Pietro Passarelli

Making a CV For The Broadcast Industry



how to make a CV for the Broadcast industry

Every Industry has it’s conventions for CVs. Now I am no expert, but these are some of the things I’ve gathered researching on how to do my own cv and getting feedbacks on it, talking with people who have experience in the industry, attending master classes, and reading books about it, so thought I’d share it in case anyone has anything they’d like to add to it.

What follows is the basic’s I’ve gathered  to draft a broadcast CV.

What you are going to need?

First, things first, what are you going to need ot get started?

  • You’ll need to research what is the job description and key skills of the type of job opportunities you are looking for.

  • Then you need to look at how these skills apply to your experience, and how your work experience can be used to showcase these skills with practical examples.

To Research the job description you could do that looking at a range of adverts for the same type of position, and make notes of the main points of the job description, or look at some books or blogs on this topic.  Here is a few good sources worth having a look at:

Then once you’ve researched those and have comprehensive list it can be useful to brainstorm how those apply to you, for instance making a chart with example of previous work experience that illustrate those points.

Main sections of a CV:

  • Name and Lastname
  • Title
  • Contact Details
  • Profile
  • Key Skills
  • Current Employment
  • Education
  • Other Courses/Education
  • References

There are of course other sections you could have, such as “Interests and Hobbies” and you could have “Current”, “previous” and “Other” employment all in one section, or omit one or the other depending on how your tailoring your cv.

And this is exactly the main point, your CV needs to be tailored to the specific type of job you are applying to. What follows are not some hard and fast rules to live by, they are just principles that most employer seems to agree upon.

However considering the average employer spends less than 6 seconds per cv, this really call for a well layed out, cv easy to skim through. Where the layout makes the most relevant information stand out, and leave an impression. Sounds like a lot to achieve, putting the last 3 or 4 years of your experiences  in one or two pages? let’s have a closer look at it.

What follows is meant to be an explanation of the sections of this CV Template I’ve made.

Name and Lastname

In theory, No nick name, just your name and surname as is on your passport.

Title

Most of the time it’s highly recommended to put your job title at the top near your name, as employers will want to know what you do very quickly, and not have to figure it out reading the all of the cv.

(if you need some convincing scroll down to the end section.)

Contact Details

E-mail adress

Make sure your e-mail address has got your name in it, it helps remember it.

if yourname.yourlastname@something is taken, then you can consider yourname.lastname.tv@ or whatever else.. seems appropriate.

Gmail generally inspires more credibility, but I guess this is debatable. But avoiding using unprofessional e-mail addresses like drunkenstupid@hotmail.com

tip: if you have a address you already use but would like a more pro sounding one , and can’t be asked to check two addresses all the time, with gmail, you can set up a [e-mail delegation5 and/or a forwarder6, so that you can check your new e-mail from the old address. ]

5http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=138350

6http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=10957

WWW

Strongly recommend to have a website, for portfolio and/or Showreel.

However do not go overboard, keep it simple, to the point, and a very arsh selection of your best work only.

[I’ll write more about showreel in a separate post]

Phone Number

Pretty self explanatory,

tip:  if you are dissatisfied with your current carrier I recommend [giffgaff7 ]

7http://giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/pietrops

Address

Personally I think it doesn’t need to have a civic number etc.. I reckon is just enough to have city and country, unless relevant for the job applied or specified in the job description as requirement.

Profile

Profile or short personal statement:

  • First sentence describes you in a nutshell.ie Sociology graduate, with keen interest in factual entertainment.

  • Then write about what is important for you. ie attentions for details, and/or organised and methodical,

  • And specify experience you have, this should summaries the skills that are in the employment sections using key/buzz wors, ie “ managing talents”, “recce locations,” 2 to 3 lines max.

Key Skills

Bullet point is best, as they are easy to scroll through, skim and scan. I would put max 5 key skills that are most relevant, some of the categories are :

  • camera skills and camera known,

  • editing skills and editing platforms known,

  • Other post production software

  • languages, with level of competence(of course only worth mentioning if any other than english.)

  • archive clearance, and other..

driving licence

CRB check

Ofcourse these will depend on the key points of the job description previously researched, but an example of the once above would look like this:

  • Confident Shooter (naming camera models, ie Sony ex1/ex3, Sony Canon Xf100/Xf300, Sony PW500, Canon C300 and DSLRS 5D MkII)

  • Proficient editor with FCP / Avid, Sound mixing with Protools.

