How to be Creative with your CV in a Millennial Generation

Being part of the millennial generation myself, I know how hard and frustrating it is to find a suitable job you want to apply for, not to mention then writing the perfect CV to accompany it!

As the economic climate didn’t favour our generation well, we have to work even harder to achieve our dream careers, carving our own path, the way we want to do it. We are the most educated generation, not to mention the deepest in-debt for this education, and most of us, including myself, are probably still living at home with parents! Yet we are tech savvy, we like flexibility and we are ambitious to move up in our career, on average only staying with the same company for 2 years. Therefore regular updates of our CV’s are essential.

This month I expect lots of millennials have attended their graduation date and will be spending the foreseeable future writing and sending their CV’s to potential employers. It is important for your CV to stand out from the rest, it’s not just about what you say but how you say it, presentation is vital! By no means am I saying everyone should have an extreme ‘outside the box’ CV, but I am encouraging you to take the time and care into writing one that accurately reflects who you are, the more effort you put in to the creation of your CV the more likely employers are to read it.

So here are a few inspirational creative CVs to have a look at.

The Resume- Ale

js1024_Brennan GleasonBrennan Gleason definitely thought outside the box when he brewed his own ale and used it as a way of promoting himself. The outside box contains his CV while the bottles display a portfolio of his graphic design work.


 Embroidered CV

js1024_MELISSA WASHINFor all you textile creatives take a look at Melissa Washin’s embroidered CV. It may be time consuming but it is unique and demonstrates technical abilities in it’s design.


 Three-Dimensional CV

js1024_odgers3Dresume_frontweb1Why not be imaginative and original in your CV creation, have a look at this three-dimensional CV idea by Sarah Odgers. This is an innovative idea that will no doubt have a dramatic effect on its reader.

Presentation Pack

Pat Schlaich is a graphic designer that created a promotional piece that was a miniature portfolio with business card and CV. This idea is fun and interactive for the reader yet it is clear and demonstrates all relevant information.

js1024_Pat Schlaich cv Fold out Envelope

Zi-Huai Shen’s  CV is a beautifully presented piece of design work within itself, he works on the idea of presenting personal visual design qualities in the work of the CV so that the interviewer can understand easier and gain more insight into personal and design abilities.­

js1024_zi-huai shen cv

Another way of promoting yourself is via video. There are many examples of video CV’s online as well as many tutorials on how to make it as professional as possible.

Check out Graeme Anthony’s video to give you an idea.


Here are 10 Top Tips to think about when writing your CV

  1. Keep it short and sweet, ideally no more than two A4 pages
  2. Make it well-structured and well presented
  3. Keep it relevant to the job description
  4. Don’t list irrelevant work experience
  5. Include what skills you learnt in each job that you list
  6. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, make it interesting and diverse
  7. Keep it error free!
  8. Be clear and precise don’t use extravagant fonts or background images
  9. For creative jobs – online portfolio or website is essential
  10. Positive language, concentrate on strengths and sell yourself well

js1600_scarlet opus edit We are a positive and confident generation ready to take on the world! Have the best CV and be the best at what you do!

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From Clicks to Bricks; why e-Tail is moving into Retail

Hi, I’m Laura the Trend Forecaster here at Scarlet Opus and I’m going to give you a little explanation about our hot topic ‘Clicks to Bricks’.

First of all, what does it mean? Well, ‘click to bricks’ is a term given to renowned online retailers moving into physical spaces on our high street. Traditionally it has been known for retail brands to succeed in store first before establishing an online presence however the growing trend of ‘clicks to bricks’ demonstrates that well-known online retailers are now becoming more experimental and toying with the two concepts of online and offline.

Creating a virtual presence before moving into a physical space is becoming a more recognisable transition; moving away from the web is not a step backwards but is about adapting to consumer needs. The brands that do create multiple channels of distribution are offering a variety of shopping experiences to suit individual consumer lifestyles.

A couple of examples of this movement include US online accessories brand Bauble Bar, online eyewear brand Warby Parker and online menswear retailers Bonobos.

These brands are less concerned with the traffic that ground level high street shops provide and more interested in the consumer experience, which can inform later decisions made regarding the future of the store.

