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How to apply for jobs with creative CVs

There are always two types of people, even when it comes to building a resume.

The ones who like to play it safe, by the rules, and the ones who want to stand out.

For all the grey area lovers, there are some who like to stand out but also follow some rules.

I'm the kind of person who tries to adapt and experiment after listening to feedback.

Note: *I work in marketing, so it is on the more creative side (but don't build labels, any industry, any role can be creative if you consider it!)

Fortunately, I haven't had to go through this painful experience while young, because opportunities used to come to me. I didn't have to make a standard European Pass CV and be sad I don't have any experience to fill it in with...

I remember making my first CV around 2014 for a company that already knew that it will hire me, but the management needed to see my experience.

So, without having constraints, I went for it. Prezi was cooler than PowerPoint back then, not many were using it, but I loved its interactivity, and I made the coolest CV ever. I got the job, and I was trusted to come up with "other cool digital ideas for all the campaigns".

At some point, I started using UpWork, and needed some kind of portfolio and Behance wasn't helping me. I worked in marketing, on the digital side, on creating written content. I needed to prove I'm good at what I'm doing.

I made a newsletter with MailChimp that served as a CV, and had a link to open it in a browser - like a webpage, but it was structured as a newsletter. I added images and links and had titles and sections. Pretty smart, huh?

I finally did a CV when I applied to an IT company. It was 2015. Humans were checking them, I wasn't scared of the mighty ATS. All I knew, was that I don't want to fill in a European Pass in Word. I used Illustrator to prove that making a CV is a bit more creative and suitable for a marketing person, that does graphic design as well?

The general format highlighting the experience, education, and some keywords is not my favorite. Because we can't resume people to only that, can we?

What about the things we are really good at, and how we built up the skills that are useful for the role we're applying for?

What if we experimented with freelance work and being an employee, and we actually took the time to understand our strengths, and what we enjoyed from these two very different approaches?

I did exactly this - I tried translating everything I managed to learn in 5 years and emphasize what I considered important for the role.

Especially, since the role wasn't clear - I wasn't filling someone else's shoe. The role was created together with me.

I got the job - the best 3 and a half years of my life.

Hello, Swiss style!

I never abandoned this idea that a different style of CV can make a difference. But, I was applying for jobs in Switzerland.

Hello rules, hello ATS, and hello time spent to get a job between 1 and 2 years!

I did prove this last theory wrong and got my first job in Switzerland without living or having a work permit in less than a month.

Fun Swiss facts, that could make you actually cry: You have to add your age, address, and marital status. Nope, I just can't. Let's close this subject here.

I got feedback on the CV from above from HR people working for big firms. They were honest and told me they looked at it because they know me and find it cool after reading it, but they would never do that when it's part of a big pile.

"We spend a few seconds on it, if we can't find what we need, how many years, where, when... then it's a pass!" And that's if it gets saved and looked at by a human.

Goodbye creative approach when it comes to explain career moves and emphasize strenghts...

I didn't give up.

I made the first page focusing on the usual experience with sections for them, with years and bullet points, but on the 2nd page, I wanted to still have something that mirrors me.

Depending on the role I was applying for, I went for different ways of proving I'm suitable.

I was applying for roles in event management as well, as part of the marketing.

And yes, this passed a headhunting firm in Milano and helped me get my first job in Switzerland. Which got killed after half a year by the amazing pandemics that affected the event industry as a whole... that's another story.

Did I mention how important I find it to really read through the specifications of the role, spend time researching the company, its employees and try to prove why you would be a great fit? You don't just do that in your cover letter, because it might never be opened.

I tried my best, especially when applying to start-ups I find innovative. But I guess I'm not the only one who thinks out of the box...

How to make a creative CV that will lend you the dream job

I'm getting rejected on a row now... Why? Here are some of the stories. The fact that I landed the first job in Switzerland with that CV might have been because it was before Covid19 and luck was still on my side?

Surprise, surprise, this is not an article that will tell you how to make a creative CV that will lend you the dream job. I haven't figured that one out yet.

I do have a CV that is between creative and following Swiss rules, coach and HR specialist approved. I used recommendations inside it and went for results with numbers.

Clickbait? No, wasn't my scope.

Maybe these examples help you to get a push, to try out different ways. Maybe, maybe, we can break some mentalities and convince others that by approaching it differently, it already makes you more suitable for the role you're applying for.

Being on brand - if anyone clicks on your personal website it might make sense, otherwise it just looks like a design trial...

A trial for an agency looking for a content creator. I changed everything.

I went on their website, got their fonts, and used them.

I put my Insta Profile and used the circles from Insta as a design motive.

Used the highlights section to add my other social profiles and portfolios that prove I create written content plus visuals.

Everything is interactive and clickable, easy to be stalked by anyone in the company, and it should prove that I've been consistent in being a content creator, not only for my clients but also for myself.

What do you think?

Will I ever hear back from them?


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