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Tips on Writing Your CV with Elsa Sharp Options · View
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Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 12:17:23 PM

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Tips on Writing Your CV

Is your CV sending potential employers the desired message? What’s your sales pitch? It’s the New Year so how about a new CV to match? Elsa Sharp, author of How to Get A Job in Television is on-hand to remind you of all the do’s and don’ts of CV engineering.

A New Year is usually a time for new resolutions and optimism but 2011 is going to be a tough year as the cuts bite with increased competition for jobs.

It’s now even more essential to market yourself, your skills and experience as effectively as possible so your CV will be read, stand out and get you an interview.

I am constantly amazed at how so many people fail to present their CV properly – by over writing, cluttering the layout and sometimes omitting key information. As a former TV series producer and now talent manager I’ve seen hundreds of CVs. Far too many are difficult to read, badly written and poorly laid out - even at senior level.

I am asked to find producers with a specific skill set and when I am looking through piles of CVs I want to be able to see skills and experience listed clearly and concisely as I am scanning them, to see who matches the criteria I have.

A CV is a powerful tool for self promotion, it should be well written and on no more than two pages – no matter how experienced you are.

With a bit of careful editing – it can be done.

Here are a few simple and universal tips on how to create an effective CV.

LAYOUT


• The font should be no less than 11 point – anything less is illegible.
• Design your CV in simple black and white but if you do want to use colour – no more than one!
• Choose a simple font like Calibri that is easy to read
• Don’t use a photo of yourself – it’s only appropriate if you are looking for work onscreen.
• Some talent managers feel photos are inappropriate, but I do think it is permissible to show stills from your work. TV is a visual medium so it is acceptable to have some kind of design and some pictures on your CV
• Leave reasonable sized margins and use bold for headings
• Your CV should be chronological with all your credits listed in reverse order

STRUCTURE

I personally prefer chronological CVs that are laid out in this order:

1. HEADING - Your name, job grade (producer/researcher etc), mobile number, email address and link to show reel if you have one

2. Don’t write a mission statement or a paragraph of personal information

3. Your first heading should be your KEY SKILLS – this is a bullet point list that should include the following:

• the genres and grade, & broadcasters you’ve worked for
• Your prime skills (technical skills such as shooting - include cameras you can use)
• Editing systems you’ve used
• Any awards
• Any Development experience
• Any languages spoken
• Any specialist knowledge or experience, for example history, arts, science
• Any experience of foreign filming, VISAs and special licences
• Plus any other useful skills like recording sound, PowerPoint, computer packages, driving licences,

4. List your PROGRAMME CREDITS in reverse chronological order, for example:

Dates from – to Job Title – Name of show duration Prod Co/Broadcaster
Brief description of show, tasks completed described
Jobs undertaken, people managed, sell your experience!
Any press reviews/good ratings/ name of exec

5. TRAINING & EDUCATION
List industry courses such as health and safety, camera, law courses and your educational qualifications – your GCSE’s, A Levels and degree, masters etc

6. List at least two REFEREES – from your most recent credits – make sure you know what they are going to say about you! Include mobile and email addresses – with their consent!

WRITING

Every word on your CV should be there for a reason – choose your words carefully and use positive language that clearly shows your experience for example - such as experienced, tenacious, extensive, flexible…

• Be concise – write in short sentences and avoid paragraphs.
• Target your CV – prioritise what’s important to you in terms of your skills and experience
• List and give clear examples of achievements and actions which can always be backed up.
• Have good attention to detail! Nothing screams out more than a spelling error or poor grammar
• Be confident and sell yourself but be honest about your role and contribution, it doesn’t take long to find out who actually did what, integrity is everything.
• Never lie. People in telly have a strange habit of knowing one another and you’ll soon be found out.
• And finally, label your CV clearly so when it’s saved by the recipient it will have your details. Don’t call it CV or My CV – but save it with your name, grade and date for example, Elsa Sharp - Development Producer – January 2011

Elsa Sharp, TV Talent Manager and author of How to Get A Job in Television.

For more advice, Coaching and forthcoming workshops go to www.elsasharp.com


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