This article from the Guardian careers people just popped up on my Twitter (did I mention how much I love Twitter? I love Twitter). While it’s technically about getting into TV, it has some really good advice for anyone applying for jobs at the moment, so I thought I’d share it with you guys!
As always, some bits stood out for me in particular…
Dan Ashman is the head lecturer for Digital Film Making programme at SAE Institute Glasgow.
‘Don’t just have a generic show reel you send to everyone: Just in the same way that your CV will have slight differences for different jobs, don’t just have a generic show reel you send to everyone. Always try to research the company you are sending CVs and show reels to, and have a look at the projects they have done in the past. Not only will this let you know whether you would be interested in the work, but it can also help you tailor your work to their needs. A bit of extra effort on your part will let them know that it is a genuine enquiry, and not just a generic template you’ve sent to everyone and their neighbour.’
– Now this is just what I meant when I was talking about covering letters earlier. ‘A bit of extra effort’ is essential, so make sure you make it!
‘Runners should approach every task as if their life depends on it: The tasks can vary considerably, but for the most part you would be the dogsbody on set, keeping the cast and crew up to date with tea and coffee, collecting or dropping off equipment and just generally helping out on everything and anything you are asked to do. Being polite, helping out wherever you can and doing the tasks as well as you can are all very important.’
– Good advice for anyone interning or doing work experience. You’re there to impress them, get them to like you, and hopefully get them to remember you when they’ve got a vacancy going…! Do whatever you’re asked, efficiently and with a smile. Don’t get to thinking that some things are beneath you. That’s why they call it entry level.
Paul Siegert joined the NUJin 2010. He also works one day a week at the BBC as a news correspondent
‘My advice is to never give up. I had 49 rejection letters before I got my first job. I put them up all over my bedroom wall to try and inspire me. The reason TV is so tough and competitive is because it’s such a great job once you do crack it.’
– I really like this guy. (And also the fact he works 1 day a week at the BBC! Casual…). While posting your rejection letters all over your wall could be a bit morbid, he turned that around and saw it as motivation. And I like what he says at the end – of course it’s hard to get into, because the things that are worth it are.
Matthew Basham is a partnership manager for Skillset, advising on management and leadership training across the creative industries
‘Cast your net wider and consider other opportunities: When you are looking to start a career, it is important to consider the full range of options. If you take a look at the end credits of a programme, you will see that only a few people occupy the producer and director roles. There are a whole host of other opportunities out there. Look to build yourself a wide skills base.’
– Good advice again. Like my mum says, it’s easier to get a job once you’ve got a job. So you could always look to move sideways in the industry.