How do I do a CV?
Producing the best CV possible is vital; as it will be the first source potential employers use to gain an impression of you, so you really want it to look its absolute best. Below are a few handy do’s and don’ts to follow:
– Keep it concise and to the point
– Check your spelling, grammar, and look for any typos
– Use a font that is easy to read
– Include all of your contact information (Name, Address, Email, Telephone Numbers)
– Tailor your CV for each employer (e.g. broadcast/ corporate clients)
– Research the company so that you can provide the most relevant information for the role
– Include a brief covering letter/ email, addressed to the correct person
– Use several different coloured fonts; try to keep to 2 at most.
– Include any information about previous employment that is not relevant to the role/ position advertised.
– Repeat yourself, or use overly long sentences
In addition to the points above there are a few pieces of information which you should make sure are included in the basic structure of your CV:
Personal Statement – a brief description about yourself including why you would be the right person for the role, try to make this as personal as possible
Previous Employment History – start with your most recent employer and role, and do not include anything that is not relevant
Skills – list all of the different software you can use, along with the level of competence. If you only have basic knowledge of a particular software, be honest.
Education History – only list GSCEs & A Levels relevant to the position applied for. If you achieved a degree (the subject, university, and level gained), and any relevant industry training and qualifications achieved
Additional information – this could include any specialist skills, kit owned, knowledge of languages, international working visas, bases throughout the UK or Worldwide, driving licences & insurance cover relevant to the industry
How do I make sure my CV gets noticed and I stand out from the crowd?
Due to the high volume of people applying for work in the creative industries, the best way to increase your chances of success is by making your CV as unique, personal and easy to read as possible. Remember these are creative roles you are applying for so try not to sound too formal, you want your CV to reflect your personality whilst still appearing professional. In addition employers will not have hours to trawl through each CV so don’t be shy about shouting about your skills and why you would be perfect for the role. Confidence whilst not appearing boastful can be tricky to achieve, so ask a friend to take a look and offer their advice. Making sure that your CV is easy to read and not too long will increase your chances that it is read thoroughly, so if possible keep it to a maximum of 3 pages.
Do I need a show reel? Where do I start?
A show reel is a fantastic method to grab a perspective employer’s attention, and exhibit your creativity and technical ability. For some applicants such as Runners or Sound Recordists a show reel will not be very useful, yet for others such as Animators, Camera Crews, Directors and Editors they are a brilliant way to portray your skills.
The perfect show reel should be no more than one minute in length, as any longer and you run the risk that the employer will not have enough time to watch the whole sequence. Therefore you should aim to grab their attention within the first 10 seconds, rather than saving your best clips for the end. In addition never use clips that aren’t entirely happy with, try to cherry pick around 4 or 5 of the projects that you are most proud of working on.
Music is a great way of capturing someone’s attention, but think very carefully about your choice of song. You do not want to put the viewer to sleep, but you also do not want them to be tapping away to the tune and not paying proper attention to what they are watching.
Try to demonstrate as many skills as possible, as employers favour multitalented applicants. However if you work across several genres or have any specialist skills (such as Underwater Filming/ Steadicam experience) it is wise to create a few different show reels.
Remember to get permission from your previous employer before using any clips, and never use clips from programmes that have yet to be aired.
A good first impression is vital to success, before you attend your interview there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that you achieve one.
Be on time – research you route in advance and allow extra time for your journey. If for any reason you are going to be late, call and apologise as soon as possible.
Dress appropriately – make sure that you look clean and presentable.
Company knowledge – research the company history, such as when they were established, who their MDs are, and services they are able to offer.
Showing an interest – think of 2 or 3 appropriate questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the role you are interviewing for.
Be prepared – take a copy of your CV with you, and if appropriate a copy of your show reel or stills of your work.
Positive attitude – be enthusiastic to ensure that you relay your excitement for the job, and make a positive lasting impression on the interviewer.
What are those all-important ‘Soft Skills’?
Soft Skills are personal attributes, attitudes and qualities which make someone attractive to potential employers, as they are often thought to be the skills needed to be a good employee who is able to function well within a team environment. Please see a few points to consider below:
Approachability – is it important for the rest of the team to feel they can raise any concerns or questions with you.
Flexibility – can you be adaptable to sudden changes such as shooting locations, and working hours? If you need to finish at a certain time every evening, perhaps a job in the creative industry is not the best choice for you.
Positive Attitude – can you remain upbeat after spending hours on end in an edit suite, waiting for feedback to arrive or re-cutting the same sequence for the hundredth time?
Problem Solving Skills – unforeseeable challenges often arise, are you able to think quickly and suggest suitable solutions?
Punctuality – this is key to maintaining successful working relationships. Deadlines are often tight and so slack time keeping will not be favoured.
Reliability – honouring your commitments is vital, clients will not be glad if you call to cancel a confirmed booking at the last minute. It will be very unlikely that they will hire you again.
Time Management – are you able to stick to tight deadlines, and prioritise your workload?
Team Player – work in the creative industry can often be all hands on deck, and employees often have to pitch in with things that are not considered part of their job role. Is this something you would be willing to do?
Work Ethic – do you take pride in your job, and always strive to produce the best possible results?
Recruiters & Agencies
Employment Agencies. Do I need to be represented? What are my options?
There are several different types of agencies, so it’s important to decide if an agency is the correct route for your career and, if it is, to choose the one which is right for you. Before signing up with an agency consider how busy you are on the whole. Some individuals work fairly continuously, and so only need the odd day filled in their diary. However others may find themselves low on contacts, and requiring a little more assistance. Alternatively an individual may find themselves frustrated at being categorised as a specialist in one particular area, and will look to an agency to open new doors and help them steer their career in a new direction.
There are two main types of agencies. Some work on a strictly exclusive policy, so if you decide to sign up with one of these you will have to cut ties with all other non exclusive agencies, which you may have established successful relationships with. The alternative Non Exclusive Agency will allow you to maintain contact with other companies that you have developed working relationships with.
An additional point to consider is what the best payment structure for your needs is. A number of broadcast and media recruitment agencies (usually exclusive ones) work on a monthly fee. Therefore if you are fairly busy with your own clients would it be beneficial to pay for a service that quite often you do not require? Other agencies charge a set commission on the work that they find for you. Therefore if you are often unavailable as you have several of your own booking clients, this may be the wisest route for you.
What is a Diary Service?
Diary Services are very different from agencies, as they are not there to find an individual work. Instead they are a great way for busy freelancers to make sure that their client’s calls are always answered, and that they are able to have access to their availabilities instantly. A Diary Service is available to take calls on behalf of the freelancer, pencil in dates for clients, and then ask the freelancer to contact the client to discuss the finer details such as rates, locations, kits requirements etc. If you feel that a Diary Service is the correct path for you, consider how often you will be able to keep in touch with them. It’s very much a two way relationship, if you do not have time to speak regularly with the Diary Service will you benefit from your clients calling the Service to be told that they will need to contact you to discuss if you are available?