A common question that we are asked from time to time is; ‘Can I use pictures and logos on my CV?’ The short and long answer to that question is: no.
Although there is no such thing as a Curriculum Vitae rulebook where every single thing is listed down in categories of what is and isn’t acceptable, we do have standard guidelines and practises for acceptable and conventional CVs.
“But… Why?” I hear you ask. Glad you asked.
The reasons are as followed:
The general rule of thumb is not to assume that you are permitted to use another company’s brand or logo without their explicit consent. Logos are protected by intellectual property (IP) and trademark laws. You may infringe upon the IP of the company by using their logo – without their permission – to promote yourself.
Intellectual property experts Warren & Odom state: “Third parties are advised not to use another’s logo for any purpose, except as specifically provided by license, signed agreement, or other written permission with a specific company or person.”
Furthermore, many organisations have their own Logo Usage Terms and Conditions where they explicitly outline in which cases their logo may – or may not – be used. For instance, Microsoft’s Logo Guidelines states: “As a general rule, third parties may not use the Microsoft® logo (‘logo’).”
Living in the digital age, it is common practice among many firms to fax, scan, photocopy, digitally store and reprint applicants’ CVs. Needless to say, colourful images, pictures and symbols that looked impressive and striking at the start of the process may look absolutely awful when photocopied or reprinted.
Other presentational considerations:
- Logos (usually) makes the CV look less professional (read: tacky)
- The CV will look cluttered and difficult to follow/read
- It will take up valuable space (which can be utilised for something more useful)
- Some recruiters may perceive the usage of images as puffery
Although there is no legal case against bad presentation, it is certainly worthwhile to carefully consider all the potential negative impacts it could have on your CV and your chances of being invited to an interview and ultimately securing a job… just something to think about.
3. Perception amongst Recruiters
The golden-rule for a successful CV is that is should look professional and not stand out for the wrong reasons. You do not want to stand out from the crowd with a sign over your head stating ‘I am a loner!’
Employers and recruiters – who are, ultimately, the people you are trying to impress and your sole target audience – are used to conventional CVs; and conventional CVs do not contain anything else besides plain text. In their view, images and logos are things that can be presented in portfolios or during the interview stage.
It is therefore not surprising to find out that the majority of recruiters in non-creative, media or fashion sectors tend to dislike (to put it gently) non-conventional aspects of a CV.
All the evidence indicates against using company brands on a CV.
Besides going against the mainstream conventions of CVs there is also, crucially, the risk of it being a direct infringement of Intellectual Property rights if the logo is used without the company’s approval. What impression will this give to the potential employer about you and your respect for IP rights?
Furthermore, it is a widely accepted fact that employers tend to prefer to see simple-to-scan, well-presented conventional CVs as opposed to something that goes directly against the mainstream practices of CV presentations.
Working on your CV? Awesome!
Having a good cover letter to accompany your resume is one of the best ways to get yourself noticed by hiring managers. A well-written cover letter will show your enthusiasm in the position and what skills and abilities you can deliver. Check out our graphic designer cover letter example and helpful do’s and don’ts.
- Do keep your cover letter concise. Generally, a cover letter should not be more than one page. Remember to use succinct language as well.
- Don’t forget to edit. It should go without saying that running a spellcheck is absolutely essential. Have someone read your cover letter aloud to you to see how it sounds.
- Do make it stand out. As a graphic designer with creativity, you should have a cover letter that shines among the rest. Be creative with your wording and make the hiring manager remember you.
- Don’t be afraid to brag. If you find it difficult to write about yourself, think about the perspective of someone you have impressed before, and write the letter from his or her point of view. In our example, the candidate highlights her experience, attributes, and ways she would excel at the job.
Graphic Designer Advice
If you’ve got a knack for design, and the proper technical skills, consider a job as a graphic designer. Graphic designers are responsible for developing the look of a companies products, communications, websites, and more. You’ll need the right education, a strong portfolio, and an eye-catching cover letter. Our cover letter examples can help show you the way. With these cover letter examples, you can take the next step toward designing your next job!
Cover Letter Tips for Graphic Designer
Finding jobs as a Graphic Designer means putting to use certain job-seeking skills while also maintaining the right mindset. The tips below can help keep you on track as you are looking.
1. Start with a plan. The best way to accomplish your goal is to make a plan comprised of steps and smaller goals that you can accomplish each day. Breaking down the process can help you stay focused and organized.
2. Get creative in your job search. Joining support groups and attending lectures is a great way to help you feel connected within the community and can open the door to unexpected opportunities.
3. Keep up with your networking. Reaching out to personal and professional contacts is one of the best ways to get information and advice about any industry or field you might be interested in. You never know where your next lead could come from.
4. Maintain a strong presence online. Make use of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as these provide platforms to increase your network circle. This also gives potential employers an accessible way to find your professional profile.
5. Stay persistent. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you are out of work, but remember that if you keep up your momentum, finding your next job will only be a matter of time.
Graphic Designer Job Seeking Tips
When it comes to looking for jobs as a Graphic Designer, the best way to impress a potential employer is with a standout cover letter. Read the tips below to learn how you can get your cover letter into top shape.
1. Do not exceed two pages. Unless you are a doctor or academic who might be using curricula vitae (CVs), there is no need to exceed two pages of writing. Always use brief and concise language.
2. Do not use generic language. Words such as great,” and hard-working” do not paint a unique picture of you as a professional individual. Avoid using these common words and pick more vibrant language instead.
3. Do use bullet notes for listing information and align the text flush left. These simple formatting standards will improve the organization and readability of your text.
4. Do create a Summary of Skills” section that will introduce your work history. Doing so provides an overview of your professional qualifications.
5. Do list your work experience in the following recommended order: title of position, employer, city and state of employer, and employment dates.