No doubt you’ll all be familiar with the ongoing rise of the pop-up shop in recent years; which could be seen as another form of the ‘clicks to bricks’ model. This allows online retailers to ‘test the water’ before moving permanently into a physical space. This has been happening more and more as we see e-tailers take over high street stores on a short term basis or even set up their own physical space to attract consumers to take a look. With the majority of the products showcased online, small retail outlets can merely be a way of showcasing these products in real life, giving customers a chance to look and touch before they buy (showrooming).This is also a great way to boost the brand recognition.

Image courtesy of – Image courtesy of

Ebay pop up shop in Covent Garden London – Image courtesy of Ebay store in New York – Image courtesy of

We are also seeing retail brands moving into a more digital way of thinking and creating methods that mimic the online shopping experience. By blurring the lines between the digital online platform and the physical in store experience; retailers are creating a multichannel presence to expand the brand and enhance the consumer shopping experience. For example more brands are using digital services in store such as touchscreens, interactive displays and tools to enable customers to creatively customise their products, this offers a unique, quality experience to the customer, as well as making it convenient and hassle free for anybody to purchase the products.

The window below includes a huge touchscreen that’s ready to take your order and deliver your goods in less than an hour:

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Amazon locker installations are being set up in many densely populated locations around the world. For the urban dwellers it is a great way to collect items at a precise location rather than worry about deliveries being left unattended on the doorstep.

js1600_Amazon-LockerSo why is this happening you ask… well, online shopping is becoming easier than ever before with laptops, tablets and smart phones all at our fingertips, with one click to buy and one touch of a button is all you need to purchase items online however; consumers are in search of that unique shopping experience with that personalised touch.

Not only is it important to physically feel the connection with a product but also to have the personal customer service in store. Consumers want to touch, feel and engage before they buy, to be able to have the tactile aspect with the convenience of online options such as home delivery or collection while interaction with digital devices enrich the shopping experience.

The convenience of shopping from the comfort of your own home is obviously beneficial in many ways, particularly for those who work 9-to-5 or those without transport to reach shops and not forgetting those (like myself) who sometimes like to indulge in a late night ASOS shopping spree, yet to be able to physically see and feel what you’re buying adds a completely different dynamic to the whole experience.

js1600_scarlet opus edit‘Clicks to Bricks’ describes the online retailers that are setting up space in physical stores, these retailers are adapting to consumer needs by creating unique shopping experiences.

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Earning My Mouse Ears!

Earning My Mouse Ears

(A guest blog by Ron Baker for Phil at Scarlet Opus)

I’ve (Phil) been a huge fan of anything and everything Disney since I was a very young boy; my first ever visit to Disney World Florida wasn’t until I was 24! I took 3 kids with me so that I didn’t look out of place and stayed for nearly two weeks, mesmorised, transfixed and inspired.

Ever since then I’ve avidly read Walt’s ‘quotes’ and about his business philosphies and so when I came across this excellent use of the Disney ‘way of life’ to demonstrate customer service as it should be by Ron Baker I just had to ask him if we could share it with our readership. It’s a great read, if you learn something in doing so then that’s a bonus. Kick back and here you go……..

“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing—that it was all started by a mouse.” –– Walt Disney


Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse

When Walt Disney returned home from Europe, after serving as a driver for the American Ambulance Corps (part of the Red Cross) during World War I, his father wanted him to work in his jelly factory at a salary of $25 per week. Walt was not interested, and his father, becoming perturbed, asked him: “Then what do you want to do, Walter?”

“I want to be an artist,” Walt replied. “And how do you expect to make a living as an artist?” his father queried. Walt admitted: “I don’t know.”

Indeed, Walt didn’t know how he was going to make it as an artist. Looking back on this episode now, with perfect 20-20 hindsight, the question of Disney’s ability to make a living seems preposterous. But Walt Disney understood one thing about business very well: where profits come from and what an organization has to do in order to maintain them.


Think back to your Economics 101 course and recall the three factors of production: land, labor, and capital. If land provides rental income, and labor generates wage and salary income, and capital earns interest income, where do profits come from?

When I ask this question, the response is usually, “from combining all three factors.” That’s partly true, and certainly that is the function of an entrepreneur. But it’s not the real answer.

Profits come from risk. There is no other way they could ever materialize. Entrepreneurs are society’s perennial risk takers. Some lose; some win. But profits are the result of giving to others, humbling yourself to their needs first, long before you can expect to take anything in return.


