As many know, I have a wealth of experience within the recruitment and HR industry. I thought I'd seen it all within the job application process, that was until I started recruiting for Light Films last year... And on that basis I have decided to share with those seeking work within the film or creative industries some little tips to ensure your CV is at the top of the "to interview" pile!
What makes you attractive to employers?
Talent is more than ticking one skill box. Times are changing and employers want more than just one or two types of expertise from their employees. You really need to ask yourself "What more can I bring to this job?" and "How can I show my potential worth to a company?"
The skills that every employer is looking for are quite simple and include communication, commercial awareness, attitude to work, and industry knowledge. Now, you're probably wondering why I've ommitted "technical knowledge"; whilst most employers want someone who knows what they're doing technically, this is something that can be taught if needed. Attitude, for instance, is more instinctive and is harder to teach than a lot of technical based stuff.
With this in mind, your next thought is how to portray this convincingly in your CV or portfolio? A personal statement quoting "I'm a good communicator and have sound industry knowledge" is just not going to cut it! Get creative!
Do your research...
When applying for a job, don't think for a second that you're more special than the other applicants. Don't for a second think that the employer NEEDS you so badly they will run around seeking the information you wish them to see to support your application so follow these guidelines which will certainly help in moving your application to interview stage.
Remember, if this job is attractive to you it's probably attracting a lot of other people too. So, make sure you research the job and the recruiter along with your potential manager and team mates before you apply; this will give you a real edge when you apply.
READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION!
I have received applications for all sorts of roles that bear no resemblance to the vacancy. Many cover letters were "copied and pasted" into a new Email to me, and many quoted the wrong job title, the wrong company name, wrong company location and even my name was wrong. Getting important details wrong shows lack of interest, and it's unlikely you'll get past application point. By reading the job description you will avoid asking silly questions that are probably covered within the detail that has already been set out by the employer.
Don't point the employer to several different mediums in which your application will sit. For instance, don't send them to YouTube, then Facebook, then MySpace and tell them to watch a DVD and read your CV. If you cause that much fuss at application, the employer certainly won't want you as employee! Time is money to them, and the more intuitive you are the better. Make yourself attractive. Make your work easy to find and see.
Social Media humilation...
Ensure your prospective employer finds only good things about you online. Remember, as beautiful as social media is it can equally negatively impact your chances of gaining an interview. Your prospective employer does not want to see you at your very worst; remember to make yourself attractive or, of course, ensure your privacy settiings are set to VERY HIGH!
There is another blog to be published on this, as it's a very large area to advise on. However, if you're lucky enough to get to interview stage, ensure you get the right time and day. Also ensure you're in smart "interview" attire. No matter what the role, a suit is always advisable for interview. Your employer wants to know that they can trust you to represent their company, so you need to represent yourself to a very high standard.
What made the candidate who we appointed THE ONE for us? His application was friendly and very personal. He had quite clearly researched us. He submitted his information in the exact way we had requested it; CV (PDF) and an easy to use personal website with all his best work. He asked no irrelevant questions, and stood out from the start. He had always been a keen fan of our Twitter and Facebook pages, despite not really knowing us, and he most certainly didn't disappoint throughout both his interviews where he was asked a number of questions in a formal interview situation, and then tested on his technical ability at a second stage. