Creative CV Competition


‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for?'

The Art of Self-Promotion Competition

In today’s competitive job market, getting an employer’s attention is half the battle. What CV would you send speculatively to an employer to get noticed, or leave behind at an interview to make sure you are remembered? Why not get creative and go the extra mile. Enter this competition to produce self-promotional materials that are beyond the conventional.

Ross Middleham

How to decide what to create/produce?

Ross Middleham, Content and Social Lead at the Met Office, has contributed to the project and explains the art of self-promotion in this video. It's important to showcase who you are, what you have to offer, and what's relevant to the industry you wish to work in. You have a small window to grab the recipient’s attention so you want to make sure they get an instant grasp of your talents.

Your submission can either be digital or physical. If physical, then please consider the packaging, as this may influence whether someone thinks it's worthwhile opening. It’s also important to think about costing and whether it is viable as something that can be easily reproduced. 

Make sure that you provide links (embedded if digital) to your social media sites as the recipient will want to quickly be able to find out more about you.

In need of inspiration?

<p>Mario video game. Getty Images</p>
What about creating your own animated video game?
<p>Augmented reality. Getty Images</p>
Could creating an augmented reality business card be an option?
<p>Lego silhouette. getty images</p>
Or why not create your own Lego minifigure?
<p>Coffee cup. Getty Images</p>
Package your C.V. up in something they’ll remember

Or, choose something else

Why not get creative and go the extra mile. Your medium could be:

  • 3D Design
  • Illustration
  • Animation
  • Graphics
  • Video
  • Music
  • Audio

  • Other art-based mediums
  • Innovative business card
  • 3D sculpture
  • Magazine or cartoon strip
  • Billboard
  • Blueprint
  • Mannequin’s foot
  • Mixture of these ideas.


Dave Meadows, Managing Director, Pushed

‘Going digital with your CV opens up a whole host of opportunities; showreels, portfolios, examples of previous work, can all be linked or embedded in them, which before wasn’t really an option.  It’s always a relief to receive a CV that actually has a portfolio or webpage attached, then as the employer, you can get an instant grasp of the candidate’s talents. I think you just need to not lose sight of the first and most important aspect which is how that CV grabs your attention. I would be quite happy to see non-traditional CV approaches like, video CV’s, audio CV’s, musical CV’s, animated CV’s, there’s many different digital mediums that would work.’

Tish England, senior Designer, Drive Creative studio 

‘In the absence of extensive commercial experience, it’s important to create a CV that is fully representative of YOU. Make it stand out – BE creative. What’s the best way to represent yourself and the skills you have to offer? What is it that makes you different – what can you say about yourself that others can’t? All of that said, it is really important that your CV is appropriate to the position you’re applying for – and that all the usual CV details are there, clearly presented and easy to access.’


So what may a good CV look like?

Well, this is highly subjective but here are some questions to consider:

  • What reaction do you want?

You want your entry to be memorable, grab their attention and disrupt their day, but in a good way! Personal, friendly and humorous can really work, but you really want to avoid your entry being ridiculous or seen as a joke.  

  • How does it reflect you and your industry/sector?

You want your entry to showcase your relevant skills and to resonate with the recipient. If applying for a content writer position for example, you may not want to create a 3D paper sculpture, as they would not be looking for your creative design skills. You really want the industry/ sector to be obvious and the judges should be able to correctly guess this, without reading your supporting statement.

  • What content are you going to include?

You want to make positive choices in terms of the content and information you want to share. You want to think about the content in the same way that you would decide what to put in a shop window. You don’t want to put everything in it as that will look cluttered. Instead you want to decide on a few eye-catching items that will make them eager to find out more.

  • How does your conventional CV fair up?

When applying speculatively, or when producing something to leave behind after an interview, a creative approach can really work.

Sometimes, however, and this especially relates to some of the larger companies/organisations, there may be standard recruitment practices for their advertised positions, even for the more creative roles. In these circumstances, a more creative approach at the application stage may not be suitable.

These opportunities would require a more conventional CV, albeit well thought out with an eye for design. Your opportunity to stand out could instead come from having an effective online presence (in case employers search for you), as well as through what you bring to the interview i.e. physical examples of your work or something to give them at the end which they can keep.

Remember a more conventional CV does not have to be boring. Check out these resources on MyCareer digital resources.

Useful resources:

How to submit your entry

When submitting your entry please include a short supporting statement (no more than a few lines) on why you made the choice you did. This will help the judges to understand the context and its appropriateness.

Please make sure that you provide links (embedded if digital) to your website, Instagram, Pinterest, online portfolio, LinkedIn etc.

Your entry will be judged according to four criteria:

  • Its creativity and uniqueness
  • Its relevance to the industry
  • The consistency of how you want to be perceived (visuals, tone, overall look or feel)
  • The judges instant reaction.
If you are submitting a virtual entry please send them through to

If you are submitting a physical entry please send them to the following address:

FAO Post Room – The art of self-promotion (Careers Service)
University of Plymouth
Drakes Circus

By agreeing to take part in the competition, you agree to these terms and conditions:

  • The organisers (the University of Plymouth Careers Service) and the judging panel will decide the winners and their decision will be final
  • Should the quality of the entries fall below the standard required the organisers reserve the right not to award the advertised prizes
  • When your entry is received it will be re-viewed- if the organisers do not think that it meets the judging criteria, you will be notified and it is your decision whether you want to review your entry and re-submit
  • All entries will be displayed in a gallery on the University of Plymouth Careers service website. After the judging has taken place the results will be displayed on this page.
  • By agreeing to take part in the competition you agree to your CV being used as examples in workshops along with being displayed on the University of Plymouth Careers website and associated media. The University of Plymouth Careers Service understands that some of you may not want your personal contact details to be displayed- If this is the case please submit your entry with your contact details blacked out/removed.

  • Competition opens: 18 January 2021
  • Competition closes:  Thursday 27 May, midnight
  • Event: TBC

Judging will take place on Wednesday 9 June, details to follow.

  • 1st prize- £150
  • 2nd prize: £75
  • 3rd prize: £25

Prizes will be Amazon vouchers.