Tips for completing your CV
Get your CV right - be seen in the best light!
Do you want to break into this exciting business. Then you need to make the effort, and be seen to be making the effort, with your CV and your covering letter. Sure you want to get your CV online quickly, but then go away, re-write it, improve it, and amend it on StartinTV.com. You'll make it so much better!
We can't tell you how vital it is to have a well written dedicated TV CV! Clearly, if you want to be in the creative communications business you need all your verbal and writing skills.
Employers are looking for articulate, ideas people with some personality. They want flexible, hard working types who are eager to make programmes. You need to get this over in your CV.
Fill in all sections of your CV! You don't have to do it all at one sitting!
The team at StartinTV give feedback on CVs and here's some points we regularly make to our members. Apologies if they seem obvious to you!
Edit the information within the page, taking notice of any character limitations indicated by text boxes. PLEASE NOTE that for the "TV Experience" section, you MUST tick the box at the right hand side of the
title so that your TV experience and other employment information is saved.
After editing the information, please use the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of every page to update your CV. After you have saved changes you may now View / Print your CV by clicking on the appropriate button.
When creating your CV profile, please note that you need to check that they you have COMPLETED the following SIX sections of your CV: Personal, Who Are You, Education, Experience, Experience Wanted, Interests.
After you have saved changes you may now View / Print your CV by clicking on the appropriate button.
Typos and spleing
We're shocked at the number of careless mistakes made in CVs aimed at a highly competitive area of the communications business – Television and Film! It's an immediate turn-off for producers, who could be your employers. Some common things. Always use capital I, and not 'i' which looks lazy. Use 1 space after a comma, and 2 after a full stop.
Be concise, clear and to the point. TV and radio 'airtime' is very valuable. TV writing is usually short words and sentences. It has creative punchy content. It’s informative and entertaining. So do that in your CV too.
Make short strong statements about your work experience. Maybe use bullet points.
Don't put in lengthy full dates, unnecessary details about jobs of minimal relevance. A commonly used phrase in journalism is "Less is more", ie the less you write the more impact it has. Avoid cliches.
May we also suggest that an online Photo is a GOOD way to be remembered by a potential employer. Of course a photo is crucial for presenters! We had this feedback from an employer, so get uploading!
Also it's obvious to your potential employers if you lift stuff from other CVs. It looks poor.
Crucial points with your StartinTV CV
Section: Who are you?
1. Your attraction to the industry
Note that the FIRST 5 LINES of this answer could decide your future career! Yes, they could. They appear in the employers 'Quick Search'. You can see this for yourself if you go to the 'Employers Talent Search' page, you don't need to be logged in. Just click on production or presenter, put your surname into keyword search and click search.
If this piece does not entice a producer to view your CV…. You've missed an opportunity.
So we strongly suggest that you make the first few lines really count. Craft them carefully to be powerful and individual.
Use these precious words to say something about you, and your motivation. Mention some hard facts, give concrete examples, mention a programme which illustrates a point or reinforces the points you make about your enthusiasm etc.
There's no need to state that TV educates and informs etc, TV producers are aware of this! You might however build on this idea should you wish, and connect to your skills. Don't sound in awe of the industry or state that you’ve dreamt about it since your childhood. You are a professional recruit for this demanding industry, so be confident (but not cocky).
Please try to write something about what makes you want to work in TV, why you think you can, what talents you have that would be useful to a production team. Are you looking to develop certain skills? Indicate maybe your preferred career direction.
You want to stand out from the crowd.. but be aware not to make it too much a personal soapbox! Don’t narrow your options. Think of what your potential employer wants to hear, what are the needs of your 'audience'.
Take a look at your "Which TV job for me" pages at; http://www.startintv.com/whichtvjobforme.php
Consider what is said about the skills and qualities needed for the roles. Where you already have experience, and where you want to gain more. Include some of these skills. Eg, as a runner, you need to use your own initiative and be highly organized. As a researcher, are you tenacious with an ability to contribute ideas?
Consider what skills / life skills you have gained from the experiences you have already enjoyed. Include this in your CV. Either in this section, or 'Programme Interests' or 'Employment' sections. Demonstrate that YOU are the person that can make a difference to the production team.
2. Which programmes would you like to work on and why
Give examples of the types of programme genre you would like to work on, and name some programmes. Why you would be right for this genre? Also try to relate these to your own interests, outside of television, showing how they may represent an "added value" to a potential employer. Yes, most people would love to work on docs and drama, yet most start in more regular programmes. Be realistic and include in your wish list, perhaps starting as a runner, a contestant researcher or similar.. You need to break in before you can change the world!
3. How do you relax away from work.
Remember the CV is to sell You. Remember creative writing. This is another opportunity to let a prospective employer get to know better the kind of person you are. Write what is RELEVANT TO THEM! Best not to bang on about the pub, clubs or your favourite football team!
More of the creative, energetic and intellectual activities. If you do anything sporty put it in, it's good to indicate 'energy levels' etc!! Mention it here, or in 'other interests'.
Please state in the CITY field of your address - the CITIES you are available to work in/ closest to. This is because employers may SEARCH for you VIA CITY! So dont say "Highgate", say LONDON, Dont say Cheltenham, say Birmingham and Bristol (2 nearest big media cities. The broader you are in terms of where you can work, the better. Placements are often short term by nature and do not always require re-location so its best to be open to all areas, then having considered any offer on its individual merits, you can always say 'no' if necessary.
4. Interests section
This is at the very core of StartinTV. It is not just your specific TV skills that are in demand, it is also the range of other skills, interests and experience you can bring to the industry that make you uniquely valuable. Many employers like to see a bit of life experience after university - so give it to them!
