The very first step in finding that job in television is getting your CV in shape and who better to offer advice on how to do that than experienced recruitment expert, Elsa Sharp. Elsa knows her subject so well she’s written the book on it – ‘How To Get a Job in Television’ which you can buy via her site: www.elsasharp.com.
So – over to Elsa:
“I’ve seen hundreds of CVs – in my capacity of as a series producer, talent manager and also as a TV Career Coach. Far too many are difficult to read, badly written and poorly laid out – even at senior level.
The truth is what’s ON your CV will get you the job – the skills and experience and of course those all important TV credits. To get a job in TV you need to have a degree* and some work experience credits – even when you are starting out as a runner.
But even if you have these – if your covering letter is over written and too long and your CV is badly laid out – the chances are neither will be read and could even end up in the bin.
It’s now even more essential to market yourself, your skills and experience as effectively as possible so your CV will be read, stand out and get you an interview.
I am constantly amazed at how so many people fail to present their CV properly – by over writing, cluttering the layout and sometimes omitting key information.
I am asked to find producers with a specific skill set and when I am looking through piles of CVs I want to be able to see skills and experience listed clearly and concisely. Do list all the credits you have, write what you did on a programme so I can build a picture and see who matches the criteria I need.
A CV is a powerful tool for self promotion, it should be well written and on no more than two pages – no matter how experienced you are.
With a bit of careful editing – it can be done.
Here are a few simple and universal tips on how to create an effective CV.
I personally prefer chronological CVs that are laid out in this order:
Dates from – to Job Title – Name of show duration Prod Co/Broadcaster
Brief description of show, tasks completed described
Jobs undertaken, people managed, sell your experience!
Any press reviews/good ratings/ Name of Executive Producer
List industry courses such as health and safety, camera, law courses and your educational qualifications – your GCSE’s, A Levels and degree, masters etc
Every word on your CV should be there for a reason – choose your words carefully and use positive language that clearly shows your experience for example – such as experienced, tenacious, extensive, flexible…
Elsa Sharp is the author of How to Get A Job in Television and Talent Manager at Dragonfly TV.
For more advice go to www.elsasharp.com.
* (Of course there are those who get by without a degree. Check out this story: http://wanttoworkintelevision/tv-producer-succeeds-without-a-degree. However it seems the consensus is still that a degree – in any subject – is an advantage.)
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