This post is for whoever might need it. I’ve been going through CVs and portfolios of applicants for about 7 years. I’m not part of the HR department, nor have I taken anything related to HR, but from my experience, I still feel like I can share some insights based on what I’ve learned and seen from scanning a bunch of applications for companies in the creative industry (film/video production, digital marketing).
- Google templates. If you’re a Mac user, open Pages and you’ll find a template. You’ll even find templates and tips on how to write a good resume on the Internet. Don’t guess, and don’t number your CV from 1 – 50 (or more), noting down details about your life (I’ve seen one. And from a graduate of one of the top universities in Manila).
- Formal or creative CV
- CVs are usually more formal, but nowadays applicants send creative CVs–one designed by them using Photoshop or Illustrator maybe, to show his or her personality. Since I’m in the creative industry out to look for creative people, I personally appreciate seeing both. A creative CV for me says a lot about personal style and skill. Just take note that when you’re making a creative CV, the colors and fonts that you choose should still be readable and somehow organized, with a clear flow and sections. If you’re going to put any sort of illustration or photo, don’t overdo it.
- For any experience, include the name of the company and the exact duration of your stay there.
- Be specific. If you did “social media management” in your previous work, indicate what part of it. If you were part of mounting an event, give an idea of what your responsibilities were. Something as broad as “assisted in (event name)” can range from buying the coffee, being the runner, or handling the registration desk, to creating collaterals, conceptualizing the branding, coordinating with sponsors, guests, or VIPs, which are all totally different roles that entail different skills.
- Include applications/softwares you’re capable of using and show proof. Most people nowadays put those colored stars or bars to show the level of skill in a certain software, which doesn’t really give the employer an idea of what you can do (and it’s relative!). Show your portfolio.
- Send a compiled and compressed version of your work. Don’t send X number of Google links with generic file names. If the file is too big, send a folder to a drive or Dropbox, or put it on a website like Behance. The harder it is to open your portfolio, the less chances anyone will go through everything.
- Always identify the work you did in a specific project especially if you worked on it with a group and/or you have multiple skills.
The email exchange
- Text body
- Never send your CV with an empty email body. Again, you can Google tips on how to write a formal email for a job application. It’s always better for the employer to know your intention and background when sending the email. It’s also more professional.
- If you get an interview or response from the company you applied to, reply. Whether you’ve gotten employed already or realized that maybe this company isn’t for you, reply. An update about getting employed elsewhere or changing your mind about something will be enough so that the company reviewing your application will know whether you should still be considered or not.
- Show up
- If you can’t make it, decide to back out or an emergency comes up, inform. People really block off schedules to meet applicants, so do the courtesy of informing them ahead if you won’t make it or will be extremely late.
- Google, research
- It’s okay to ask questions about office location or interview, but also do some research. Know the company you’re applying to, get some background, visit the website or any social media accounts they have, and know what work they really do or what other brands they own.
- Let go of your phone
- I can’t stress this enough. It amazes me how much some are so attached to their phone.
- Some people feel the need to take down notes. Personally I have no problem with this, but ideally you do it on pen and paper, not on your phone.
That’s it. I hope this helps anyone who’s currently sending out their CV to a company they aspire to be part of. Criteria might differ depending on the industry you’re entering, but these are just some basic tips for starters. Happy job hunting!