Is there such thing as writing the perfect CV for the media industry? Possibly not… That said, there are some basic principles that can really enhance your CV and improve your chances of getting an interview.
1. Personal Information, Spelling & Grammar
Firstly, lets cover off the basics… It probably goes without saying but make sure your personal information is correct and up to date. There is nothing more frustrating than needing to hire a freelancer last minute and finding they have changed their number or getting a bounce back from an email address due to a typo. Be conscious of your email address as well. Icouldntcareless@gmail.com probably isn’t sending the right message…
Secondly, spelling and grammar. In this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for having bad spelling or grammar in your CV! Make sure you triple check every paragraph carefully and ask a few friends to read over your CV before you send it out. Remember, you CV is a reflection of you and silly mistakes tell a recruiter everything they need to know about your attention to detail!
The most important thing when writing your CV is to keep it short and concise. Always ask yourself, is this relevant?
Recruiters are trawling through 100’s of CV’s each day and don’t have time to read pages and pages on your previous experience. As a general rule of thumb, if you are just starting out in the industry, your CV should be no longer than one A4 side. As you gain more experience through the years then two A4 sides is acceptable but no more.
Delete this now! Although many people put personal statements at the top of their CV’s this is definitely a redundant practice. As mentioned, most recruiters will be pouring over 100’s of CV’s each day and don’t have time to read the waffle. You might think its important to say you’re hard working, punctual, responsible etc. but these are a given and everyone says the same thing. You only have a limited amount of time to attract a recruiter’s attention so hit hard with the facts.
Right at the top of your CV, start with your skills and use bullet points. Grab the recruiter’s attention straight away with what your physical capabilities are and how much experience you have. If you’re certified through any of your skillsets then get this in here as well. For example:
- Certified in Avid Media Composer (MC101) and Adobe Premiere Pro (ACE)
- Comprehensive knowledge of Adobe After Effects
- 5 years professional experience as a video editor
5 bullet points or so is enough here and make sure you get all your skillsets and software knowledge in.
Industry Training & Achievements
Next move on to your industry training and achievements, again, use about 5 bullet points and try to highlight the things in your career that you are most proud of. For example:
- Bachelor’s degree in Media Production (2:1)
- The London Film School: Short Editing Course
- Best student short film: LSFF Awards 2016
- International Youth Film Festival Finalist
Previous Employment & Credit List
Next detail your previous employment with your job roles and dates as the headings. Again, keep it short and simple detailing the most important and relevant information for the job you are applying for. Don’t waffle and keep it factual. If you have a credit list, then insert this here.
Complete your CV with a list of your qualifications. We put this last because it’s usually filled with non-industry specific detail but nevertheless still important information. For example, 8 x GCSE’s, 3 x A-Levels etc..
Hobbies & Interests
Don’t include this section unless particularly relevant. ‘I enjoy socializing with friends’ for example is not relevant to the job you are applying for. If however you are applying for a job in sport, your season ticket could be worth a mention…
4. Colour & Imagery
It is well worth experimenting with colour and imagery on your CV. When a recruiter is presented with a hundred CV’s to look through, it’s often the ones with a bit of colour that stand out. Don’t go mad, but adding in some software or client logos could really make the difference.
It is well worth saving your CV out as a PDF, as this is the most consistent format for viewing on different computers and platforms. Word documents tend to open differently across older versions of the software as well as between Macs and PC’s. Once you have your CV in the format you are happy with, in Microsoft Word select File > Print > PDF > Save as PDF. This will give your CV the best chance of being viewed in the way you intended.