Creative Graduate CVs – Advice_v2.PDF

It’s been a year since we posted a Graduate CV guide and in that time I think we get around one CV per week with at least one of these mistakes inside it… so read on or not…

You’ve spent 3 years busting your arses in University and you’re saddled with 40Ks worth of debt for the privilege, It’s time to get that email ready.  You have Googled ‘Design Studios Manchester’ and now you’re armed with a list to send to… BUT WAIT!

We’re a small studio but with a big heart when it comes to grads. We’ve all had that same fear of approaching studios and then hearing nothing, so as we receive on average 5/10 CVs emailed every week we wanted to help out by giving our thoughts on the common mistakes we see in our inboxes most weeks:

Check who you are applying to

If you’re an architect then you’re not going to get a job at a small branding agency in Manchester, same goes if you’re an 3D interior designer so make sure you’re applying to an agency that can use your skills.

Lose the graphs/bar charts/stars/stats.

Let us judge your skills from your work, we’ve used Photoshop since before you were born (1997) and possibly still not mastered all of it so be modest, we’d love to pass on our knowledge to you.

Stop looking at Pinterest/Behance for CV inspiration.

That way you pick up common mistakes but also create similar looking CV’s, create something unique to you or see below.


Keep it short & simple. We don’t need to know about your bar job or long paragraphs of what you think design is. Grab our attention quickly and keep everything to one page.

Do not attach a picture of yourself.

We think this is a European thing, this year we had one CV with three images (full portrait) in it. This frankly scares us as we would have to hide any mirrors in the studio and ban Instagram use in work time. We don’t care what you look like, show us your work.

Hello John.

Find the recipients name, last person that called me ‘Sir’ was in a hospital waiting room and I didn’t like it then either. I was also not a Madam last time I looked.

Don’t say: I found your website on Google.

Be personable and show an interest, finding out about us via Google isn’t going to win us over or saying you need to get some experience because it’s written in your course.

Check your spelling.

Do not block send or copy/paste into an email, write a personal email for every approach.

I love ‘Insert project name here’ because it really … you can spot these a mile off, never ever CC other studios into the same email either. We’re really touchy souls and emails like this get deleted.

Show your work.

Attach a short/small PDF showing a selection of your work, a weblink can do but for reference a PDF is better as can be saved. We do save PDF’s and even when we have no internships/jobs going we share with other studios/friends (One CV who applied to us has just started his first job with a friend of ours).


There will be more, there always is but just this small list ticked off will wipe away some of the more common mistakes and ensure we see your work first and not press delete.

Good luck!