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Writing a CV for the Creative Industries
HAND-IN DATE FOR Creative Platforms Monday 28th April by 3pm to CT Admin Ofﬁce, ELDON
A CV is a marketing document. Unlike other industries which employ personnel staff to ﬁlter job applications, your CV may arrive directly on the desk of the person with the authority to give you a job. This person will be very busy. Your CV has only seconds to make an impression. So…
Write your CV with the potential employer in mind. Use only the most relevant information about your career, education and skills. Provide an accurate portrait of yourself.
One standard CV for all employers is not enough. Ideally tailor your CV to each individual employer or, at least tailor it to the type of employer you approach (eg broadcaster, design agency, sound studio, corporate sector, education sector).
Be Positive. Be concise. 2 pages should usually be the maximum length of your CV. A lot of companies are now saying even 1 page. Use the space wisely. This takes a great deal of thought and planning.
Is it typed? Is it on good quality paper? Is the spelling correct? (Don't rely on a spell-check!)
Is it easy to read? Avoid long sentences. Use the active tense rather than the passive eg "undertook various roles" rather than "various roles were undertaken". Does the font/layout you choose reﬂect the image of the job?
Avoid old-fashioned default fonts such as Times Roman. It is not a good idea to use more than one font in a document. Capitals, italics, underlining, etc. can be used to emphasise headlines and key points - but be consistent and exercise constraint, or the document may appear too fussy.
What an employer is looking for When reviewing CVs employers want to know what you can do for them. They will be looking for the following information, which should be on the front page:
What an employer is looking for A 'career objective' - who you are and what you can bring to the job A summary and selling point of you! Relevant key skills and achievements
What an employer is looking for If you haven't worked in this area, what new ideas and skills can you bring from other areas you have worked in? Your current address and how to contact you.
You can play about with the order, making sure that you highlight skills and abilities wherever possible. But make the CV work for you and make the most of your experiences.
Suggested Layout for Your CV [NB Don't include a heading such as "Curriculum Vitae" this wastes space and it's obvious what the document is.] *
Your name - this should be visible right at the top and BOLD *
Contact details (your address, telephone number, plus mobile and email) Could also put Date of Birth and Driving status
A Personal Proﬁle Include a short, punchy, positive statement about yourself to make a prospective employer sit up and take notice. Personal proﬁles are hard to write well and can easily sound arrogant and crass. But a well-written proﬁle can be very effective. Many employers take them seriously and they do get people jobs. Some tips…
A Personal Proﬁle Describe what you do Describe your key selling points - sought after skills,
experience and knowledge Describe your attitude to work/studying and personal qualities that make you desirable to employ
A Personal Proﬁle Be short - no more than thirty words Make sure that the description you provide
of yourself can be substantiated with experience cited in the rest of your CV Be positive!
Key Skills/Skillset You can list these as an alternative to a Personal Proﬁle, or to complement it. Describe your key skills and experience succinctly, ideally as bullet points, including any equipment you have worked on, and languages, if appropriate. Put the skills the employer is likely to be most interested in at the top.
Personal details Age. This shouldn't be signiﬁcant, but there is no law against age discrimination. In a "young" industry it may be better to include your age on the second page. Some experts suggest it is better to include your date of birth rather than state your age. No DOB There is no need to give both. Interests. Advice on "standard" CVs recommend including interests, but these details are unnecessary, unless they are relevant to the job.
Personal details Passport. If you are applying for work that requires overseas travel, your nationality may be relevant as some passports require visas to visit certain places. Driving Licence. Holding a full licence and owning a car can be essential to location work, so include these details, but only if they are relevant.
The Covering Letter Your CV should always be sent with a covering letter as a matter of courtesy. The covering letter introduces you and should complement your CV. It shows you've taken the time to ﬁnd out who to contact. It may also give you the edge over someone who has similar skills on their CV, but hasn't bothered to write a covering letter to accompany it.
The Covering Letter This is an opportunity to personalise the communication and speak directly to the employer. It's worth spending time getting it right.
Remember: The letter should be addressed to the right
person - research this thoroughly beforehand The letter should be brief and to the point It can reinforce key points from your CV but shouldn't repeat information from it It should have three parts:
The reason for writing, eg "I was very interested in the article in July's Broadcast
and your plans ..........". 2.
