We were lucky enough to recruit a bright young production star Beth Oliver just over a year ago. Fresh out of university she was new to the post production world, one year on she is working in pretty much all aspects of post production. Well aware that it can be very difficult to get your first role in post production, she has come up with 10 tips to help you get your first job. Pass this on to anyone who might find it useful…
1) Do your research
Probably one of the most important steps of applying for any job is doing your research. Knowing what the company do and how they work will give you a better understanding of the company, which will help and impress if/when you have an interview. It will also help when applying as you’ll know if you suit the company and their requirements. Google is your friend, use it!
2) Keep it short
Like all companies, video production companies are extremely busy, deadlines and clients are priority so it’s not often anyone has much spare time on their hands. However, when they do have some time, this is when emails are checked and letters are read. It’s important for you to keep your application short, sweet and to the point. Make sure you’re clear on who you are, what you do and why you think you’d be good for the company.
3) Make sure you address the person you’re contacting
As mentioned before, google is your friend. It shouldn’t take much searching to find out who it is you’re contacting. By addressing them by name you’ll grab the attention of the reader rather than using the standard “Dear Sir/Madam” approach.
4) Add your name onto your CV
This tip is more for those applying via email. Attaching a CV named “cv.doc” is not going to do you any favours. As mentioned before production companies are very busy and don’t have time to be sorting through every CV by adding names to them. Add your name and avoid the risk of your CV being binned.
5) Stand out
This should be what’s fun about applying for jobs, you get to use your creativity to stand out. Whether it being that you design your own cv or create a portfolio of work/showreel that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. As much as it’s important to “sell yourself” through an application don’t oversell. It’s important that you’re honest about the knowledge and level you’re at. No one expects you to know everything, they just want to see is that you’re willing to learn.
6) Follow up with a phone call
I know, picking up a phone and actually talking to someone can be daunting. It’s far too easy to hide behind emails now and as much as emailing applications are easier for both parties, they can sometimes be impersonal. By following up with a phone call you’ve shown you have a big interest in the company which will help you stand out massively.
7) If there’s no job vacancy, apply anyway
A lot of companies in the industry don’t always advertise job vacancies, they receive a lot of CV’s daily so usually they’ll look at the CV’s they have and choose the ones that stand out. So even if there’s no job vacancy advertised, there is no harm in sending in your CV/portfolio/showreel, you may get offered an interview.
8) No one likes a show off
Finding a balance between standing out and showing off is key. While it’s important to show a potential employer what you can do and that you’re confident in yourself, it’s important not to come across as cocky, especially as a newcomer into the industry. Be honest about the level you’re at, potential employers will respect you a lot more for this.
9) Relax and yes, try to enjoy it!
Interviews can be terrifying, walking into a studio full of professionals, racking through your brain trying to remember everything you’ve learnt as if there’s going to be some kind of quiz waiting for you. The key here is to keep calm and try not to think of worst case scenario situations. Interviews are based very much on who you are as a person, just remember to be yourself and remember preparation is key. Go into an interview prepared and you have nothing to worry about.
10) Keep trying
Job searching is frustrating. Luckily our industry is full of opportunities so it’s never too hard to find something but, it always seems that there’s someone one step ahead of you taking the jobs you’ve spent hours applying for. What’s important to remember here is that everyone working in the industry right now has been in that same position, yet they’ve persevered and things have worked out for them. You need to do the same, persevere and eventually something will come your way. Good Luck!!