Delete your CV
CV’s are a standard form of entry into a business when searching for a new job. It’s the first point of contact in which a recruiter will dissect your personality, skills, and your capacity to work, all on a sheet of paper.
CV’s are easy. Anyone can draw up a sheet of paper listing their history of workplaces and roles in those organisations. Submitting it virtually from the comfort of their home, miles away from where they will be working this day job, in a hope that they will be given the opportunity to meet in person and interview with the potential employer/recruiter and secure the job. This is common practice for a vast number of industries and candidates. All but one.
The creative industry. Occupations that fall under the umbrella of creativity; photography, painting, filmmaking, web design, audio production and various others. The one common denominator between these pursuits; they are sensory, both visual and auditory. These are qualities and experiences that cannot be captured on paper, out of context and without explanation of its motives and emotions. This is what makes our industry a special experience, its something the user feels, and not without hard work and long-term goal setting.
I have never used/needed a CV for any creative day job I have had. Because of reason that you can’t quantify creativity and professionalism. You either are or you are not.
As a designer, you need your work to be viewed in its home environment, how it was originally intended, and not how others will view it at their convenience on a piece of paper. Your artwork/illustrations/designs work best when thy are surrounded by contextual examples of your work and profession. This is the importance of having a strong virtual presence and making our website your home.
In the creative industry, your website is your CV.
Invest in your website and invest in yourself. Both time and monetary. A good landing page is impressive and visually will instil a good first impression, but what about your track record? How does a recruiter, or even a potential client know that this isn’t something you do as a hobby, and that you are serious about your freelancing as a business? It’s one thing to have and display gorgeous designs and illustrations but it’s another to display the insight, problem solving, and the thought process behind your work.
The content that establishes your track record and demonstrates your expertise and professionalism in your work is case studies and writing. But it needs to be consistent, not at sporadic intervals. You need to consistently right valuable posts and produce new, quality case studies that showcase what you’re doing and show why you’re doing it. This way, it won’t be a grid of images on your website, but an in-depth explanation of the thoughts and decision-making process behind the work and how it came to be in its final form, through the problems you solved.
It demonstrates your ability to work with and manage clients in a professional manner. It’s proof that your running your business efficiently. What’s more impressive to a potential recruiter;
– A CV with superfluous descriptions, overused buzzwords, and dated workplaces from years passed?
– A live website with consistent output demonstrating professionalism with clients, your skills used in real life situations, and an ability to conduct and manage your business in an entrepreneurial manner?
Your showing the recruiter (and potential clients) that you have built and are managing your own business, while you have maintained a day job. Otherwise, all they have to do is go off your word that you have the capability in your current day job. But this way, you are showing them that you have the capability.
Buzzwords are ‘fluff’ on a piece of paper that aims to identify you a unique individual, but in fact amalgamate you with the rest of the candidates that the recruiter is viewing, thus producing noise. Show them what you have built, what you are most proud of. What are you doing to separate yourself from the noise and provide value?
All a creative needs to initiate the conversation with a new employer is a cover letter. So what should be included in your cover letter? 3 parts;
- The cover letter will explain your current situation, your role and responsibility and the problems you solve at your current day job.
- Who you are, what you’re doing externally with your outside passion and pursuits, what you’re working on, your goals and the position you hope to be in with the help that this day job will offer to furthering your skills, experience and insight.
- Close the letter with a paragraph on yourself. Your values, goals, personality, motivations, what drives you, your inspirations, role models, influencers etc.
The cover letter should be designed to reflect your line of work, and should contain 3 paragraphs with the above 3 points. You are looking for a day job because you want your bills to be paid and to makes ends meet. This is the only way in which you can grow your external freelance business organically, without falling into scarcity. The new employer will know this, and the right employer with encourage this, and be onboard with your values.
Treat your recruiter like you treat your clients, establish trust, through your website, and its content. Do this by being consistent. Consistent in producing case studies, writing and with your own visual style. This is how your demonstrate professionalism and establish your expertise in an industry.
It’s about presenting your our work in the best possible way to the recruiter, in order to demonstrate that you have the experience, skills and values that they are seeking.
At all times, you need to be good at what you do, provide value and original content. The recruiter doesn’t know what you do, how you handle your work, or your capability/skill in your current day job. This is what a reference acts as for previous/current employers, explaining these details, your work ethic, and capacity to complete your roles and responsibility effectively and efficiently. This is what your case studies and writing will act as. They are a proofing system for how you conduct your work professionally and responsibly. Your website will summarise your background, instilling your track record. While your content will identify your ability and your values to the new employer.
It’s the recruiters job to make sure they understand you, your skills, and your capacity to complete the tasks in their business in an effective and timely manner. So why not make their job as easy as possible by providing easily digestible information and insight into you and your process? Like your work with clients; make it as easy as possible for people to get in contact with you, and for them to see your work.
Would a recruiter hire you based on the content on your site? Would you hire yourself?