New to the world of working in TV and looking for a job?
(previously published on https://www.facebook.com/groups/tv.runners)
Hello job seekers, I’m a TV production manager who regularly recruits freelancers and I also run this site theunitlist.com. I thought I’d pass on some feedback that may apply to a number of new entrants to the TV industry looking for work. None of this is new and all is in the guides on tvwatercooler.org or on our resources tab at the top.
Despite what your tutors, or careers guidance, may have told you, it is not appropriate to apply for every job you like the look of. Read the criteria of the previous experience required and ask yourself if you strictly match it. If not sure, do research on the role, there’s lots out there, and question yourself again.
If it says they want 3 years of credits, uni projects and short films won’t cut it. It’s a waste of both your and the recipient’s time.
RESEARCH THE JOB TITLE
Be realistic about your knowledge of roles. A multi camera studio director or a head of development for TV will most likely have been working for a minimum of 10 years in other roles. So probably not best to go for that sort of thing just yet.
Digital is different to TV and there are more opportunities within junior roles, but this site focusses on working in TV in the UK.
Cover letter should be in the body of the email and address how you meet the specific criteria. It should be formal in tone and tell the recipient how you can help. Do not send it as an attachment.
It’s a mistake to be subjective about your soft skills and a waste of effort, e.g. ‘I have amazing people skills and am a friendly and hard working person‘.
Also unhelpful to you if you inform the employer how they can help you in your chosen career. That is not their interest, they want to know if you can fill the gap in the team without additional guidance or training. No one has the resources to do that anymore unless the company offers a training apprenticeship or internship programme.
Ensure the content of your CV and cover are relevant to the job. Try to match what you think the reader needs to see. If you have transferrable skills or experience, you need to signpost that in your cover and indicate how it applies in the CV document.
Recruiters are often unable to imagine how you match the criteria if it’s not obvious, so make it easy for them to understand you.
A DEGREE IS NOT A SHORTCUT
A degree is not a golden ticket into a job and it’s a mistake to believe it is. Employers favour experience over education so be proactive about work experience during your time as a student. This will also open up contacts when you are ready for full time work.
Appreciate your degree for what it was and what you learned, experienced and the soft skills you developed. When you enter the word of work, be prepared for nobody to ask you about it or show any interest in it. Harsh but true.
Go to all the events you can that interest you. RTS and RTS Futures do a number of them every month. BECTU (our industry union) also does them and other role specific groups and associations. You will learn stuff and have the opportunity to make contacts. Eventbrite is a good place to hunt events down.
IT’S A VERY SMALL WORLD
Despite the temptation, don’t lie on your CV. The UK TV industry is relatively small and you will be found out. Employers will judge you that if you lied on your CV, what else are you willing to lie about? Lies lead to problems that other people have to fix and nobody has time for that.
Be discreet about what you post online and consider your privacy settings carefully. If they have time, recruiters will Google you and make judgement on your character from what they can view.
If you are slagging off the job or team you are currently working with, or being indiscreet about content, this could be an instant rejection and you won’t even know about it. GO CHECK ALL YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW!