5 Creative CV Ideas for Career Changers

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated July 10, 2022

Are you a career changer looking to shine in a sea of candidates? Our creative CV ideas are designed to put you ahead of the pack and land you your dream career change job.

While not every industry will appreciate a creative CV, it can be a clincher if you’re trying to break into a job role within the arts. For example, artistic jobs in design, art, media, technology, and publishing highly favour creative thinkers. Therefore, opting for one of our alternative CV formats could be the thing to set you apart. 

When it comes to creating creative CVs, the key is to align them with the industry you are applying to. For example, if your dream is to join the world of video production, then a multimedia CV is the way to go. Similarly, career changers searching for their first design job may want to go for a visual CV format that shows off their design chops.

Your CV tells your story. So, make it count. Typos, messy formatting, and boring fonts can result in your CV being left at the bottom of the pile, especially if you lack experience in the field. As a result, spicing it up could be your secret weapon. If you decide to make a creative CV, we recommend having a conventional CV too. That way, employers can see your creative side and get a deep understanding of your background. 

What are the Most Common CV Formats?

Before we look at ideas for creative CVs for career changers, let’s touch on the traditional types of CVs first. There are 3 common CV formats; chronological, skills-based, and a hybrid of the two. In addition, it’s common to save a copy of your CV as a PDF and a Word document. That way, it’s ready to upload and share with recruiters.

Let’s explore each of the 3 types of traditional CV types.

Chronological CV

A chronological CV format lists a job seeker’s professional history starting with their most recent job and working backwards. This format is familiar and easy to understand, making it a popular choice for employers. However, it works best for professionals with a lot of work experience. 

If you’re a career changer with little to no experience in the industry, a chronological CV may actually highlight your inexperience rather than your skills. As such, it could be best to switch up your CV in favour of our creative CV ideas.

Skills-Based CV

A skills-based CV is a better CV format for career changers. Namely, because it focuses on your transferable skills and education. As a result, those switching jobs can showcase their valuable skillset even if their experience lies in a different field. What’s more, a skill-based CV is a great format choice for those who are worried about gaps in their employment history.

Rather than placing work experience at the top of your CV, a skills-based CV puts skills and accomplishments in the top spot. These skills may be from previous professional experience, school, and your personal life. 

When writing a skills-based CV, it’s important to only include skills that are relevant to your new job role. To make sure you are highlighting the best skills for your new role, scan job descriptions and pick out the keywords. Then, weave those into your CV in the skills section. Don’t forget to provide real-life examples to support the skills you list in your CV.

Want to know more? Our guide shows you how to write a career change CV.

Hybrid/Combination CV

As you may have already guessed, a hybrid CV combines a chronological CV and a skills-based CV. Hybrid CVs are detailed, making them best for professionals with a solid work history in the job role they’re applying for. Therefore, it is not the best CV format for career changers.

A hybrid CV contains your skills, education, and previous work experience. As a general rule, we suggest placing the most important information at the top of the CV. 

The Best Creative CV Ideas for Career Changers

We’ve seen the traditional types of CVs, now let’s take a look at some creative CV ideas. With so much competition, it can be hard to grab a recruiter’s attention. After all, recruiters spend an average of just 6-8 seconds reviewing a CV. If you want to make those 8 seconds count, take a look at our ideas for CVs that stand out.

Before we dive in though, it’s important to note that a creative CV should only be used if it aligns with the job role you’re applying for. That’s why it’s a good idea to research the industry in advance to make sure that your creative take on a CV will be appreciated. More importantly, you will want to check that the recruiter can actually access your creative CV. Thus, it’s best to send both your traditional CV and creative CV format together. 

Without further ado, here are 5 creative CV ideas that are perfect for career changers looking to make a splash.

Portfolio

If you’re a career changer trying to break into a creative field, then a portfolio is the best way to show off your skills. Portfolios can be used in a number of professions, such as graphic design, video editing, web design, writing, photography, culinary arts, architecture, and fashion design.

In a nutshell, a portfolio is a “best bits” reel of your best work. When curating your portfolio, it’s best to be picky and only showcase your absolute best work. Since it’s unlikely employers will look through the full portfolio, we suggest keeping it to just a select few pieces that show off your versatility and skills.

