Thousands of illustrators are looking for work right now. That means your illustrator CV has to dazzle like H. R. Geiger.
You can’t do it with a colorfully-designed CV. So how will you show your illustrator skills could rival Kara Walker’s or Arthur Jafa’s?
Let me sketch the answer.
It’s all about your illustrator achievements. What have you done right? Have you worked with big-name clients? Won a World Illustration Award? Created original art for six children’s books or four medical manuals? List the right artwork accomplishments in the right order and you’ll be in the black soon.
Ready? Let’s get you a gorgeous CV for illustrator jobs.
Want to save time and have your CV ready in 5 minutes? Try our CV builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ CV templates and create your CV here.
Illustrator CV made with our builder—See more CV examples here.
Looking for CV advice for other careers? Read more:
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Sample Illustrator CV Template
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Accomplished illustrator with 5+ years of experience creating intuitive designs for appliance manuals. Seeking to delight clients at the Raging Bull Agency. At Magical Mystery Designs Inc., created 2,000+ electrical appliance manual illustrations and received the internal Creative Clarity Award 3 years running.
Magical Mystery Designs Inc., London
- Developed over 2,000 insightful illustrations for electrical appliance manuals.
- Built relationships with 12+ stakeholders at clients like Bosch, Beko and Hotpoint to plan and execute on high-volume projects.
- Received the internal Creative Clarity award in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
- Created graphic designs for 20+ cross-platform client campaigns, including television, online and print.
- Illustrated an educational poster for the British Heart Foundation that was shortlisted for a Design Week Award.
Kedgeree Pickle Agency, London
June 2015–April 2017
- Illustrated an 8-page educational comic book for the RSPCA.
- Developed 150+ graphic design projects, including catalogues and brochures.
- Contributed ideas that slashed client costs by 20%.
- Developed images for a client site that helped win a 2016 Shopify Design Award.
BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design, September 2011–June 2015
London College of Communication
- Adobe Illustrator and CS
- Interpersonal skills
- Member of The Society of Illustrators Artists & Designers (SIAD)
- Winner of 2017, 2018 and 2019 Creative Clarity Award
Here’s how to write your own job-winning illustrator CV:
1. Format Your Illustrator CV Correctly
You already know how to make things stand out visually. To stand out in your job search, pay attention to CV layout. Your outline matters, but so do your margins, fonts, line-spacing, and all the other fine details. A clean CV format is a clue to the hiring manager that you’re no scribbler.
For a Klimt-level CV:
- Start your reverse-chronological CV by listing the last place you worked. Then work your way back to your earliest job. If you’re writing a freelance illustrator CV, you might want to try a skills-based CV instead.
- Add a header up top with your contact info. CV headers don’t need a physical address, so don’t write an address on your CV.
- Do list your city, email address, phone number, and LinkedIn handle. Add a link to your online portfolio if you have one—and have one!
- The right font size for CVs is 10 to 12 points, and choose one that’s easily readable like Arial, Cambria, or Calibri. Don’t get fancy!
- Looking at CV templates is a great way to get inspiration. Start with a creative CV template, then modify it to suit your style to save time.
- How long should your CV be for illustrator jobs? One page is perfect. Can’t fit all your accomplishments? Just be representative.
- The best name for a CV file is a simple “Name - Job Title - CV.pdf”
- Save the file as a CV PDF. PDFs are ATS-readable and their layouts stay perfect.
Read more: 20+ CV Writing Tips and Advice
2. Drop Jaws with a CV Profile Statement
Why do you need a CV profile? Because you want to get hired. See, hiring pros won’t carefully read every word you write. They’ll glance around like an adolescent at a Banksy show. To slow their roll, write an introduction for your CV that gets them interested in your skills.
The best way to write it is to answer three simple questions:
- Who are you?
- What can you offer to the employer?
- What are your career goals?
The way you answer will be different depending on your experience. So if you’re an experienced illustrator, do this.
- Make a list of your professional strengths, considering all of the experience and skills you have that make you good at your job.
- Then read the job advert and match 3–4 points from your own list to the skills and experience required.
