Designing a creative CV

Writing a successful CV for the creative industries is different from most other industries. A well-designed CV is the first impression a future employer will get of you, your style, and your methods of working. It is your first opportunity to market yourself.

This blog post is not about the content of your CV, as there are a plethora of internet articles about what to include (personal details, education, work experience, hobbies, references, power words, etc). Rather, this article is about creative design and how to tailor your CV to your own particular style.

Branding is one of the strongest propaganda and marketing tools available. A well branded CV is the first taste of your style an employer will receive, and you need to convince him or her that seeing the rest of your portfolio would be worthwhile. A branded CV creates an image of value.

How to design your CV

There is no universal blueprint for how to design your CV, as it must be very personal to your industry, your skills and your goals. However, a successful CV will always have the following qualities:

  • has visual impact to attract employers attention
  • reflects your personality and strengths
  • fits the industry, organization, and job requirements your are targeting
  • demonstrates that you have the required skills

Employers in different industries will be looking for different types of presentation and content. You may need to change the content of your CV for every job you apply to, as it is important to design your CV with a specific employer in mind.

Layout and Design

The layout of your CV is as important as the contents in the creative world. If it doesn't grab your potential employers attention immediately, it may not be read at all. You are telling a visual story of why an employer should hire you and giving them a first glimpse of your portfolio. Pull out the stops and use all your talents!


You should use layout and typography to make sure the contents are easy to follow and lead the reader's eyes directly to the most important points. To do this you can play with size of type, colour of type and spacing. Be consistent with your font styling. If certain headings or skills are emphasized in bold, for example, the reader will expect all important things to be consistently highlighted.


You may want to highlight your creativity and innovation by including images in the design of your CV. If you integrate them well, they will make your CV stand out and instantly show the employer your skill and abilities. If you do this, you need to ensure the visuals compliment the overall look of the CV.


Your CV shouldn't be more than two pages. If it is, make sure it is only one page double-sided and that you put the most important information on the first page. Place the various sections in an order that will highlight your strengths.

Make sure it photocopies well, and is easy to email.

Examples of creative CVs

To see examples of award winning CV design, click


How to do a radio interview for artists

This morning I had my first radio interview at CHSM1250 and MIX96.7 in Steinbach to promote my book signing and reading of Magic at the Museum tomorrow evening at the Jake Epp Library. These stations cover most of South-Eastern Manitoba and it was the morning show, which meant that hundreds of commuters would be listening is as they drove to work. I was incredibly nervous, but it ended up being more fun than I anticipated (and now I can't wait to do it again!).

A radio interview is like a conversation, but with legions of invisible people listening in. This is simultaneously comforting and unnerving; while you are recording it feels like there are only two people present, but rationally you know that there are many more silent participants in the exchange.

Interviews are excellent way of communicating your message or information about your products to the media. Marketing essentially means making people aware that a product exists and communicating its value and uniqueness to customers. The problem with promoting art over the radio is (obviously) that radio is an aural experience while art is visual. The best way to overcome this limitation is to paint word pictures to describe your work and use illustrative examples in your conversation. You want people to be able to visualize what you are talking about as they drive to work.

The interviewers Michelle Sawatzky and Corny Rempel made me feel immediately comfortable, so my nerves passed very quickly. However, no matter how comfortable you feel, it is still good to have a few guidelines to follow:

1. Have your talking points in front of you, concentrate on getting them across.

2. If it is live, find out how long it will be and how many commercial breaks or songs there are. Commercial breaks are great for planning the topics of the next segment with the interviewer.

3. Find out what kind of audience the show attracts, and pitch yourself appropriately.

4. Avoid talking fast (or too slow), and avoid saying too many ‘aahs’, ‘umms’ and ‘like, you-knows’. Avoid jargon. Annunciate, annunciate, annunciate.

5. Keep your voice even, warm and animated, you want the listeners to like you.

6. Radio stations are always on the lookout for good sound-bytes. See if you can record a promotional for the station saying something like, “Hi, I’m author Jane Heinrichs. Thanks for supporting the arts and listening to MIX96.7.” That way your name will frequently be heard, and you are also advertising the station. It is a win-win situation.

7. Always say thank-you to your host on air, and use his or her name.

8. Keep answers brief, but interesting. You don’t want your host going overtime.

9. Good interviews take practice, the best way to improve is through experience.

10. Send the producer or host a thank-you note afterwards.

Next time I would like to do a phone-in competition or giveaway to up viewer participation. Perhaps my next opportunity will be next summer when we do an official book launch at McNally Robinson Grant Park as well as several school visits and events.

Download the Podcast