A few tips to help you perfect your CV

Like any advertising and marketing company we constantly receive unsolicited emails from prospecting individuals hoping to catch a lucky break in to the industry. Whether after a full time or temporary position, or looking to gain some valuable experience as an intern, invariably the email will have a CV attached.

Competition is fierce for a coveted role in the industry and all agencies will receive many many emails. So you need to make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance of making an impression on whoever is reading your résumé.

So here is a short list of how to make some improvements to your CV.

1. Detail. If one of your skills is “attention to detail” then please make sure your grammar is perfect. Part of our job requires us to spot mistakes in copy, correct bad layouts and making sure links to URLs work (Test them! Relevant links will be clicked). We recently received a nicely designed CV in which the individual boasted of a keen interest in typography, but had forced their skills in to small boxes which had a ridiculous amount of hyphens in it. Bullet points don’t require a full point, paragraphs do (or at least be consistent if you don’t have them). I’m aware that I’m now more than likely going to fall foul of Muphry’s Law!

2. PDFs. When you fire your CV off to an email address you’ve found online, you don’t know if the recipient is using a PC or a Mac. Different departments tend to use one or the other and unfortunately a word doc that looks lovely on your PC at home will more than likely reflow badly on a Mac. So do yourself a favour and make a PDF, this has a much better chance of being passed around an agency to the appropriate person.

3. Relevance. Tailor your CV for the company you want to work for. Previous jobs working in other industries show that you can graft, but we don’t need a full breakdown of your duties unless they might relate to our industry. A recent CV included the candidate’s previous positions in a number of cafés and shops and the bullet points of responsibilities included “Washing up” and “Cleaning of kitchen and crockery”. Bullet points in this case are not relevant, summing up your duties in one sentence would be much better. “Popular front of house server required to also maintain a clean kitchen” tells us far more about you. Avoid a lot of repetition.

4. Social presence. While having a good blog or a portfolio online is a great thing to have, please be aware that you might get checked out on ALL of your online activities. If you don’t want us to see you sprawled on a pavement on a Friday night then make sure your Facebook photographs are private, your Twitter account contains nothing that a prospective employer might balk at, and your LinkedIn profile reflects your CV and is up to date (it’s worth asking the person you are sending your CV to if they would like to connect). If the company you are applying to has a social media presence then give them a follow. If done well, your social networks can help raise your chances, done badly and your CV will end up in the trash. But be aware, we will look for you online.

5. Brevity. This is a standard point on many sites that tell you how to write a good CV but keep your CV to 2 pages maximum, we’ll normally have made our mind up on the first page so keep your most relevant details on that first page. Leave 7mm white space all around your CV, if anyone decides to print it out, the printer won’t crop off any of your valuable information.

6. Design. This depends on the role you are applying for but if you are a designer then this is your first chance to show off your talents. Had a lovely CV in recently but the designer had included trim marks and page information from the InDesign document. A big no from a Production person like myself.

These are just a few suggestions, every department in Marketing, Advertising and PR will be looking for something different but most of these tips apply to all CVs. Research the company and people you are applying to and pay extra special attention to your Cover letter/email, this can affect whether we even get to your CV.

As always, if you have any questions then ask away in the comments section.

Good luck!

Nick Page 6th October 2014



  1. Great tips, but while mentioning PDFs, I would also suggest setting the file opening options to ‘fit window’ on initial view. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing just a bit of a PDF page when you open it and then having to re-size yourself!
    Is that a bit too ‘geeky’?


    • This wouldn’t make me dismiss a CV out of hand Ken, but I agree that everyone should submit their CV in the best way possible and certainly viewing the whole CV gives the viewer the opportunity to see the candidates’ layout skills. Nick

  2. Would agree with the point about making pdfs. But it is worth pointing out that some companies will not accept pdfs over a certain size. By that I mean a 2Gb pdf will not be accepted. Also there are a lot of companies that will only accept “word or excel” files.

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