- Use these points to write a CV summary targeted to the illustrator job in question.
And if you’re just starting out and lacking in experience then use this approach.
- List the experience and skills you already have and highlight anything that’s relevant to an illustrator role. Consider any previous jobs and your education too.
- Then combine this existing experience and skill set with passion for the job, and some knowledge of the employer you’re targetting to prove you’ll be a good fit.
Read more: How to Write a CV Summary: 10+ Examples
3. Tailor-fit Your Illustrator Work Experience
This is going to help you get so many more job offers. Don’t write a vanilla illustrator CV with bland accomplishments. Knowing how to tailor your CV sounds daunting, but it’s easy, fun, and soooo worth it.
To customise the work experience description on your CV:
- Use the job titles in the job advert. (If they’re looking for an electrical appliance manual illustrator, don’t say you were an appliance publication illustrator.)
- Add your former employer’s business name, where they’re located and your working years and months.
- The magic happens in your bullet points. Write 3 to 6 of them and don’t just state your job duties. That’s dull and won’t get job offers.
- List achievements for a CV that show how you pushed company metrics in the right direction.
- Tip: ‘responsible for’ and ‘handled’ are terrible words to use on a CV. Better ones are developed, created, and collaborated with.
4. Ink In Your Illustrator CV Education Section
Can you list education on a CV the way it will get you hired? Yes, but only if you do it the right way. You could just list your school, degree, and graduation date. Or you could go the extra millimetre and add proof of your art and soft skills. Guess which method gets more jobs?
Follow these CV tips:
- Write the name of your university and your degree on your CV
- Add a couple design or illustration school achievements.
5. Prove the Right Illustrator Skills
I know you’re itching to show your skill set on your CV, but pump the brakes. Too many job seekers fudge this one. You can’t just add a fat list of illustrator skills and expect to get hired. For a recruiter- and ATS-friendly CV you need the key skills from the job ad as CV keywords. Then go back and prove them in your work history.
Here's how to add illustrator skills to a CV:
- Seek the right skills in the job posting.
- Know the difference between hard skills vs soft skills and make sure to list both.
- Circle back to your work history and prove you’ve used the skills you list. How? With statements like, ‘Used Adobe Illustrator to create 500+ client designs.’
Illustrator CV Skills
- Medical illustration
- Fashion design illustration
- Children’s books
- Technical illustration
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Interpersonal skills
- Leadership skills
- Time management skills
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Computer skills
- Teamwork skills
- Organizational skills
- Active listening
When making a CV in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your CV here.
When you’re done, Zety’s CV builder will score your CV and tell you exactly how to make it better.
6. Add Highlights to Your Illustrator CV
Even if you’ve got the right illustrator skills and you’ve proven them, you’re not guaranteed a job. Show the employer who you really are with added sections in your CV.
Here’s how to make your CV magnetic:
- Add CV volunteer work to prove skills you didn’t build in your 9 to 5.
- Add association memberships and certifications. Not sure how to list certifications on a CV for illustrator jobs? See the sample up top.
- You can even add hobbies and interests—if they prove skills the employer wants, like administrative skills or persistence.
- Show levels of language proficiency on a CV if you need to fill some space.
Read more: What Are the Important Sections in a CV?
7. Write a Cover Letter for Your Illustrator CV
Is a cover letter important for illustrator CVs? Always. CV cover pages can show things that aren’t on your CV. More importantly, they prove you’re not just using LinkedIn’s auto-apply feature to spray CVs at job openings you don’t fit.
Make your cover letter format count:
- How to start a cover letter. Get attention quick with a grabby opening line. In your first or second sentence, mention their job opening by name.
- Highlight a couple of your best illustrator achievements in paragraph two.
- How to end a cover letter: Ask if they’d like to meet. Sound too bold? Not if you suggest discussing how your specific illustrator skills can help them.
How long must a cover letter be? Stick to a 3 paragraph minimum and a max of 5 paragraphs. A single page is best.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
That’s everything you need to write a crisply-drawn illustrator CV!
Thanks for reading! Do you have nagging questions on how to write an illustrator CV that holds the eye? Give us a shout in the comments section!
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