How can you DEMONSTRATE your passion for the industry. Have you for example filmed and edited your own videos, or been a journalist and written for the local newspaper or university paper. Have you done hospital radio, amateur dramatics, played in a band, been a DJ, helped in the theatre, made costumes or done make-up for a show, organised an event, taken photography seriously or sound recording? These spare time activities show an employer that you are serious about your interest.
So it's good to add something in the other interests area - entertain and inform your prospective employer!
Make sure it's punchy, write creatively! This is a creative job you are heading for. It must not be dull. Remember, for example, that Presenters often have to research and write their own material.
5. 'Experience' (you have) and 'Experience wanted' Sections.
You need to demonstrate throughout your CV, that you learned skills such as research, editing or camera work, or where you have developed an understanding through observation. You can demonstrate how you gained these skills and how you have used them. SOME CRUCIAL DETAILS BELOW:
Best to mention that you have experience in running if you are looking to break into production, as this is THE starting point. Unless you are quite experienced in a technical area - this is a great starting point
Experience - employment.
It's the experience that you HAVE that employers search for, and you'd be wise to include 'runner' if this kind of work might suit, as it's by far the most popular method of entry into TV.
Maybe state here when a job has helped you develop good communication skills or teamwork or flexibility, if not expressed elsewhere. It's not just what you did in a job, it's what life skills you came away with too! Sales assistant or waiter shows customer and public-facing experience and skills.
Once again, keep it lucid and concise. The producer will initially give it only a 30 second scan to spot something they like. Make an impression, don't write an essay! You can tell them more details when you get the interview!
Please make sure that you TICK THE BOX on the right hand side of the Title "TV Experience", when you are completing the TV Experience and Employment sections.
Mention some of the challenges you faced, demonstrate how you overcame them. What did you enjoy most and what did you learn from the experiences - keep it succinct, use bullet point if it's short. Show what you achieved and can bring to a new role.
Use numeral dates eg 06/04 - 11/04 - saves you space/characters! PLEASE Don't copy and paste from word - it introduces rogue characters (looks bad). Paste from a TEXT document if you need to.
Have you ticked the box next to TV Experience? You need to do this before completing this section.
What skills have you developed in these roles, e.g., communication, working as part of a team etc, and what transferable skills can you identify which will be helpful in production roles
6. Education - Further Qualifications
Remember non-academic achievements. If you are a sailing instructor or a dance teacher etc, Say so! It says a lot. Essentially, it's a good shorthand for; you are organised, fit, and an enthusiastic communicator.
7. Check your appearance! How do employers see you?
Once you've completed your CV, you can view how employers see you in their 'Quick Search' results. Go to the Employers' Talent Search page. At top, click 'production' or 'presenter' put your surname into the 'keyword' search and click on Search. This is a DEMO search - you can also check how they view your whole CV. Non registered employers cannot see your contact details.
Please update your CV regularly, GET MORE EXPERIENCE and put it on your CV.
Good luck to you - and get your break into TV this year!
Covering letters - first impressions count!
"A good cover letter in my opinion is like a good screenplay; tight, concise with a dash of good humour and never a dull moment."
When one of our production companies mails out job vacancies, they receive many inadequate covering letters, which is a great shame. There are many strong CV's on StartinTV and you want to make the most of them!
If applying for a job, contacting an employer directly, or through StartinTV, you MUST put in a top quality covering letter WITH your CV.
The covering letter is read before your CV, and if it's not impressive - well, as you might guess, your CV may well not even get looked at.
Why you are special, why the opportunity is just right for YOU, and what else you can bring? WHY should they employ you? - ask yourself this question!
And wanting the job/opportunity is not enough, in fact it's obvious. Look at it from the employer's perspective, and their needs.
Here are a few essential DO’s and DON’Ts on how to write an effective covering letter.
• Use your email as your covering letter and attach your CV to it. This is preferable to sending a letter as a separate attachment that the reader then has to open.
• Have an email address with your full name in the title
• Keep it brief and to the point – your letter should be no more than three paragraphs or half a page long - they have your CV to find out more
• address it to the right person and know their title and role. I am a freelance talent but receive many CVs that refer to the programmes ‘my company’ makes.
• Spell their name correctly.
• Address them with a degree of formality - you are not a friend and you don’t know them
• Change the name in the ‘To’ box and also in the body of the letter if you use the same template each time.
• Use Dear Sir/Madam if you don’t know who you are writing to.
• Write in an engaging, direct way. It’s TV not banking – there’s no need to be overly formal.
• Check spelling, grammar and accuracy – get someone to proof read your letter for you.
• Adapt your letter to the company you are targeting. People were emailing Zig Zag Productions, saying they loved programmes ... made by other companies
• Know the style and brand of the company you are writing to so you mention their programmes – talk about them constructively and have an opinion
• Introduce yourself and your job title then reference where you saw the advert or the mutual contact who told you about the job – or a contact you know at the company.
• Write about your hobbies, your friends, pets or holidays! No one is interested! Stay work focussed
• State ‘skills’ that employers will expect of you anyway such as – a passion for TV, being a team player, make great tea or have great time management skills! In TV hard work, long hours and watching TV are a given.
• Try to be funny, address the employer as ‘mate’ or swear.
• Use abbreviated ‘text’ speak spellings or phrases.
• Paste your CV into the body of the email cover.
• Use ‘cheers’, ‘laters’ or a ‘x’ as you close - it's just not appropriate!
And finally remember
TV is a very small industry, people have a habit of knowing each other and you’ll be found out.