With the academic year coming to an end we’re already beginning to see a ramp up in CVs, job applications and work experience requests. As somebody who graduated from university not that long ago, my heart goes out to every single enquiry that reaches my inbox – especially when we don’t have the means to accommodate new staff. As such, I thought it might be useful to share some of the things we look for when somebody applies to work with us.
As a creative video production company we’re looking to work with individuals who can create exciting videos out of relatively mundane subjects, such as vacuum cleaners or CRM systems.
While we don’t want to receive letters full of glitter or face cakes in the post every day, a little bit of flair on 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 candidates details instead. Both were very creative and both were very memorable. The plethora of CVs written in Times New Roman? Not so much…
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 method 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 often more.
When looking 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, especially for students, explain what your involvement was if you’re sharing group work. We don’t want to be judging your portfolio for its editing if you were the camera operator, and vice versa.
Don’t forget about you
It’s all too common in our industry to focus heavily on which cameras you’ve used and what 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 who you are.
At Southpoint Films we are incredibly passionate about making films and regularly go above and beyond for our customers. When hiring, we’re looking for people who share that energy and enthusiasm.
If 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! Alternatively, if you have a really strong interest in something completely unrelated to video production, we would like to know that too. 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. Don’t forget to show what sort of person you are!
Do some homework
Job hunting is incredibly hard and tedious. 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, make sure that we generally hire for the sort of roles you’re applying for. We often receive CVs from people who want to work in television or on feature film sets. When it says very clearly on our home page that we make videos exclusively for businesses (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 doesn’t necessarily exist 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.
Make sure you include contact details (and rates, if freelance)
When sending us your enquiry it’s important that we can contact you via at least email and phone. Even 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.
As for rates, if you’re a freelancer it’s 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 we’ll never be able to afford you and it will save everyone’s time later down the line if we know that to begin with.
And that’s it! While there’s no secret formula for getting a job, hopefully this will give you an idea of what we look for in applications so that you can stand out from the crowd if you’re considering sending a CV and covering letter our way. We wish you the best of luck.