Your selling points, or how your CV meets this need - ﬂag up relevant points that are
expanded on in your CV.
3. A prompt for further action, eg "I'd welcome the chance to meet you…". And do follow up. Strike a balance between genuine interest and causing irritation.
The Covering Letter Think about the style of the letter too. It should demonstrate professionalism but, depending on the job and the department, the language can vary in formality, as appropriate.
What an employer is looking for I have included quotes from employers to back-up the format and content of cv’s and showreel’s/portfolios
EDITING “We expect our editors to be good-natured and hard working. Being in a suite with demanding clients can be a draining experience. We need our staff to keep a level head in pressured situations. Experience, if not directly relevant, must demonstrate an ability to learn quickly, and editors do still need a technical understanding of the equipment, even in these times of convergence.”
EDITING “Poor CVs generally come from those looking for junior or entry level positions. A list of productions worked on at college doesn't tell a prospective employer very much. We need to know what the person is like. A good personal statement is far more useful. A degree is never irrelevant or necessary at entry level. A good degree demonstrates dedication to task and hard work.”
EDITING An applicant without a degree, but an obvious enthusiasm, displayed e.g. by doing background research on the company and industry, would stand a very good chance at interview. Many applicants send in showreels with a cold application. Nine times out of ten little attention is paid to these reels. We're all busy and only view reels when we're trying to ﬁll a speciﬁc post. If the employer is interested they'll ask. Save your money for the pub.” Simon Partington, Group Operations Manager M2 Television Ltd, London
“Applicants need a healthy dose of realism about their capabilities. They should take the trouble to research the company and our client requirements. They should also acknowledge the limits that a college education can offer them without some commercial experience to go with it. Poorly presented CVs with little information padded out to read like lots is transparent. Offer the qualiﬁcations you do have, rather than the aspirations you might want to have! Be realistic about how far you can go with what you know.” Rowan Bray Facility Manager Arena Digital, London
Freelance Producer/Director Profile
07931 35 35 15 email@example.com Watch my showreel at aptvpd.com
Gardeners’ World, BBC2 • • •
Award-winning factual TV Producer/Director with substantial prime-time network experience across many genres including factual, current affairs, lifestyle and entertainment. The creativity I bring to every script, shoot and edit is strengthened by sound editorial judgement. Efficient and effective, I deliver high quality on time and on budget but with a sense of fun that makes people want to work with me again and again.
Christmas Voices, BBC1 • •
Directing and editing inserts for live studio show focussing on issues with a religious and/or ethical dimension. Sympathetically handled emotional films – and vulnerable contributors – with topics including missing children and alcoholism. Executive Producer: Chris Loughlin 2007
Countryfile, BBC1 • • • 2008 - 2012 Recipe for Success, BBC1 • • •
Directed the first prime-time programme, raising the bar and setting the style for future shows. Achieving consistently high audience figures, share and AIs culminating in a TRIC Award for Best Factual Programme. Producing high profile presenters including Matt Baker, Julia Bradbury and John Craven across all strands of the programme – location features, obs doc and journalistic investigations. Frequently working under challenging circumstances - from climbing mountains to abseiling into caves – and always under fast-turn around pressures. Re-designed production schedule to improve the quality of the programme. Series Producer: Teresa Bogan 2012
Producer/Director of five episodes of an experimental food programme. Mixed formatted competition with ob-doc elements. Story-lining and producing on location to emphasise key moments. Series Producer: Mel Stanley
Other selected credits
• • • • • • •
Share, Take Care campaign, BBC Learning • •
Producer of a campaign film aimed at children and their parents to warn them about the perils and pitfalls of social media. Commissioned animation to give the film extra impact and take it beyond a public information film. Executive Producer: Andrew Tomlinson 2011
Countryfile: Summer Diaries – director and edit producer for daytime spin off To Buy Or Not To Buy – P/D on long-running property format Housecall – Live AP on strands including food, gardening, antiques Come and Have A Go – Live OB AP on BBC Entertainment quiz show event BBC Election – stringer at several elections for BBC News Panic Mechanics – shooting AP on car make-over challenge Top Gear – AP/Director on motoring show Freelance Producer in commercial radio
Qualifications and Training
• • BBC Training including Health and Safety, Multi-platform production, Ideas Development, Final Cut Pro, Storytelling and Scriptwriting, Single Camera Directing. First Class BA (Hons.) Media and Communication Studies – University of Central England.