Risk Management

It is the process whereby you put your entire fate into the hands of others—your customers—and provide them with a service that is so good they willingly pay you a profit in recognition of what you’re doing for them. Essentially, profit is an index of altruism.

Walt Disney understood this process, and he took many risks during his lifetime. Some failed terribly, while others gave him the profits necessary to build the empire that exists today.

Perhaps this attitude was instilled in Walt while he delivered newspapers on his dad’s route. Walt’s father wouldn’t allow his sons to deliver the papers from bicycles, carelessly throwing the papers onto porches. He insisted they lay the papers on the doorsteps, and during wintertime they had to be placed behind the storm doors.

Walt learned, at a very young age, the necessity of exceeding the customer’s expectations.

When I hear people say they’re in business to make a profit, I know they are chasing the wrong rabbit. If you’re in business solely to make a profit, you won’t. Profits are a lagging indicator of customer behavior.

In fact, if you look at any organization—from a nonprofit to a government bureaucracy—all of its results exist externally. The result of a hospital is a healthy patient; the re­sult of a school, an educated child; the result of a church, a saved soul; and the result of a business is satisfied customers.

The notion of “profit centers” in a business is a misnomer. There’s no such thing. Internally, in any organization, there are costs and efforts. As Peter Drucker points out, “The only profit center you have is a customer’s check that doesn’t bounce.”


In 1955, after the opening of Disneyland, Walt established the Disney University, the purpose of which was to train Disneyland’s 600 Cast Members (Disney parlance for employees) “to be aware that they’re there mainly to help the Guest.”


Disney Institute

This training continues to this day, and all new Disney Cast Members attend a one-and-a-half day Traditions course. The wording is very precise. They are not “orienting” their Cast Members, but rather passing down traditions.




We’re all, by now, familiar with how customer satisfaction is measured:

Customer = Perceived Performance
Satisfaction Customer Expectations

I arrived at Disney Institute with very high expectations, to say the least. I had talked with a few individuals who had attended, as well as read quite a bit of good press on its programs.

As any world-class service provider knows, customer satisfaction is no longer enough to ensure customer retention and loyalty. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, 65-85% of customers who chose a new company said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their former supplier. In today’s marketplace, a company has to exceed customer expectations and achieve customer delight.

In 1996, 75% of the Guests at the Walt Disney World Resort were re­peat visitors. More than 100 million Guests have made more than 500 million visits to the Walt Disney World Resort in its 25-year history (as of 1996). Some Disney resorts have achieved a return rate of over 90%. I attended the Disney University eager to discover how they achieve these results.


The Disney Approach to Customer Loyalty: Creating Service that Keeps Your Customers Coming Back was a new course being offered by the Institute when I attended in September 1997.

The program began at 4:30 Sunday afternoon. The 63 participants got a chance to mingle. It was a diverse group with participants from California, Minnesota, Singapore, Uruguay, and everywhere in between.

Industries such as healthcare, retail, and banking, nonprofits such as the YMCA, educational institutions, and governmental organizations such as AMTRAK, and the U.S. Air Force, were all represented.

The first two hours consisted of the program overview and introductions. Our program was facilitated by Karen Gable and Jeff Soluri, two long-time Disney Cast Members with diverse backgrounds. The Institute prefers to hire from within in order to effectively pass down the Disney traditions from Cast Members who have had front-line experience.

When Jeff and Karen asked participants what made Disney special, the stories all focused on the people aspect of Guest service. And I find this is true anytime people relate stories of extraordinary service: It’s always about the way they were treated, never about the quality of the particular product or service they purchased.


The Disney Institute

This is an important facet of providing quality service. It’s not so much what people get, but how they get it that determines their feelings about your organization.

Disney uses the Customer Relationship Scale to illustrate this. Any organization can be placed along a continuum depending on how passive or interactive they behave with their customers:

Passive Satisfaction-based
Active Performance-based
Interactive Commitment-based

When I think about the professional firms we work with, many of them are passive. That is, they simply satisfy the customer’s need for compliance work. They do their work and get paid, never really taking the customer relationship beyond the fulfilling of a particular need. Disney says over 75% of businesses have passive relationships with their customers, and I believe that’s true of professional firms as well.

Moving into the active phase requires a firm to solicit feedback from its customers about what they want and need. Fifteen to 20% of organizations are in the active phase.

