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Abstract: Creative directors work closely with advertising agencies’ or companies’ creative teams. They create, plan, and implement campaigns according to clients’ wants and needs. Creative directors inspire, manage, organise, motivate, organise, and market, to name a few. An art director CV has to have the same balance as the range of right- and left-brain functions required to perform the job well.
Have you got the vision, the skills to channel it, and the leadership to rally the creative team behind you?
If so, you might just make an incredible creative director.
You were a master of Photoshop before anyone else you knew had a PC—
And you haven’t stopped since.
You’re here, with plenty of experience and skills to make it as a creative director.
There is only one more thing you need.
A captivating creative director CV.
In this guide:
- A creative director CV sample that gets the interview.
- Tips on building your job description for maximum effect.
- Expert hints to increase the chances of your creative director job application.
Let’s get the storyboard out.
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Creative Director CV Sample for You to Make Your Own
Tess B. Williams
3968 Wright Court
Seattle, WA 98101
Inventive creative director with 9+ years of experience in building new teams of designers, copywriters, and online marketing talent. Developed a team that secured key accounts worth over £25m total, and £6m+ annually, including such brands as Sprint, Honeywell and Clinique. Maintained strong relations and 95% client retention rate since team inception. Best Cross Platform Campaign laureate in 2019 (DDAAUS). Excited to apply proven experience at Zenith-Omega.
- Built a creative team from scratch, starting with 7, now up to 19 world-class professionals.
- Responsible for key accounts worth £25m to-date, and £6m+ annually.
- Managed online, print, TV and multi-platform regional, national and international campaigns for clients such as Sprint, Honeywell, Clinique, Publix, Xfinity, 3M and DirecTV.
- Expert at maintaining relations with corporate clients, 95% client retention rate since team inception.
- Saved £150k annually through expert maintenance of relations with contractors, securing favourable rates with several studios and photo/videographers.
- Implemented project management tools (FunctionFox) and Agile principles to improve work organisation and complete 97% projects within deadline since team inception.
Assistant Creative Director
- Alongside the creative director, managed a team of 25 design and marketing professionals.
- Helped the creative director secure 35 new accounts during tenure, worth £2.8m annually, partly through spearheading intensive social media campaigns.
- Jointly responsible for accounts worth £4m annually.
- Managed multi-platform regional and national campaigns for brands such as GameStop, Carter’s and Express.
- Adobe Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Bridge, After Effects
- Art Directors Toolkit 5i, Art Files 3 (Code Line)
- Client Relationship Management
- Time Management
- Interpersonal Skills
- Effective Communication
BS in Marketing
- 2019 — Best Cross Platform Campaign (Clinique) — The Drum Digital Advertising Awards US
- Project Management Professional (Project Management Institute)
- SEO Essentials Certificate (Moz)
Let the juices flow.
1. Pick Your Creative Director CV Format
It feels odd to instruct someone who designs everything for a living on how something should look. While you may be able to tell anyone expert things about typography and kerning, I shall relegate myself to the role of the voice of reason. We both know you’re going to do your own thing.
Here’s the standard CV format:
Creative Director CV Format
- Definitely use the chronological CV format in reverse, to bring your most recent stuff upfront.
- Consider using a sensible, common font for your CV.
- Use 1-inch margins for your CVand negative space.
- Follow this order of CV sections: CV Header, Objective, Experience, Education, and “Additional.”
- Try to fit it on a one-page CV.
- Send your CV in PDF format, unless you know better.
Including your address on your CV is not necessary, although there are exceptions. For example, the employer may be looking to hire locals.
What would David Ogilvy do?
Expert Hint: One of the worst CV mistakes you can make is to underestimate the importance of studying the job description and getting to know the employer before you send your CV.
2. Formulate Your Creative Director CV Summary or Objective
Here is the focal point of your CV. Perhaps the only one. If you fail here, nothing else will matter. Brevity is key. Your ideas are cool and all, but remember that this is a capitalist enterprise and the employer would like to be able to estimate what you can handle.
Refer to the projects, budgets, and accounts you have dealt with. Focus on the clients and projects that have most in common with your new employer, and write a targeted CV. Cite the numbers, achievements and awards you have in your career summary.
Even though the introduction is the first section of your creative director CV, it’s not necessarily the first thing you should write when starting a CV. Writing the CV profile last may save you precious time, by reducing the risk of hitting a writer’s block.
