When the competition for jobs is high, sometimes you need to think outside of the box.
Or should we say, inside the box.
Employers sift through a lot of CVs so making sure they remember yours is important, but not that easy. When you're applying to the exact same job, with the exact same requirements as everyone else, your CV runs the risk of getting lost in the crowd.
Unless of course, you try something different. Now, whether creatively formatted CVs are a wise idea or not is a topic of much debate, but there's no doubt that, for better or worse, they do draw attention.
One job hunter who's decided not to play it safe with his search for a new job is NHS worker, Lee Macneall. He recently posted on LinkedIn that in an attempt to catch the eye of 10 prospective employers, he's made handmade cereal box CVs, complete with cereal inside for employers to enjoy for breakfast.
We spoke to Lee about what inspired his decision to try something new with his CV and what the response has been like. Lee explains, "I'm dyslexic and dyspraxic so I tend to view things differently. I thought I'd use my creative direction to make sure I would be able to stand out from the crowd."
On what inspired this idea, Lee says "I saw a Jax Jones and Ella Henderson music video where they have a life-size cereal box - it got me thinking, what better way to present my CV than on a cereal box with cereal in it. It was mainly to get noticed, but also because breakfast is the most important meal of the day!"
Lee decided to see the reaction to his cereal CVs on LinkedIn first, before sending them out to employers; it's safe to say the people of LinkedIn are completely bowled over with his idea. His post has gained 750,000 views and he's been approached by media outlets not just in the UK, but all over the world. "I've been featured in the Daily Mail, Metro UK, US papers, numerous websites and also on Australian breakfast TV!", he explains.
We asked Lee whether he'd received any positive responses to his cer-iously different CVs or even had a job offer off the back of them. "I haven't actually sent the boxes out yet!" he says. "From the engagement on my post there's been a huge influx of positivity and encouragement though, and a lot of people have mentioned that they would employ me. Of course, there's been some negativity too, but it's just spurring me on!"
We'll have to wait to find out how Lee's venture into creative CV writing ends but its gained him some viral fame if nothing else. If he's inspired you to try your own take on the cereal CV, here's a few tips to consider before you start brainstorming:
1. Consider your audience
- Are you applying for a creative role where there's more scope to show off your design skills, or somewhere corporate where your Photoshop wizardry might be less appreciated?
2. Don't make it difficult to read
- Yes, packing your entire employment history onto a chocolate bar wrapper is impressive, but if the text needs to be at font size 8 for it to fit, it's probably not worth the hassle.
3. Substance is more important than style
- Unless you're applying for a design role, the content of your CV is always more important than the way it looks. By all means try something different to the traditional format, but remember to spend time perfecting the writing part of your CV too.
4. Go big or go home
- If you've committed to designing a creative CV, then make it good. You're better off creating a stand out traditional CV than a creative one that looks a bit naff.
On the hunt for a student or graduate opportunity? We've got a ton of internships, placements, grad schemes and jobs right here on our website.