't need to write the whole story of your life, recruiters usually scan your CV, they look for key information points that can make a match to the role you're applying, this section is just to give a "sneak peak" about you and your experience so far are as a Designer
  • It's optional if you want to add fun facts, I just prefer to go straight to the point.
cv-section-2

Section #3 — Work history

Objective: Show the most valuable information of the experience you have had so far.

DO'S

  • Show your most recent experience at the top
  • Include information such as the job title, employer's name, location, starting and end dates
  • Write a little context of each experience
  • Include your key responsibilities. Try using bullet points to mention the most relevant points of each experience, it makes the information easy to find and digestible for the reader instead of long blocks of text
  • On each bullet point explain what you did, how you provided value and the outcomes. What matters is to show how you're a problem solver.

DONT'S

  • Do not write a generic description of your experience such as "I was part of the brand identity team, I've been designing logos for small and big companies". If you are a brand identity designer it's expected from you to make that kind of work, don't be obvious about what's related to the role you are describing
  • Do not write a whole sermon about every professional experience you've had.
cv-section-3

Section #4 — Education

Objective: Show information about your education background. For some companies it is important to know where did you study or if you have a master's degree or special certifications that can make you "more competitive"; and for some others, they don't care about that as long as you can show great work, value and results.

DO'S

  • Write the name of the school where you got your degree / certification / master's degree, etc
  • Include the starting and end date
  • Include the languages you speak and your level of proficiency.

DONT'S

  • Please, do not include information about where did you go to high school, that's irrelevant.
cv-section-4

Section #5 — Skills

Objective: Make a list of the design skills you consider yourself good at.

DO'S

  • Write a brief description of each of the most relevant skills you're good at.

DONT'S

  • Do not write a percentage of how "good" you are at each skill, it is very subjective, just be concrete and consider the most relevant ones
  • If you're a designer, please do not make obvious that you know how to use certain tools such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, etc. Personally I never show in my CV what software tools I know how to use as I consider them as a given.
cv-section-5

The next step

Once you have finished your first CV draft, it's time to take care of the design of your Curriculum. The goal of making a first draft without thinking about the editorial design is to give structure and to help you take into account the most relevant information that should be written; so that later on, you can start designing your own layout.

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