Hey all. I feel like I should get a CV & folio together but it’s been so long since I had to apply for work I have no idea where to start!

Any pointers towards people who could help with a bit of advice or info on how to structure a CV & portfolio would be greatly appreciated.

Replies10

  • Some really good advice below, so I'd add - structure your folio with work that shows your process, what you like to do and/or where you want to go - not just in the broader digital/above the line groups, but more granular: are interested in emerging tech? design systems? film?

    Sometimes I review folios that have a good body of work, but it's very hard to grasp what the creative/designer did, wants to do and their intention on applying. It's good to know someone has a broad skillset, but more often than not the hire is strategic to fill a specific skill/knowledge gap and those are the core things I'll be looking at when evaluatingn the folio and comparing it with the job specs.
  • This is just how I approach sorting my portfolio, so don't feel it's a how to guide as everyone is different. CV's are my weak point, so I'll leave that to somebody else's experties!

    1. Start by listing all the projects you've worked on - Go for ones that have a nice amount of work (not ones where you would just put the same design on multiple mockups). I would focus on most recent projects, but keep it in the last 1-2 years.
    2. I always add side notes to the project list - to define what type of project they are (branding, advertising, website, illustrations, etc.).
    3. Go through the list and pick a nice mixture of different project types. Depending on what job you're going for, you may want to be more digital focused, or creative focused, so check the job and make a few options.
    4. Start strong, inject some energy for the interval, big finale - When planning out your project running order, I would always follow this rule. You want to wow the interviewer, keep them interested at the halfway mark, then finish big so they are not wanting you to brush it aside and move on.

    Again, this is MY starting point before I even touch any software, so don't feel it is a 'this is what you need to do' guide as everybody's portfolios are different. Just with this way, you can see what areas you're missing, get a nice flow of project styles, and perhaps fill in gaps where you think a project needs something extra oomf!
  • Take a look at everything @Nikky Lyle has created - she offers loads of tips and guides that should help

    https://linktr.ee/Nikkylylecreative
  • Find the Art Directors you admire and check out their websites! It helps to see what the standard for the industry is and figure out what format people are used to seeing work in. Also worth pushing that standard further if you find ways that work for you or your work.
  • Definitely first place to start is with InDesign! It's a great Adobe product designed to help you pair your CV with your portfolio!

    In terms of structuring a CV, ensure that you are encapsulating the most important information on the first page. As a designer, I try to avoid two page CVs as the CV itself is a challenge on data display! Think of your CV as a design exercise itself - establish a colour palette that reflects you (you are your own brand after all!) and a basic house style, and this should start helping you to block out your CV.

    This same house style can then be used on your PDF portfolio!
  • @Malini Rao Top tip. I'll definitely take a look. Thanks for the reply.
  • Hi Ben,
    @Nikky Lyle is the best at this, offering simple and actionable steps. Do check out Nikky's Instagram and youtube videos for detailed analysis.

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