It is no secret that employers are looking for experienced, skilled candidates. However, the reality is that very few graduates (or students looking for a placement!) are going to have multiple years of experience in that field, with expertise in desirable skills like coding and Photoshop. Most of us will have dabbled, will have played with video editing or done a two-week internship where all you really did was get coffee and shadow other employees. This is mainly because most of us will have had to work retail jobs to afford to live at university, we have spent three years buried under textbooks and our parents do not have any interesting connections to exploit for work experience.

So if we know that, and employers know it too, why are they still asking us for that level of experience and skill? And how do we get around that? How do we boost our CVs without spending every last penny in our savings account or sacrificing more of our already limited time to get that experience? Well, SUBCULTURED have a few ideas:


Share an Adobe License with a Friend.

Adobe Creative Cloud have special discounted packages for students, with 65% off the retail price for the full Creative Cloud package you can get all the different software including Photoshop and Premiere Pro for just £16.24 a month which is an insane saving. What’s even better is that with that you’ll get access to multiple licenses, so you can log into the creative cloud on two different computers. So why not share the monthly bill with a friend? That takes it from £16.24 to £8.12 a month for the full Creative Cloud package. You unfortunately can’t both be logged in at the same time, but for those savings? You can’t miss out.

Now you’ve got the creative cloud, hop on YouTube and starting watching tutorials. Play around with the different programmes, teach yourself some tips and tricks and get it on your CV (bonus points if you design your CV in InDesign!).


Passionate about something? Set up a social media account dedicated to it.

Whether it’s books, food, travel or video games, if you love something use it in your side hustle. Set up an Instagram, Twitter or YouTube channel dedicated to that thing. You’ll have to commit to it, you’re producing content that you want to be proud of and to show off on your CV. That means taking the time to schedule posts for the best level of engagement, interacting with other people online and uploading regularly.

If it works, you have evidence of not only your commitment and dedication to a brand, but also a way to showcase your creativity and demonstrate your social media and marketing knowledge. And who knows, if you rack up enough followers you might end up making money on it too!


Writer? Write.

You don’t necessarily have to be a budding journalist for this to be a good opportunity to build your CV skills, but if you are a writer, then there’s no excuse not to be writing and building that portfolio.

Set up a blog and write about what you care about. Join SUBCULTURED or the Surrey Stag to get some exposure and support from other writers. There are loads of fantastic opportunities out there to stretch your skills as a writer.


Get your CV right

Most of our CV’s are probably a two page word document in black and white with your experience and education bullet pointed, and then a list of hobbies which included ‘reading, writing and going for walks’. You’ve probably used a different colour for the subheadings and everything.

But looking at it now, we’re sure you can only laugh and thank whoever has seen past that terrible design choice and has actually employed you in the past.

Take the time to update your CV if you’re not very confident using InDesign and don’t want to spend days faffing around with when you have other things to do being (Citrus, obviously). So to help you out, we’ve found an alternative that is super easy to use and has a free version that still has plenty of flexibility when it comes to design choice, that alternative is Canva.

Whether it’s a poster, letter, business card or CV, Canva has loads of amazing free templates for you to customise. It’s fast and easy to use, you can upload your own images or use their free vectors to jazz up your design. Canva is honestly a lifesaver. We’d recommend doing a little pinteresting beforehand, see what kind of style of CV you like the look of and then try and recreate in on Canva. Save it as a PDF and you’re done! And then best thing is, it’s saved online! So if you find yourself without your CV saved on a memory stick, you can always log in to your Canva account to access all your designs.


These are just a couple of different ways to boost your CV on a budget, we’re all trying to make it in the big city but sometimes you need a bit of an edge on the competition to stand out. Side hustle hard and step up your CV game.


Text by Holly Butteriss

Picture research by Juliéy Pham; featured image from Pexels.