The bad example hides behind empty statements and generalisations. As long as you are authorised to disclose who your clients and projects were, you should. Use CV power words like improved, directed, developed, to quantify the presence you can have in a workplace to allow your new employer to imagine it.
Your first attempt at holding the creative director title and in need of an entry-level CV?
Not a problem. Write a career objective like the one below—or better!
Expert Hint: If you are applying for these positions, your story might be as long as the one of creativity itself. Focus on the most recent and most quantifiable achievements. In case of past positions, only go into detail if you had any achievements which were really uncommon for someone in your position. If you held positions with different responsibilities, and have a range of different technologies or certifications under your belt, a two-page CV is acceptable.
3. Get Your Job Description and Skills Section Billboard Ready
Here’s where you get to shine. Your work experience on a CV must show the wide spectrum of responsibilities you took on, and the measurable impact they made. In other words, you must almost be The Most Interesting Man In The World.
Make your CV pass whatever CV ATS software will be used by examining the job posting and finding specific requirements and skills they’re looking for. Once you’ve identified those CV keywords, use and prioritise them throughout your CV.
Creative Director CV Job Description
Some people think an art director is interchangeable with a creative director. However, as pointed out by an FIU University of Communication article, and as you and I both know there’s a big difference between them. As a creative director, you’re responsible not only for the creative side of project management, but also for the business side of things.
Pay special attention to all of those special skills you possess when listing them in your CV.
After describing your sizable experience, you may have a lot of things left over that you didn’t get a chance to talk about. Perhaps you have some technologies, mediums, and skills up your sleeve, but they don’t warrant a separate bullet point.
You can list those in a CV skills section, unless you’re a negative-space-loving minimalist.
Creative Director Skills for CV
- Active Listening
- Project Management
- Effective Communication
- Business Design
- Conceptual Planning
- Cost Management
- Designing Project Scope
- Managing Multiple Large-Scale Projects
- Negotiating with Vendors
- Strategy Development
- Team Management & Delegation
- Written Communication
- Project Management Software (e.g. FunctionFox)
- Adobe Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Bridge, After Effects, etc.
- Art Directors Toolkit 5i, Art Files 3
- Client Relationship Management
- UX Design
- Print Design
- Photography and Branding
- Video Production
- Computer Skills
Expert Hint: A PMP (Project Management Professional) certification is the gold standard in IT projects, but can be translatable to creative projects too, and can help with moving up to higher levels of management. PMI is the body that offers the gold standard PMP certification.
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4. Minimalize Your Education Section Accordingly
Unless you’re a David Droga type phenom taking over an agency at 22, chances are, you graduated a very long time ago. I know it seems like it was yesterday. Keep telling yourself that. Don’t waste valuable space, however. Negative space is better than talking about your coursework from 2003.
Simply list your major, school name, and graduation date.
Creative Director CV Sample—Education
Expert Hint: Some creative director positions may require more than a bachelor’s degree. List your master’s degree first, keeping the reverse-chronological order, and read more about listing education on your CV.
5. Smooth Out Your Creative Director CV With Added Sections
If you’re a fan of negative space, or your award shelf is empty, you can finish here. If, however, there are some more nuggets of value that you’d like to smuggle through, you can add bonus CV sections.
For your field, industry awards would be the most prestigious.
Consider the rest only if it’s something really relevant to the job:
- Foreign Languages
- Hobbies and Interests
- Professional References
- Skills—if you haven’t included them as part of your other sections
Compare these two creative director CV examples:
Creative Director CV—Extra Sections
And that would be the bare sketch of it. Of course, your touch and flair will make it something unique. You can also consider writing a cover letter. It will allow you to talk about work experience and accomplishments in more detail.
Expert Tip: Don’t write a generic cover letter. A modern cover letter should also be customised to the position you’re applying for.
Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.
Remember the following rules and break them at will:
- Consider a standard CV format—margins, fonts, 1 page, reverse chronological.
- Quantify the impact and achievements, instead of just describing work. Think about projects completed, budgets, schedule, improvements.
- Limit the length of the education section to make space for experience.
- Remember to write a striking creative director cover letter.
Did you find our creative director CV examples helpful? Did we help you get your creative director CV right? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply.