10 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CV

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You’ve just graduated from film school and now you’re ready to launch your career in the film industry.  Armed with a cv you boldly start contacting Production Managers in the hopes of landing an intern position or a paying gig freelancing on a production.

But wait!  Is your cv any good?  Does it look professional and does it have the relevant and necessary information?  Let’s look at 10 pointers that will help you improve your cv, which in turn will improve your chances of landing work:

  1.  Keep your cv as brief as possible.  Include a small, professional looking photograph of yourself at the top under your name and remember to include a title (or the title you are applying for.)  For example  Sally Brown, Production Intern.  Or Sally Brown, Production Assistant. Include a short summary at the beginning of your cv that explains in a few sentences why an employer should hire them. If this is well presented the employer will be motivated to read the rest of your cv.  Think of what makes you unique and why you should be hired for the job.
  2. Under your summary include personal details such as  Date of birth, email address, City or suburb you live in, Contact telephone number and Drivers license (if you have one).  You don’t need to add any other details.
  3. List your related jobs in reverse order.  In other words, you always list the most recent jobs first and work backwards.  Make sure to add the months and well as years you worked at a job. Example: Jan – June 2015.
  4. It is not necessary to add the reasons why you left a job.  You might be asked that in an interview but leave that out of your cv.
  5. Under each job you list, name your biggest achievements in that particular job (not your duties and responsibilities.)  For example: “I implemented an indexed filing system”, or “I cashed up the takings each day and was never short.” This shows that you took initiative and that you have a successful mind-set.  Employers want to hire people who will go beyond the call of duty and will be successful in their positions.
  6. Never list your hobbies UNLESS they are totally relevant to your job.  If your primary hobby is watching films, shooting short films and/or editing, then by all means, include that in your film cv. But if your hobbies are reading, listening to music and playing chess, don’t include that.  Nobody is interested.
  7. Education should be the second last section on your cv. Include the year you graduated from college, university, film school or high school. It’s not necessary to list your subjects in high school, but you can list a summary of your study subjects for everything else.
  8. Achievements would then be the last section on your cv.  Here you would list things like Class Prefect, Most Promising Student of the Year, Award for Best Student Film, etc.  Keep it brief and to the point. Nobody has time to read essays.
  9. It’s not really necessary to include a list of contactable references as these would be asked for if you make it to the interview. However, it won’t hurt to include your previous employer as a reference as this immediately tells the person hiring that you left with no bad feelings.
  10. Always do a spell check before you submit your cv. Bad spelling can and does put people off! If I receive a cv with loads of spelling mistakes, I discard it immediately.

If you haven’t done so already, create a LinkedIn profile and include the link in your cv. Recruiters nowadays always check your LinkedIn profile as part of the recruiting process.

Once your cv is polished, start making phone calls to Production Managers, introduce yourself as professionally as possible and ask if you can email your cv.

Good luck!

Want to study filmmaking?  Auteur Film School offers a selection of fun and affordable home-study courses designed to kick-start your filmmaking career.  Email us for a prospectus: filmschool@auteurfilms.co.za

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About the writer:

Amour Setter is an award-winning filmmaker, international producer and principal of Auteur Film School.

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