What do TV Employers Look for in a TV CV? Part 1


The great ‘How To Write Your TV CV Debate’ continues!

I know what I respond to when skimming through CVs for TV jobs but it seems there is conflicting advice out there, so we sent ace-reporter and crowd-sourcing supremo, Chris Dodd out to do some real research.  The full results will get to you via this site eventually but for now here is Chris’s interim report – already full of spot-on advice.


What do TV Employers Look for in a TV CV? By Chris Dodd


When it comes to writing your CV there are a vast number of resources which aim to help you become a CV-writing-master.

There are literally hundreds of books & websites on the subject. You’ll have probably learned how to write a CV at school, college and university. Add to all of this, the advice of friends and family and you could end up feeling quite confused about the whole thing.

One of the main challenges of writing a CV is not knowing exactly what a recruiter is looking for which is why we’ve started a project to crowd source the perfect media CV.

We’re currently gathering the opinions of media recruiters – finding out what they want to see when a CV lands in their in-box.

We’re asking the obvious things like what information is most important, but we’re also finding out what file formats they prefer, how much detail to include and what is going to have them reaching for the delete button.

If you’re a media recruiter and would like to contribute to this project our survey (which should take 5-10 mins to complete) can be found here.

Obviously this project is going to take some time to complete – the more recruiters that get involved in the project the better the final guide will be.

That said, over the past few days, I’ve noticed a few tweets from people asking for advice on their media CV, so for now, we’ve highlighted some of the suggestions we’ve had in already and present them here for your consumption.


On CV formats:

“Put your experience at the top, and don’t drown the thing in detail.

“Make sure their contact number is at the top & list their key skills.”

“Clear sub headings is great – especially in a bigger font size to the majority of the text.”

“After name and contacts, I like one concise line summing up what they can do. i.e. Sarah Jones. Tel. E-mail. Gallery producer, edit producer, DV training, blah, blah.”

“Keep everything to the point, If you ramble it’s highly annoying.”

“Don’t over design to the point where the design overwhelms the info.”


On what information to include:

“It’s what they have done on the job that proves the abilities that I’m interested in.”

“Non Media Skills – Usually to be found buried at the end of a CV but if it’s a diving programme then the fact you’re a qualified scuba diver might get you that job!”

“I think you need an exceptional reason to include hobbies and extra-curricular activities on your CV – ie. If you made award-winning films yes… if you were chair of the bridge club in year 5 then no.”

“Really annoying when they list their entire education from school!”

“I don’t care what dates you started or finished courses or jobs, the headlines will do. The most important information is your work experience and what your duties involved so I can see if you’ve got relevant experience or will need training.”

“It all depends on how recent your experiences are- clearly if you are fresh from education and your experience at university is the most relevant you have for a job then you should expand on those details/skills”

“If it’s a junior role, I am only concerned in relevant experience – I’m not interested in the job they had at Domino’s when they were a student!”


On how to send a CV:

“I find a word document is best as everyone tends to have it and when it opens it doesn’t mess with the format the applicant has (hopefully) painstakingly created.”

“Via email with a good summary introduction – short and sweet that has pertinent information in it relevant to me.”

“Send the CV with a short covering letter by email. If you have a website include a link to it.”

“CV attached as a Word or .pdf document and brief cover email sent in response to advertised position. Cover should be brief and address the criteria specified in advert.”
“Email is best as it’s easily circulated between contacts and colleagues. What format it’s sent in is irrelevant as long as I can open it.”


On how to get your CV ignored:

“Dishonesty – if you put down your first job title after leaving university as ‘Producer’ … I’m not going to take that seriously.”

“Spelling or grammatical mistakes will put a CV straight on the reject pile, virtually without exception.”

“Don’t try to be funny – it rarely works and you may simply come across as arrogant and pretentious.”

“Spellcheck. Spellcheck. Spellcheck. And grammar check.”

“I’m really anti longer covering letters as they tend to feel like they have generic filler in them.
In a communication industry we should all be able to sell ourselves as quickly and clearly as possible.”

“A paragraph of how great they are and why i should employ them.”

“Don’t over hype how marvellous you are – let the facts speak for themselves.”

“Cheesy ‘mission statements’ or CVs written in the 3rd person are a huge turn-off.”


If you want a whole lot more advice and information on this subject then you might want to get my ebook “An Expert’s Guide to Getting into TV” (yes, I  know – awful title!).

It includes detailed advice on writing an effective CV along with real-life examples; how to compose a strong covering letter; what to expect at interview and advice from a range of experienced and respected media professionals.

There is also important advice on avoiding exploitation in the work experience market; the importance of networking; what to study for a career in TV and advice on developing suitable skills. From the reality of a TV runner’s job to how to deal with periods of unemployment, it covers all areas of interest to anyone trying to get that first job in TV.

The full link:

And if you’ve found this article useful please share it via the buttons below. Many thanks.


  • Nathan Jeavons says:

    Thanks very much for the tips and advice Shu & Chris 🙂 Great help,a s always!

  • Tim says:

    “A paragraph of how great they are and why i should employ them.”
    If this is how to get a cv ignored then the art of cv writing must be one hell of an abstract artform.

  • Leave a comment

    Want to express your opinion?
    Leave a reply!

    Leave a Reply to Tim Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *