Your first day - Securing a job in TV
You're starting in TV. Relish this opportunity and let's make sure it leads on to great things.
Take your time on your first day. You may be tempted to shout about your education and skills from the very start, but remember new recruits are sometimes regarded with caution and it's worth being very careful not to come over as arrogant. The people around you will be well qualified and bright too. If you are to become a useful team member, you must earn your crust. This is not a training scheme for your benefit. You are there to help the production team - to service the needs of your employer.
Your aim is to make yourself useful and indispensable.
Use the following tips:
Show some initiative! Be enthusiastic - volunteer for jobs and tasks - lookout for what needs doing and don't be afraid to ask questions.
Smile, be happy and positive and use open body language - uncrossed arms and relaxed posture. This positive attitude has a very real effect on how people remember you and it will be noticed.
Do everything you are asked to do to the best of your abilities. Prove that you are totally reliable and you will be trusted with the bigger, better tasks. Be cheerful, accept dull tasks with enthusiasm.
Be punctual and efficient. Programmes have to go out on time. A slack attitude to time-keeping will not do you any favours. Most programme makers are working very hard and efficiently. Do the same.
Remember that this is the bottom rung of the ladder. If at any time it seems a little bleak or others treat you as the junior, keep in mind that you're on the way up!
Make the coffee!
And here's the biggest and best tip of all…
Seriously. Making coffee, collecting the newspapers, answering the 'phone - all of the seemingly inconsequential jobs that someone's go to do - do them, all! You have joined a team and it is the friendly, useful and enthusiastic member of that team who gets to move up to the next rung of the ladder.
Key points for your first day in the business
- Show some initiative
- Do everything asked of you well
- Be punctual and efficient
- Make the coffee!
As an example, back to that coffee. It sounds unimportant. But on location say - a coffee break within a physically demanding 12 hour shoot day is an important event. Make good coffee, it'll be appreciated, and it's a great way to meet and talk to people too! It improves morale and team spirit. For nervous contributors in a studio show, a coffee and a smile from you will put them at ease and so can be a vital element of the whole process.
Each and every time you do something useful, no matter what it is, you get that little bit closer to being indispensable.
Turning work experience into a job
Your first work experience assignment might well lead to your first job, if you play it right.
Listen to others in the office, in your work environment - how do they answer the 'phone or deal with enquiries? Always demonstrate ultimate politeness and patience when dealing with members of the public.
Join the team. Do things you say you will do, when you say you will do them. Don't take longer lunch breaks or make more personal phone calls than anyone else. If going out to pick up some lunch, see if anyone else wants some!
Take responsibility for your actions. You are not going to get through your first week, day or even hour, probably, without some sort of cock-up. It's part of the learning process and is entirely to be expected. What matters is how you handle it. Stammer out a feeble excuse, look for someone else to blame and hide the evidence and you might as well get your coat. When it happens, face up to it. Admit what's happened and look for a solution. This is a prime opportunity for you to show strength of character and a real interest in learning about the process of making TV. Don't be embarrassed, be practical and involved in the process of putting things right again.
Keep busy. Instead of paper shuffling, ask for more work. You will be judged not by looking busy, but by your results. If you finish something early, ask yourself if you have done it to the best of your ability. If you have, then look for the next thing to do. If there really is nothing else to do, make the coffee!
Making yourself indispensable and proving your value to the company is not a quick process. Get it right and you may well turn your first two weeks into four, four into eight and then into a full-time job!
Key points in turning work experience into a job:
- Join the team
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Keep busy