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Job Hunting - Should I Use a Creative or Traditional CV?

June 24, 2021
The UK Careers Fair

Standing out in the ocean of job applicants can be a challenging task on its own. This is why Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) are documents that are helpful for applicants and employers to sift through the eligible and non-eligible workers. By reviewing sections like educational attainment, work history, and learned skill sets, an applicant gets to showcase their potential benefit to a company. In turn, a hiring manager assesses the weight and content of these qualities to determine who will move up to the next step of the onboarding process.

Should I Make a Creative or Traditional CV?

The standard CV format used to be bland and straightforward, making it easier for hiring managers to get to familiar sections without wasting too much time. Since there are potentially hundreds of applicants in line, a hiring manager's patience and attention span can be an important factor in your application's success. However, modern application practices have given birth to more creative CVs to stand out from the rest of the curb.

These creative CVs utilize unorthodox layouts, slight alterations in colour schemes, and even a spin on sections and other details. This makes the reading experience more akin to a presentation than a formal document. Unfortunately, reception on the creative CV isn't always positive, with some companies—and even entire industries—being against this format. However, this doesn't mean a creative CV has no place in the job hiring market.

Setting Your Best Foot Forward

Sometimes, being bold and innovative is a way to depart from traditional conventions. This also applies to the rudimentary process of applying for a job opening. Creative CVs can give you an upper hand in most industries, mainly in the creative sectors. Graphic designers, marketing experts, content creators, and even social media managers are expected to have some semblance of understanding visual composition. For this reason, hiring managers may expect you to deliver output that coincides with your brand. Being experimental can pay off, especially if it's in line with the company's culture.

Starting with the Right First Impression

Although creative CVs can make a compelling first impression, they may not be the right choice. Some employers care too little about your manner of presentation and want to focus more on what you have to offer. Sometimes, the virtue of "less is more" applies best to the one-page CV for you and your potential hiring manager's convenience.

Remember to maintain the essence of traditional CVs, even if you're experimenting with a creative one. Always ask yourself about the necessity of standing out and its overall impact on your CV's presentation. If you're second-guessing yourself if you're adding too much attention to detail, you may be doing plenty in excess already. Remember that there are other ways to showcase what you can offer, such as submitting a portfolio document or a published website. Use these other resources in combination with your CV to set the right expectations for your job applications.


At the end of the day, the best CV is the one you're most confident with. As long as you commit to your personal branding, you'll find the right balance necessary to present your best foot forward. Although some traditionalists are still too afraid to embrace creative CVs, there might come a time when you'll no longer have to choose between a strict choice or a creative one.

Having the right CV is just the first step of many that you'll take to leave unemployment forever. At the UK Careers Fair, we provide job applicants to find openings and opportunities to find their new corporate home. Signup with us to get updates on the latest recruitment events and career fairs in the UK!

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