While a portfolio was traditionally a paper folder, nowadays digital portfolios are the norm. It can be presented in a number of ways, including photos, links to published articles and writing snippets, samples from design jobs, and videos. If you’re interested in making your own online portfolio, there are plenty of free portfolio websites and software available. Finally, some creatives even embed a QR code in their CV so recruiters can easily access their online portfolio. It’s the small touches like this that really set you apart.

This design portfolio by illustrator and artist Merijn Hoss is a great example of how a portfolio can speak for itself.

Video CVs

Do you remember Matthew Epstein? The Google-loving American shot to fame after creating a website and a video CV in the hopes of getting hired by Google. And, while Google may not have hired him in the end, he definitely got their attention. Not only did Matthew receive 80 interview offers, but he landed his dream job shortly after. Now we’re not suggesting that you go to such extreme lengths, but it does show the power of video CVs.

In fact, video is now one of the best alternatives to a CV, especially among Gen Z and millennials. As the workforce becomes increasingly digital, video CVs are gaining traction fast. Particularly in sales and creative industries like marketing, PR, and media. 

Video CVs are a fantastic way for career changers to show off their passion, creativity, and skills when they lack hands-on industry experience. It also shows that you are up-to-date with technology even if you are starting a new career later in life. You can create and edit a video CV on your smartphone and send it directly to recruiters or upload it to a hosting platform like YouTube.

If you’re a career changer looking to make a video CV, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind. Firstly, keep it short. Ideally, a video CV should be no longer than ninety seconds. It’s not the format to recite your full work background, but rather to give a brief introduction of your skills, experience, personality, and value to the company. Finally, think outside of the box. At the end of the day, video CVs are supposed to be creative. Therefore, avoid boring scripts. Your video CV should be full of personality and totally unique.

Infographic CVs

Another of the most popular alternative career change CVs is an infographic CV. In a nutshell, an infographic CV uses visual aids like icons, graphs, illustrations, and charts to present your professional background. The goal is to provide potential employers with an engaging, user-friendly overview of your work experience and skills. For example, you can use charts and graphs to display skills and experiences in the place of text. 

While an infographic CV works well for any job role, it’s particularly effective for design jobs, project management, and data roles. Additionally, it’s a fantastic way for career changers to emphasise their key transferable skills in a visual manner.

A word of caution, though. Since many employers use keyword scanning software to screen CVs, an infographic CV is best sent alongside a traditional CV. That way, the software will still pick up on relevant keywords. Alternatively, you could post it on social media or share it directly via email.

This incredible infographic CV template is a perfect example of how to make your CV stand out from the competition. 

Personal Website

Building your own personal website is an excellent way to tell your story and demonstrate your skill set. While this might not make sense for every type of job, it is particularly effective in many industries. For example, copywriting, web design, and graphic design.

Your personal website should reflect your personal style and contain samples of your best work. In addition, it’s a smart idea to include a section that highlights your professional background, skills, and values. Most professionals add a link to their personal website to their traditional CV as well as their online professional networking accounts. That way, recruiters can get a better idea of who the candidate is right off the bat.

PowerPoint Presentation

In our increasingly digital world, our brains crave interactive content. For this reason, interactive CVs are rising in popularity. Platforms such as Slideshare enable job seekers to build PowerPoint presentation CVs that are engaging, interactive, and SEO optimised. 

Similarly to the other alternative CV formats on this list, creating a PowerPoint CV is a great supplement to a conventional CV. Not only do you show off your PowerPoint skills, but you can build a dynamic presentation that tells your story.

This visual CV is a wonderful example of how a PowerPoint CV can showcase your key skills. You can even include testimonials from former colleagues, stats to back up your work experience, and images to bring your work history to life.

Final Thoughts

If you’re in the process of choosing a new career, the next step is to create a CV that makes you stand out from the crowd. Opting for a creative CV format shows employers that you are an out-of-the-box thinker with a creative mind. This is particularly valuable as a career changer with limited hands-on experience in your new field of choice. Thus, a creative CV can help to focus on your relevant skills as opposed to years on the job. We hope our creative CV ideas have inspired you to experiment with different styles. 

To support you as you start your new career, we have put together a wealth of valuable resources on our website, including a comprehensive career change guide

For further advice, check out our resources on changing careers or browse our live job board for career change opportunities near you.

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Last Updated: Tuesday July 19 2022
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