Your cover letter is your first chance to shine – so make sure it’s done right to give you the best chance of landing that role.
I see hundreds of CVs that are very well put together – hours have been spent on layout and design…only for the cover letter to be a huge let down. And that’s a shame, as I’ve been told on numerous occasions that employers will not even look at a CV if the cover letter is rubbish!
Many potential candidates are falling at the first hurdle by using bland, generic letters for every application. It’s essential that each cover letter is tailored to the role you’re applying for.
It’s essential that you write and attach a good covering letter when you send your CV to someone. It’s the first thing someone will read and you need to get it right. Get it wrong and people won’t even open your CV. Without a good covering letter and CV you’re not going to be asked in for a chat.
I’ve seen hundreds of covering letters in my job as a freelance talent manager recruiting for different production roles and also as a series producer. Far too many are badly written, repetitive and too long and can be dramatically improved. Some are just blank – which is poor and a missed opportunity.
When I am coaching I always spend time with my clients helping them to create a well written covering letter. I give them a template – which is specific to them and their skills and experience which they can adapt each time they write to a different company. And this is key – you need to change your letter each time you write to a company to match your skills and experience to their brand and what they are looking for.
PB often spot checks applications made through the site, mainly to make sure that they are being received correctly and that employers are viewing them. From time to time, we come across applications which clearly fail to meet the requirements of the job posted.
The most common complaint from employers is that they feel their time is wasted sifting through unsuitable applications. When applying for a job on PB it’s crucial that you address the specific requirements of the job and it’s even more crucial that you can relate that to your actual experience or work to specific requirements. We recently posted a position for a Historical Researcher and the employer was shocked that previous applicants considered a GCSE in History to be adequate experience.
It may seem obvious, but read the job description fully and ensure that you address the needs of the employer detailing your relevant skills and experience.
Whether you’re applying for a job or scouting for work, it’s essential that you do your research. If it’s a production company, a knowledge of their programming and overall mission is essential. How can you empathise with this and how can you relate to the work they do? In doing this you could also consider their competitors and the content that they produce, what makes this company appeal to you and how can you help the company achieve its goals? Adding personal opinion or comment will hopefully make you more memorable (and for the right reasons), engaging with a company and the work that they do can only benefit you in your application. Remember, stating what you can bring to the table is paramount.
This week Optomen TV’s Nicky Searle talks us through the trials and tribulations of being a newcomer to ‘The Industry’ and gives some sound advice on how you can stand out from the crowd.
So you think you would like to make a career in television? Where do you start? How do you get noticed from the many thousands of people trying to get into this industry? It’s a good question. As one of the many CVs that arrive in my email inbox every day, how do you get yours on my radar?
A well written cover letter is a great start, and of course making sure it’s addressed to the right individual, and also the correct company! You will be surprised how many emails I get at Optomen addressed to Objective or Endemol. It’s clear that spelling is an issue, spelling names of our key talent or the titles of our programmes incorrectly, is an instant faux pas. A badly laid out email just makes me think that you have no attention to detail, and haven’t thought through your application properly. The best cover letters are a couple of paragraphs, telling me a little bit about you, and why you think you could be a good fit for our company, and why I should meet you?