Bang Goes the Theory, BBC Learning • • •
Directed two films for the Bang! event that were then broadcast on BBC1, making specialist science accessible and compelling. Successfully negotiated access and worked with the players and staff of Manchester City FC. Negotiated sports rights clearances. Self-editing the films to a high standard using Final Cut Pro. Executive Producer: Helen Foulkes
Andrew Painten Freelance Producer/Director
07931 35 35 15 firstname.lastname@example.org Watch my showreel at aptvpd.com
Producing stylish inserts for the long-running lifestyle magazine programme. Joined a team in transition and successfully coached junior members of the team on the new way of working. Also produced quick-turnaround VTs at live events Series Producer: Louise Hampden
“I look for the following from applicants: ﬁrstly, creative talent and ideas! (The rest can be taught on the job, if necessary); good presentation skills; an awareness of the market for interactive media; team working and good organisation skills; and, if possible, good references. There is a shortage of sales and marketing skills in interactive media. I'm not looking for sales staff per se, but good production staff who can sell themselves and the company, i.e. producers with client management ability. The worst things I see in applications are: mis-types, bad spelling and bad grammar; hype - it's easy to be found out; too much talk about software skills and not enough creative passion.” Stef Brammar Managing Director Mousepower Productions Ltd, Wiltshire
“We look for relevant skills to match our vacancies, e.g. programming languages C/C++/Java or art packages, e.g. 3D Studio Max. We're also looking for good academic qualiﬁcations in relevant subjects, i.e. computing, science, physics, maths. Worst thing in applications? Prior to interview: poorly presented or dishonest CVs; lack of details; poor showreels.”
“At interview: candidates who are not fully prepared, i.e. haven't taken the trouble to look at our website and ﬁnd out background information on the company; poor results in tests we set (e.g. Java); poor communication skills; lack of interest in the interview; arrogance; 'stolen material' on examples of work; raw inability and unrealistic expectations. We are looking for candidates with relevant experience, skills and an interest in the games industry.”
Siobhan Calfe HR Manager Kuju Entertainment, Surrey
“Send a showreel and/or portfolio. Something unique has to stand out and there are ways to express your creativity, even if you don't have much money. You're taking the viewer on a journey, so send documentation with the showreel, indicating its length, running order and your contribution.”
“Showreels should show your best work to date and be no longer than 5 to 6 minutes. Say how long it took you to do the work - we need to know that people can deliver quality work on time. We're looking for basic skills - a walk cycle, a run cycle, as well as acting/miming ability. Take pride in your work and be professional: check that your work is actually on the tape - some people send in blank tapes, one even sent a recording of the previous night's Eastenders!”
“We're not just looking for animators, we also need art directors, production designers, storyboard artists. Keep an open mind - once in the workplace you may ﬁnd your strengths lie elsewhere. It's rare for a person to go straight from college to working on commercials and you need to have realistic expectations. There will be lots of knock backs, long hours and you have to start from the bottom. Do it for the passion, love and enthusiasm.”
Helen Brunsdon Development Executive Aardman Animation Ltd, Bristol
“I need to see a reel showing a mixture of situations and demonstrating that the operator has a developed eye, can cope in a controlled situation, can light and has an intuitive understanding of framing. I can tell when watching reels how much is down to the camera operator and how much is the work of the director. Experience is crucial, but many experienced camera operators send in poor CVs. As well as a list of credits, broken down into sub-divisions (e.g. drama, docs, etc.), I am looking for a sense of personality and what makes them tick. Some are good at actuality work and human interest stories, others prefer more controlled situations. Indicate this in a good personal statement and play to your strengths.”
DIRECTION (documentary) “I read between the lines when looking at directors' CVs and very often important information is left out, such as the channel that screened the work, or the commissioning editor or executive producer. Give a context - it acts as a barometer of where people are and what they've done. CVs are critically important and should show your passion and where your interests lie. If you can operate a camera as well, say so. In small teams it's important to know that the director can also operate. The worst thing is directors who can't offer examples of their work, either because they don't have them or they have only poor copies. It's surprising how often this happens. I prefer to see whole programmes, but I'm also happy to look at 4 to 5 minute showreels. What I need to see is how a director develops storyline, character, and narrative.” Malcolm Brinkworth, Managing Director, Touch Productions, Dorset
“Applicants must have experience if they want to work on national television. Ring TV companies and ﬁnd out where they get people from.”