That leaves approximately 5% of organizations in the interactive phase, in which the organization develops a partnership with the customer that is so deep, it can anticipate the customer’s needs and desires. This is the level that all world-class service providers strive for. It not only requires continuous feedback from the customer on how you’re doing, but also on what they want and expect. It’s a commitment so deep it is often compared to marriage—except the onus is on the service provider to exceed the customer’s expectations, not a 50-50 responsibility.

When you start looking for this type of behavior, you realize that Disney has achieved the interactive level with its Guests. In fact, they claim that Guests are “paying consultants.” Isn’t that an interesting way of viewing learning from customers?

That’s Easy For You, You’re Disney

Probably the most profound lesson I learned was during the opening session. After the participants told stories of why Disney was special to them and how many “moments of magic” had been created for them and their families, one participant said: “Yeah, well, that’s easy for you guys. You’re Disney, and you have all this wonderful magic to spread among your Guests. It’s easier for you to do these things.”

The instructor, Jeff, responded: “No, we’re Disney because we do these things.”

Disney faces competition, government regulation, labor shortages (Orlando’s 1997 unemployment rate was a paltry 3%), union problems (Walt Disney World has over three dozen labor unions to contend with—Mickey Mouse is a Teamster!), and all of the other hassles that businesses have to deal with. The difference is Disney’s culture.

Until Part II…(to be found on Ron’s website)

I began to wonder why it is people can wait 30 minutes to get on the Pirates of the Caribbean and have a good time, but if they’re in the Post Office or bank line for more than one minute, they get irritated. What’s the difference? That difference is subtle but telling. And it has to do with whom we compete with.


The Disney Institute

I would like you to think about whom your competition really is, and in my next post I will share more of the lessons from Disney’s Customer Loyalty course with you.

Ron Baker, Founder, VeraSage Institute –  Ron’s book: Implementing Value Pricing: A Radical Business Model for Professional Firms:


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Let There Be (LED) Light

At Scarlet Opus we love a good infographic.  Yes. We. Do.

So when we spotted this one all about LED lighting we thought “Hey, let’s share it” … not because we have a particular fascination with LED lighting (we all know about the environmental benefits and long-term financial savings) but because we like the offbeat style and quirky wording used to gently inform, rather than the usual hard sell.  Our favourite fun reason to switch to LED lighting is number 12 – that guy is rockin’ a great moustache & cardigan combo!


Miss P is out & about in Dubai today photographing a new retail hot spot.  She’ll be posting her findings at the end of the week – so be sure to check back soon!

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The Truth About Internships

js1024_ZakDuring my 2nd year at Uni some students that were on placements gave a talk on how they felt their placement was going. They all experienced different areas of expertise – some were doing fashion, interiors, marketing and buying etc… But they all had one thing in common – they all commented on the fact their placement year gave them a better understanding and focus on what to create in their final year.

Being a student myself who is currently on placement with Scarlet Opus, it made me think about and evaluate my time working for a company compared to Uni life.  So I decided to interview other design students who are also on placements and ask them to reflect on their time as Interns:

Gemma textThe 1st student I interviewed was Gemma Tovey who is currently a student on the ‘Surface Design for Fashion & Interiors’ course at the University of Huddersfield.  She is over half way through her placement year. She has done lots of different placements so far covering both the Interiors and Fashion sectors, and ranging from a weeks placement to 3 months.  This has included placements with Muraspec, Scarlet Opus, Ege Carpets, Me & Thee, Topshop, and her current placement at Marks & Spencer:

ZI: How are you finding your placement year?

GT: Overall I am finding my placement year very interesting and inspiring.  So far I have gained a really positive experience seeing the range of career paths/opportunities, which are available within the industry. I also feel it has been a good experience working in a different environment from University, meeting and working with other like-minded designers.

ZI: Is it what you expected?

GT: Having never previously worked in the Fashion or Interiors industry before my placement year I was quite unsure about what to expect. However having now being on a few different work placements I have found various aspects to be as expected but there were also areas within the companies I did not expect. For example I have worked with both large and small-scale design teams, working to different time scales and seasons using different design methods to suit their target customer:



ZI: Would you recommend other students to pursue a placement or go straight to final year?

