Writing your CV and covering letter for jobs in the creative industries

Posted by Creative Access

Love literature? TV addict? Crazy about the sound of music? So, how do you actually make a career out of it? So whether you’re a fresh-faced graduate or a looking to make a career-changing move, make sure you check out our tips on how to create an outstanding CV and cover letter…

Composing your CV

  • Step out of your shoes… and into the recruiters: Ask yourself whether you’re making it as easy as possible for the recruiter to determine that you’re a strong candidate for this specific job? What makes your application stand out from the countless other applications they are skim-reading?
  • Length: Keep it to a maximum two sides of A4 (ideally one) and include bullet points so you’re concise and to the point
  • Format: Choose a font that’s simple and easy to read. Include clear headings, and leave enough white space so that the reader can easily jump to what they need to find
  • Start with contact details: name, phone number and email. No need for a photo or a full address but you could include your city or region and whether or not you’re open to relocating
  • Add a short profile: maximum two sentences about you, what you’re doing at the moment, and what you’re interested in pursuing

List your:

  • Education: Your most recent qualification first. Include key modules and dissertation title (if relevant to the role) and any awards or professional memberships
  • Employment experience: List it in reverse chronological order and include all experience, whether relevant to the role or note. Separate into voluntary/paid employment. Include the role title, the company, and employment start and end dates
  • Skills: IT, systems, languages and, soft skills e.g. team working skills
  • Interests and hobbies: Include involvement with clubs and societies and anything quirky that makes you stand out from the crowd
  • Social media: Include links to your accounts (especially if you’re going for a marketing role) but make sure your feed is current and appropriate; many employers do check
  • Blog or portfolio: Include links to these, but only if they’re up to date
  • References: Include two full reference contact details (one employment, one academic). If not, write ‘References available upon request’
  • Proofread: Yourself first and then get someone else to.

Crafting your cover letter

  • Less is more. Your letter doesn’t need to exceed one page. Keep it succinct and to the point
  • Always tailor your letter to fit the specific organisation and role you’re applying for. It’s obvious which candidates have put in the work to craft a thoughtful cover letter
  • Show why you want to work for this particular organisation: write about the company and what appeals to you; reference the authors they publish, the shows they produce, the content they create etc?
  • Don’t repeat your CV, but use this as a chance to explain why you’re applying for the role
  • Explain and evidence how you meet the job’s criteria. Don’t just say you can do the job, show them! Include links to relevant content that you have created that demonstrates your ability
  • Refer to transferable skills: If you don’t have direct experience in the areas outlined, think about what skills you’ve acquired through study or other jobs and how you might be able to translate them into this role
  • Your chance to shine… Sell yourself by including keywords that will credit your attributes and skills; using phrases like ‘was involved in’ and ‘assisted’ imply that you were more of a bystander than an instigator. Consider using strong action verbs such as ‘chaired’ and ‘coordinated’.
  • Show enthusiasm: More than anything, an organisation wants to know that you’re passionate.
  • Ensure your spelling and grammar is accurate. Print out your letter if you can to proof read it; it’s easier than doing so on screen.
  • Don’t forget, the perfect CV and cover letter is not an exact science. Stay positive, keep refining your CV and cover letter, and your moment will come. Good luck!

Creative Access is a national social enterprise, working in diverse recruitment, training and inclusion. They work with organisations across the whole creative economy. They support talented people from groups that are under-represented in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic background and disability, or facing significant barriers to employment, to not just enter the creative industries, but to thrive when they get in.

If you want more advice about entering the creative industries, stay in touch with Creative Access: