Looking for and finding a job in the media industry can be extremely difficult, owing to its wide ranging diversity. To further complicate matters, once a suitable position appears, an often multi-skilled individualmust work out which particular talent to highlight throughout the application and interview process.
With media employers receiving C.V.’s in the thousands, trying to make your application stand out, whilst highlighting your particular talents and appearing professional is a skill in itself. Not to mention appearing skilled, personable and appropriate at the interview itself!
In this episode we discuss Media CV and Job Interview Tips, exploring how to make yourself more appealing in this ever evolving jobs market.
Maddie Turner is a consultant at Christy Media Solutions, who provide tailored recruitment solutions across all aspects of broadcasting and media content distribution.
I caught up with Maddie at the Broadcast Video Expo in London …
Scott Ledbury: Thank you for joining me today Maddie. What advice would you give to a graduate aiming to get into the media industry?
Maddie Turner: It’s very good to attend events like BVE, attend these exhibitions to keep up with what is going on in the industry, all the technologies. Try to do as much research as possible, keep as active as possible, getting work experience where you can. It is hard, you get focused on doing well in your degree and don’t think about getting experience in other areas whilst doing your degree.
If you can pick up any work experience or placements in TV studios, or with production companies I think it’s a nice touch when we come across graduates that also have work experience. Anyone can do that, by keeping an active eye on the market and seeing if there is anything they can do alongside their studies, I’d recommend it as a really good thing to do.
Maddie Turner of Christy Media Solutions
SL: What are your views on multi-skilling Maddie, is it better to be generally skilled or specialise in a certain area?
MT: Interesting question, it depends on what the client or company is looking for. You get roles like multi-skilled operators that do lots of different things like lighting, vision mixing, directing. But then get some places that want someone who is a real specialist on say, an Avid system. I think it’s good to gain as much experience in different systems and in different roles, but if you have a real passion or desire for a certain area look at what that company wants and what is the best route for you to go down.
I think it’s good to have an overall knowledge of systems, especially as you’re working yourself up to management level and are going to be overseeing different departments and areas.
SL: What does the perfect CV (and application) look like?
MT: From an agency perspective we think the more information provided the better. Especially specialising in operations and productions, if people just put their job titles and dates down we have absolutely no idea what they do in those roles. They really need to make themselves stand out. If they provide a brief overview, just a few brief bullet points under each role. What did they do each do, what systems have they worked on and when. They need to showcase their experience in the right way. Also, as an agency we like to have all the information so we can tailor their CV for each job role.
I’d really advise you if you’re applying for a job to really pay attention to the job role, what the company are looking for. If there are specific systems mentioned, really highlight in your CV whether you’ve used them. If there are sections in your CV that aren’t as relevant, don’t put as much about those job roles. I know some people are worried about their CV going over two pages, but that’s really not a problem. Some people I know have over 30 years of engineering experience and they’re not going to be able to get that down to two pages!
If information is important, the hiring manager will read through it. However it’s not a good idea, if there are big blocks of paragraphs.
SL: Do you have any tips for the dreaded telephone interview – hated by many, as you’re limited in how you present yourself.
MT: Show that you’ve researched the company, and that you’re really passionate about what they do and what the job entails. You can’t meet them in person, but you can give a really good impression over the phone of what you are like. It’s making yourself stand out, so you can secure that face to face interview. The tips we give are looking what you’ve done in past day to day roles in relation to this job, if you don’t have direct experience – what’s transferable. Really wowing them so they can see that you’ve researched the company and making yourself stand out.
SL: If you succeed in getting to the face to face interview, what tips then?
MT: The media industry has quite a relaxed vibe. A lot of the time for first stage interviews we generally say – Go Smart. Occasionally, they’ll be a employer where they don’t care what you wear. It’s working out what the client is like, what they wear and what they prefer. The majority of the time, dressing smartly would be key for most first face to face interviews.
SL: Do you find that employers tend to encourage questions from the candidate at the interview stage, and if so what should you ask?
MT: It depends how the interview goes. I’ve never had an employer calling to complain that the candidate has not asked any questions and it’s gone against them. We’ve had a couple of times where people have asked foolish questions (What time is lunch?) and it hasn’t gone down well. Don’t ask a question for the sake of it. A good question might be; What is the progression in this role? What could my career be like in the industry? If it’s a permanent role especially it’s important to show that you’re interested in staying with the company, in the industry. A lot of time, if they are employing someone permanently they want them to stay within the company and progress.
“I’ve never had an employer calling to complain that the candidate has not asked any questions”
SL: Finally Maddie, do you have tips for people looking for work that will develop their skills and generally get themselves out there to promote themselves?
MT: Networking is very important. The media industry is all about who you know, attending these exhibitions, making sure you’re around the right people and networking around the right people. I’d also say if you’re trying to learn a new skill – online courses are great to expand your skill set. And Linkedin is now a great platform within the industry to keep up and make connections and easily get hold of people. You can also showcase your work and do up your profile. It’s a great platform for people to use.
SL: Thanks Maddie, you’ve been great – we’ve learnt a lot.