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9 Reasons you shouldn't make a 'creative' CV

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In recent years we’ve seen CVs on billboardsCVs that look like Amazon listings and even CVs on beer bottles. If you type video CV into YouTube you’ll also find pages and pages of people ready to share their experience in front of the camera.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that these creative measures are any more effective than the traditional CV, and plenty of reasons not to use them.

1. Relevant experience and previous success will always be king

Those are the factors an employer or recruiter is looking for, so you should only ever present relevant information in your application. If you are applying to be a graphic designer it makes sense to demonstrate your design skills with a, reasonably, creative CV. If your creative idea isn’t relevant to the job, stick to Microsoft word.

2. It’s a distraction

Not only does an irrelevantly creative CV add little to your experience, it can actually distract from it. You don’t want an employer to be so busy admiring your design skills that they forget to focus on your experience.

3. It can be time-consuming and/or expensive

Making videos, building websites, printing bottles and designing billboards all have two things in common. They take time and they cost money. If they are unsuccessful, that’s wasted time and money that could have been spent upskilling or improving your CV.

4. ‘What is this?’

Hiring managers will have a natural expectation for how the hiring process will go. They prepare themselves to review a stack of CVs. If a crate of beer lands on their desk, their first thought won’t be ‘how innovative.’ It will be ‘what is this?’

5. You weren’t asked for it

Some hiring managers are very specific in what they want from applicants. Usually, they are so specific because they have a defined process they want to go through when reviewing applications. If your application differs wildly from others, it will upset that process and probably upset the hiring manager too.

6. You are not a filmmaker

Making a video requires a particular set of skills, not to mention equipment, which you probably don’t have. CVs are all about promoting strengths and highlighting success. It’s difficult to do that while worrying about the right lighting, backdrop, audio, editing, titles or animation.

7. Hiring managers aren’t critics

Hiring managers for roles that do not involve video production don’t care that you can do slick editing and solid composition. They just want to know if you can do the job. The problem is, as soon as you bring video in, hiring managers will naturally critique the production values. It’s human nature and it’s another distraction.

8. Video takes too long

Even the shortest video CV is likely to run over one minute, while it takes a matter of seconds to scan a CV and decide whether or not you want to look at it in detail. That’s how most CVs are reviewed, a quick scan first then a longer look if the experience fits. Imagine the psychological impact of running through ten CVs in two minutes and then having to waste three more minutes on a single candidate.

9. You shouldn’t need it

The simple fact is, your skills, experience and attitude will get you the job not your CV. If you have the relevant skills and experience you’ll get the interview. Demonstrate the right attitude and you have a good chance of getting the job. Neither a billboard nor a crate of beer will do that for you, so do it yourself instead.

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