  • Fluent in Italian (mother-tongue) , French and English

  • Archive clearance

  • Full clean driving licence

Employment

Employment could be subdivided in current employment, previous employment, other employment, but keep it to the point, and keep all your TV/Broadcast work together.

If you have them you can list your credits, in a format like this one, bold and bullet points help scanning the cv more quickly:

Your job        Name of production company / Name of Broadcast Month/Year

One to two line max describing the gist of the programme and include name of production.

And then bullet point relevant skills, Two to 3 point max per each job,

Do not repeat same points in different jobs, showcase a variety of skills and achievements relevant to the job description.

If you are relatively junior, you could briefly mention tasks that were delegated to you by a more senior person.

If you have credits on adverts, promos or corporate you can list the brands or bands, in a separate section.

If you don’t have broadcast credits, tne you can use the same format to list transferable skills from other type employment, work experience etc.. aiming to make the point you have the skills and experience for the next step, ie runner, junior researcher etc..

Education

Brief list your education, in bullet points, in chronological order.

  • Any Master or further postgraduate studies,

  • Any Degree

High School, with number of GCSEs and grades and same for A levels.

if not done in the UK, it’s not necessary to put grade, just put in the one line description that the qualification was equivalent to GCSEs and A levels

I think the following format works well:

BA Name,                       Name of University, Month Year

One line description of major achievements, ie sound installation, graduation film, dissertation etc…

Other Courses

Last but not least, before the references, you can have a section with relevant training,

any certificates, master classes, or short courses.

Name of course Month Year

One line description.

Some examples of courses that are highly regarded are First Aid, Health & Safety, and the Hostile Environment training.

References

Rather than the usual “available on request” I would suggest to list your references and update them as you progress, but I guess there are no hard and fast rules on this.

Remember to check with the person you are putting down as reference, that they are ok with it, before you do so.

In Conclusion

Do some research, the source section at the end of this post is a good starting point.

See what works for you, get some feedbacks from industry people and re-adjust accordingly.

See how other people have made their CV, in site such as Production base (monthly or yearly fee) or other diary services (Callbox, etc..) you can see user’s CV, now these are not necessarily good examples, but it can help for ideas, and judge what works for you.

Final appendix on the title section

This should be realistic, if you are at an entry level stage of your career, or still very junior in your field, you might wanna wait till when you are finished with the rest of the CV.

As the experience and job titles you have in the employment section might give you clues for

the most appropriate one, that balances between your future expectations and the stage you are currently at.

In other words, “Film-maker” is too vague a term, and there is no point in writing “Director” or “Producer” if you don’t have director Broadcast credits on your cv. In the employes view this shows a lack of understanding of the industry’s culture and dynamics.

Now, there is a lot of debates around this, and all I am saying is be aware that should you do this, you wouldn’t be taken seriously.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong, if you really want to, to ad a section called “Personal Projects” where you have some of the short films you worked on, But only if the topics, skills or the job title are relevant for the position you are applying for.

So, you stand a better chance of employment if you write “runner”

or “Runner / Researcher”, if you are at entry level, with no broadcast credits, but feel like you have the skills, and can demonstrate that in the previous employment section.

I know what a lot of view are going to say now, “I don’t want to work as a runner” and my personal view, is you don’t necessarily have to. But what you do have to understand is, that it all revolves around “How much money have you been trusted with?”.

Sure, you might think that having worked on a number of short films for the last couple of years you feel ready to receive more responsibility.  But my advise is “walk before you run” and “slowly but steady”. having used a couple of thousands pounds at best,  to make a very low budget short, weather for yourself, for a charity or other type of organisation. Requires very good skills in making the most of very little resources, But it’s not the same as working on a doc or a factual entertainment series where the budget is a round or even over 100 000 pounds and a potential mistake on your part could cost a lot of money to be fixed, as generally the quick turnaround makes this things more expensive.

Therefore, a entry level position like a “runner” or “junior researcher”(which is arguably not considered as such) would give you a good amount of responsibility, but still with a chance to observe what is going on around you to learn and be ready for the next step when it’ll happen.

Resources

Unit List, links to CV post on watercooler website / forum

Unit List, explaining what unit list is, and how industry works.

Unit list TV Runner Tip Sheet -pdf

Elsa Sharp Book: How to Get a Job in Television: Build Your Career from Runner to Series Producer

Sue’s Book ‘An Experts Guide to Getting into TV’ by Shu Richmond

Goldsmiths Carrer CV

Eye tracking studies on CV recruiter not a very reliable on

Turbo Boost Your Career in TV Sep 28, 20121