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Friday, 20 February 2015

COME ON GUYS.... THE JOB APPLICATION IS SIMPLE!

I posted an advert this week for a Runner/Production Assistant/ Jnr Production Secretary. I have been overwhelmed with applications - but I must say, equally as surprised by the volume of what I would call 'mistakes' in applications.

I appreciate that you know how competitive this industry is - however, don't rush an application. I received emails this week with not a single word in them - just a CV attached. How do I know why you are writing to me? Who you are? What you want?

50% of CVs I received had spelling mistakes and typos - some were even highlighted in red, which suggests you had used spellcheck and saved it with mistakes that had been flagged. Job titles and programme names must be accurate - if you are worried, get someone to cast their eye over your CV before sending out.

A quarter of CVs were 3 or more pages long - at this stage in your career, your CV should be 1 - 2 pages maximum. I am more impressed with a strong, succinct 1 pager, than a waffled, long one.

A lot of CVs for the role I had advertised - Runner/Production Assistant/ Jnr Prod Sec did not have that as the title of them: if you class yourself as a film maker, Director, Camera Operator or Researcher, why are you applying for this role?

Stand tall and be proud of running experience. So many dress their CVs up with jazzy titles for study projects - and I am left feeling confused as to their experience level.
Whatever your job title - or whatever your level of experience only apply for jobs that match you. 

Here is my advice for a good cover letter...

THE COVER LETTER - WRITE ONE - PLACE IN BODY OF EMAIL NOT AS ATTACHMENT!

A cover letter should sell you in a nutshell - about 60 - 70% of a sheet of A4 is a good size.  

A cover letter should not be a blanket copy... nothing saddens me more (personally) than reading a generic cover letter. Having a good template is fine - but take 5 minutes to personalise it to the job/company/person. It will make a difference - IMO. Do not be overfamiliar – and don’t flirt! I have genuinely seen cover letters where someone – who clearly believed themself to be a looker – was flirting in their tone.

Personalise your cover letter – yes, it should tell us about your skill set but don’t just state things. So, less ‘I have excellent communication skills’ and more ‘As a day runner at xxx auditions, I was responsible for meeting and greeting all auditionees, and booking them in. I feel this evidences my ability to communicate well as everyone understood the arrival system we had in place.’

Every word in your cover letter should be there for a reason... use them, don't abuse them!


If the name of the person you are writing to is obvious or can be readily found, address them by that name! If not, then Dear Sir/Madam is appropriate. Dear Mr Lou is never welcomed… Miss/Mrs/Mr should come before a surname only, and also, I am a girl.

Kick-start with an introduction to who you are and where you saw the advert/got their details/heard about the job.

Refer to the specifics of the job advert/inside info your friend gave you - keep it succinct but do briefly evidence/provide example to any statements of fact.

Never talk generally about interests and hobbies in your cover letter unless absolutely relevant to the job or the programme content - even then, nobody needs to know that you have been an active horse rider for 17 years and what your favourite breed of horse is… unless of course this is a documentary seeking an equestrian specialist.

Please don't make jokes/try to be funny/behave in an over familiar way when sending a cover letter - there is nothing more insulting than someone you have given your card to then writing to you and saying 'Alright babes, sooooo lols meeting you last night. Really up for that job you mentioned - sounds wicked'.

Please don't copy and paste your CV into your cover letter - neither should emulate the other.

End your cover letter with your availability for both interview and work - and state best method of daytime contact:

'I am generally available for interview at all times, and would be in a position to start with you, if successful, on XXX. I am available on my mobile number at most times/I am currently working so cannot readily take calls, but check email regularly/etc'

SPELL CHECK SPELL CHECK SPELL CHECK!

Sign off formally - cheers, ta, see ya later, etc is not acceptable.

Lastly, ensure you have sold yourself: the cover letter is not a formality we ignore – it makes me want to either, read your CV, or hit delete.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Lou, I'm a current third year TV Production student and I was just updating my CV and was wondering if you had the time to give me your opinion on it if I were to send it over to you?

    Thanks
    Dale

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Lou.
    Thank you very much for your tips.
    I am a freelance videographer specialized in branded content and corporate video.
    I have been working in this industry for over 5 years and would like to start a new career in TV.

    So far I didn't have much luck and your advices are much appreciated.

    Kind regards.
    Leopold N.

    Leopold N.

    ReplyDelete
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