“The worst thing is people who say they'll do anything. Be speciﬁc. Recruiters see through people who haven't made up their minds and they are very wary of people who want to be on TV. That's a totally different route. Enthusiasm counts. And persistence. Don't take rejection personally. It usually means that someone else had a bit more experience on the day. Try again later and in the meantime keep adding to your CV. “ Karen Illingsworth, Recruitment administrator YTV, Leeds
A guide to creative CV creation
WEB DESIGNER / CREATIVE WEB DESIGNER (MIDDLEWEIGHT / SENIOR) – POOLE / BOURNEMOUTH
A new Middleweight / Senior Web Designer is needed to join a vibrant dynamic digital agency based on the South Coast.You should be versed in all things design, including the web and interactivity and will love nothing more than working with creative people in producing out-of-the-box concepts. Your CV / Portfolio should demonstrate a keen eye for design combined with a solid working knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML, CSS and the Conceptual Design Phase. Advantageous skills include: Flash, .NET and an agency background. Ultimately we need someone who is keen, highly motivated, extremely creative and passionate about web design. *Please include links to your portfolio with your application*
Vacancy: Motion Graphics Designer/ Employer: Bizarre Creations Location: Liverpool Duration: Full-time position
Here's a great opportunity for a motion graphics designer to join a dynamic and award winning video games developer. We are interested to hear from you if you're an enthusiastic creative with a superb portfolio of work. Working within a multi-skilled team you'll have a keen attention to detail and the ability to produce stunning graphics and animated imagery for all of our studio's AAA titles and their supporting marketing materials. The ideal candidate must be proﬁcient in After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop, Maya and knowledge of video editing would be a great advantage. If you would like to apply for this role, please email your CV and showreel directly........
We have provided the following Art Task for candidates to complete and include with their CV if they wish. Motion Graphics Art Task Using any digital media you would like, design a logo for a ﬁctional game called ‘Hardcore Racing’. To help demonstrate your motion graphics skills, take your logo and producing a 10 second sting that can bring your design to life. We will be looking at the creative ideas and technical ability of each candidate’s work. Submissions to Bizarre Creations A 10 sec video in either .wmv or .mov format @ 25fps. And a brief description of what tools and processes you used. More Info: http://www.bizarrecreations.com/jobs/ job_view.php?id=motiongraphicsdesigner
EDITOR: (Final Cut Pro) We are looking for either past experience working as an editor on an animated ﬁlm or TV series coupled with an interest in genre ﬁlms or past experience working on a genre ﬁlm (suspense, horror, Sci) and a willingness to get to grips with the different working methods of animation.You will get to work closely with the Director and Creative Development Team and will be expected to contribute to the whole ﬁlmaking process not just brought in at the end to ﬁx things. There will be some technical support within the team but we expect a fair degree of self reliance so you will need to be able to organise your workﬂows and follow good data management practices. Key Tasks: Cut Animatic, Continuity Editing, Assembly of Final Picture (approx 40+ wks) - Daily travel to Cardiff Salary dependent on experience. Welsh translation available on request. More Info: http://www.goodstoryproductions.com
• • • • • • • •
Name / Contact Details / Date of Birth / Driving (TV/FILM) Proﬁle Relevant Experience Skill Set Education Employment Interests References X 2 need full details one has to be academic
• • • • • • •
Font and Layout is important Hold it away from you does it balance well? Important parts stand out? Does it photocopy well? Spelling, grammar Relevant info given priority Max 2 pages - ideally 1 Name / email / tel at the bottom of each page - footnote
• When your CV is ready turn it into a PDF (acrobat)
ﬁle as this transfers well across platforms and the formatting does not get screwed up!
• Then send it to industry for feedback
Over the coming weeks
• Provide initial research for your intended industry what format do they want to see?
• Show up to 5 pieces of your best work - add to blog • Work on the development of your CV’s - if you
haven’t sent me a copy of your current CV yet then please do this now - important for my feedback
Next - Showreels and Portfolios
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