Tips For Finding Work At Southpoint Films

20th May 2015 No comments
Canon C100 at Ageas Bowl, Southampton

With the academic year coming to an end, we’re beginning to see a ramp up in CVs with job applications and work experience requests. To help those who are reaching out to us, I thought it might be useful to share some of the things we look for when somebody applies to work with us.

Filming at the Royal College of Music

Creative Flair

As a corporate video production company we’re looking to hire people who can create exciting videos from relatively mundane subjects, such as industrial vacuum cleaners and CRM systems. You can look at our portfolio for examples of how we’ve done this for our clients.

Although we don’t want to receive gift bags full of glitter or face cakes, a little bit of creative flair with your CV and covering letter can go a long way.

The most creative CVs I’ve seen include the likes of a video CV and one that was mocked up to look like the interface for Adobe Premiere, except with the candidate’s details instead. Both were very creative and both were very memorable. The plethora of CVs that are written in Times New Roman? Not so much…

Bradfest 2013

Show us what you can do

If you’re trying to land a production job it’s really important that you show us what you can do. Make sure your covering letter/email includes a really clear way of viewing your existing work. This could be a link to your showreel or to a full length piece – although bear in mind that less is very often more.

When we look at showreels and portfolio pieces we’re trying to determine whether your style is a fit for our business and if you have the right technical expertise for the job you’re applying for.

Try to make all examples relevant and – particularly for students – explain what your involvement was if you’re sharing a piece of group work. We don’t want to be judging your portfolio for the editing if you were the camera operator, for example.

Filming in Southampton

Don’t forget about you

It’s very common in our industry to focus on which cameras you’ve used and which editing software you’re familiar with. While this information is important, it’s essential that you don’t let it get in the way of telling us who you are.

When hiring, we’re looking for people who share our energy, enthusiasm and drive for making high quality videos – and for life in general! As a team, we love our jobs, we love the clients we work with, and we bring a lot of passion to the table when we approach a new project. Will you?

If you’re a recent graduate and you spent every waking moment that you weren’t at university involved in a club or society, such as student media, we want to know. It shows passion and commitment!

Additionally, if you have a really strong interest in something completely unrelated to video production, we would like to know that too. I’m massively into technology (I’m a huge nerd) and I’m also really into music – you’ll often find me spending my evenings at gigs. My colleague Paul is into sailing and does race management at his local sailing club in his spare time. All of these things come up during projects as they give us expertise in areas that overlap with the industries our clients operate in. What can you bring to the table?

We aren’t in the business of hiring faceless drones to complete monotonous tasks; we want to hire awesome people that our clients will enjoy working with. Your interests might give you knowledge in an area we’re currently weak in, which will make you more likely to stand out. So don’t forget to show what sort of person you are!

Filming at the RCM

Do some homework

Job hunting can be hard and tedious work. If it’s not, it’s quite likely that you’re doing it wrong.

When you’re sending out applications to what feels like a million production companies it’s very difficult to personalise your application every time. However, a little bit of homework can go a long way.

Starting at the easy end, please make sure that we hire the role you’re applying for. We often receive CVs from people who want to work in television or feature films. When a short browse of our website makes it clear that we make corporate videos, this doesn’t go down too well. If an applicant’s aspirations lie beyond our business from day one, they’re not likely to last very long with us!

Taking it a step further, an ideal applicant would conduct some research into our business. Our portfolio shows some examples of complete, real client projects that will give you an idea of the sort of videos we produce. A reference to a video that particularly inspired you wouldn’t go amiss, but a potential candidate would ideally draw parallels between our work and their own, backing it up with some samples from their own portfolio.

It may seem like a lot of effort to go through for a job that you might not get, but you have a higher chance of being hired if you connect well with us – plus, this process is exactly what we have to do all the time when reaching out to prospective clients!

A very simple and passive way to learn about our business is to follow us on social media and see what sort of content we post there. If it interests and engages you then chances are you’ll be a good fit for our company.

Filming in Portsmouth

Make sure you include contact details (and rates, if freelance)

When sending us an application or enquiry it’s important that we can contact you by email and phone. In fact, our job application and freelancer forms ask you for all the information we need, so this shouldn’t be problem! (But if you’re reaching out to us via other methods, please don’t forget!)

If we aren’t actively hiring we like to keep the details of strong candidates on record for any future opportunities or for freelance work. We never know when the next big project will come through that could need somebody like you involved – but when it does, its in everybody’s interest that we can get hold of you quickly.

If you’re a freelancer it’s also very important to include your rates so that we know immediately where you sit in comparison to our own. If you charge three times what we do then we’ll never be able to afford you and it will save everyone’s time and avoid raising anybody’s hopes if we know that to begin with.

While there’s no “silver bullet” formula for landing a job, hopefully this post gives you an idea of what we look for when we hire. It’s fairly safe to say that other employers will probably be looking for the same, so even if we’re not hiring we hope it helps you.

It’s also worth noting that, writing as somebody who graduated from university not that long ago, my heart goes out to every single enquiry that reaches my inbox – especially at times when we don’t have the means to accommodate new staff.

Even if you don’t find yourself getting anywhere, don’t let a lack of response or a rejection get you down. There are plenty of jobs out there and persistence is the key to success – even if you aren’t able to find it here! Good luck!

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