As a designer, I’ve always learnt to sell myself as a brand – a fully formed, stylish brand that a company can buy into. It might not seem as important to you if you’re a lawyer, baker or candy floss maker. However, with the rise in competition in all fields of business, I can’t stress enough the importance of marketing yourself as a brand to potential employers.
Put yourself in the HR department’s shoes – they sift through potentially 200 CVs and applications for 1 particular job, and see the same old dreary, lengthy, Microsoft word documents time and time again. It’s boring. In pops yours, with a spark of colour, a personal little logo and a clean, well designed layout – their mouths will be watering before they’ve even finished reading the first line.
Below is an example of my own personal branding that I use on my CV, Cover Letter and Mini Portfolio that I send out when I apply for jobs. I really believe that the more impeccable and stylish your own personal stationery, the better impression you’ll give potential employers.
I always suggest putting in the time and money to hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing design-wise to create something for you. You can write it off to tax, it will benefit you in the long run and it’s going to potentially help to get you a great job! But hire someone great – not your neighbor’s cousin’s son, who takes art lessons and has access to Microsoft paint. If you’re paying peanuts, you’ll get monkeys after all. You wouldn’t hire a baker to do you accounting. Don’t hire any old person with Photoshop to design the brand that’s going to represent who you are.
If you can’t afford to hire someone, and have to design your CV and branding yourself, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when doing it yourself:
Below, I’ve drafted a Cover Letter to explain what you should be talking about in each paragraph. Remember, not more than a page and short sentences. Also, not more than one thought per paragraph. Keep it concise, slightly humorous if your job description allows for it, and very specific to the needs/key description in the job ad. I’d suggest using a point size between 10 – 12 for your body copy – nothing bigger or smaller than that. (And yes, this is my real information – don’t phone me in the middle of the night and make scary voices please! We’re all friends here.)