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Andrew Arkley|May 14, 2021

Creative CVs: How To Make Your CV Stand Out

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Trying to secure your dream creative role? A creative CV can prove you’ve got the innovative thinking the job description is asking for.

There are lots of opportunities out there – more than two million people are employed in creative roles in the UK. But as you will know if you’ve been applying, there is also stiff competition for these positions.

In a saturated job market where employers spend just seven seconds looking at an application, creative CVs can help you make your mark.

But if you’ve always followed the same CV rules, it can be hard to break out of the box.

In this blog, we’ll help you decide if a creative CV is right for you and give you all the tips you need to make a CV that employers will love.

What is a creative CV?

Remember your school English classes? A well-crafted creative CV is your chance to show, not tell.

From writing to design, if you can prove your creativity upfront, you’ll immediately tick one of the employer’s boxes.

With some jobs now receiving up to 4,000 CVs, a creative CV can also help you stand out from the mass of identical applications.

Is a creative CV right for me?

Creative CVs are a safe bet for roles that explicitly ask you to prove your creative or artistic skills. But if things are less clear cut, it’s a good idea to look at how the company talk about themselves. 

Check their website and social media for the language and design elements they use.

A company that brags about being “disruptors” who “make work we’d want to show our mums” are making a statement about their culture – one you can reflect in your application.

When in doubt, seek out a personal or LinkedIn contact in a similar role. Their advice can help you get a feel for whether your creative efforts will be appreciated.

How to make a creative CV

If you’re set on changing things up, here’s how to make a creative CV that works for you. There are two different routes you can take:

Classic CV with a twist

If you don’t want to stray too far from the traditional format, try adding a graphic design element.

If you don’t know your way around Adobe Suite, why not try a free app such as Canva. Their templates make it easy to create a sleek design, with YouTube tutorials to help you get started.

Remember to be wary of templates that include space for an image. It’s common in some other countries, but 88% of UK CVs that do this will be rejected.

Worried about optimising your CV for ATS? If you want to know how to write a creative CV that will pass through these filters, try weaving in your skills through a clickable link to your work. 

This could be a blog, portfolio, published article, or relevant social media presence – all of these can help you let your creativity speak for itself.

Think outside of the box (or the A4 page)

If you’re applying for roles that really emphasise creative thinking, it might be worth rethinking the standard PDF document.

Think about how you can display your experience in a novel format that’s relevant to the role. You’ll prove your knowledge of the industry, as well as your ability to think laterally.

For example, a social media content creator could mock up an Instagram feed that features their work experience details, or a PR professional could send a creative CV in the form of a press release.

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Finding inspiration

To get your creative juices flowing, follow industry leaders on LinkedIn and Twitter. You’re sure to see some of the best CVs shared.

We’ve also given you a head start, with some great creative CV examples here.

But remember: it’s essential to put your own creative spin on any inspiration you find. Copying an existing idea will only make you look derivative, and over 50% of recruiters will reject clichéd CVs.

Go back to basics

It’s easy to lose sight of the end goal with creative CVs. Remember the purpose of a CV – to make the employer want to interview you.

A company might value your creativity, but they’re still a business. If they hire you, it’s because you will either save them time or make them money.

Try to use numbers to quantify your achievements, so that you prove the value you’ll add. For example, you could talk about the creative work you made that led to 4,000 new sales, or the time you grew a Twitter following by 500%.

Be aware that even when applying for creative roles, your CV’s first stop will often be a non-creative HR employee – they need to see your value, too. 

Remember, recruiters only spend seconds looking at your CV. Make your basic details easy to grab, no matter the design.


Creative CVs are a great way to inject personality into your latest application, but at the end of the day, content is still king.

You now know how to write a creative CV – but if you still need to perfect the basics, we’re here to help. PurpleCV’s professional CV writing service can create a bespoke CV that will let all your skills shine.

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