GT: I would definitely recommend a placement year to other students although it can be quite difficult at times, a work placement really gives you a higher, more realistic understanding of the industry and what is expected of you once you graduate.  Whilst more personally, I feel it has also helped make me more prepared for my final year developing both my design and personal confidence. It is also a great opportunity to gain some feedback and advice from the people in the industry and develop some contacts.

ZI: What advice would you give to companies who offer Internships?

GT: I would say it is really important to make real use of placement students so they can have the opportunity to learn and develop new skills.  From my own experience I have found that practically taking part in set briefs has helped make me more focused, interested and eager to get involved. I would also encourage companies to be open, welcoming and willing to answer questions.



Kimberley text

The 2nd student is Kimberley Harrington, who is a 23 year old 3rd year student on the ‘BSc (Hons) Textile Design for Fashion & Interiors’ degree course. In September 2012 she started to work with an automotive interior design company called Sage Automotive based in Bury, north Manchester:

ZI: What skills have you learnt and how will they help in your final year?

KH: So far, half way through, I feel like my eyes have really opened to how this area of the textile world works.  I have an ever improving understanding of the automotive fabric production process and general critical timing … due to our fabrics and finishing being carried out in different areas of Europe, this can really play havoc with getting samples to design meetings on time, and makes having our own Uni assignments in on time look like a piece of cake.

ZI: What were the incentives for going for a placement year?

KH: I had reservations when starting my placement about what I would be spending my 11 months doing exactly.  In the interview I was asked did I understand that the role involved a lot of chopping and filing of fabrics for the many different customers. However at the back of my mind was, was I really choosing the right words as there were many other placements available that seemed at the time to be more exciting; but a bonus was that this was a paid placement in Manchester – an area I was familiar with. What I did understand was automotive design involved travel and this was a huge appeal. I also come from a sales background and enjoy working with people. So ‘automotive’ seemed a good choice for a placement experience as it involves many global customers and companies.

ZI: Has the placement met your expectations?

KH: When I accepted the offer I was still a little anxious but can safely say I have never looked back! In my first week I was introduced to a new embellishment development project which, little did I know at the time, was to become my own main project! This alone, in my 2nd week, took me to Brussels to attend a meeting at Toyota Engineering headquarters. Since then I have also worked on the recoloring of current production fabrics, designing new embossing plates, attending design brief meetings with customers, trend research (including trips to MooD & Heimtextil trend shows), and benchmarking, alongside the usual studio work of designing, re-creating and archive work.




Faye text

The final student I’ve interviewed is Faye Ruth Seale who is studying ‘Surface Design for Fashion and Interiors’ at the University of Huddersfield, and she went straight into her final year studies without doing a placement in industry:

ZI: As a future designer what do you feel is going to be the next big thing in terms of themes, patterns and colours for the Interiors market?

FS: I think integrating patterns and repeats are the future, referring to the economy to try and make the designs more interesting and have more depth to them, and using pastel colours to lighten up the mood but still using neutral colours.

Have a look at our Getting Nude blog for inspiration on using pastel and neutral colours.

ZI: Do you feel by going straight into your final year studies it has given you a disadvantage compared to the students who went on placements?

FS: Yes it has.  The main reason I came to this University was because of the placement year, and I turned down another University and course because of it.  If I was given a placement I feel I would have learnt a lot more and gained so much more experience rather than jumping straight into my final year.

ZI: What was the reason for going straight into final year and were you ready?

FS: The reason I went straight into my final year was because I could only get a 2 week placement and even then I couldn’t do it as I could not afford the rent as it was in London.  I do not feel like I was ready to go straight into my final year as I feel I still have so much to learn before I go into industry.



I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students who have taken the time to contribute to today’s blog post. I hope this has helped many of you who are either thinking of looking for internships with companies or for businesses who are considering hiring student interns – just think how you would be responsible for helping future designers develop their understanding within business!

zakandvIt really has been a brilliant experience for me. I came in with no experience and skills of working in industry but over the 5 months so far I have gained confidence in my approach to work. I have always been a grafter but the company have now made me feel confident as they set the task and they leave me to create and offer advice when I most need it. They have boosted my self-esteem and belief in my designs. They see me as part of the team and value my opinions.

Some students may experience positive outcomes whereas others may not but all experience it valuable, not every business has the same method of teaching and their approach will be different. I can thankfully say my experience has been very promising and I don’t have any regrets doing my placement!


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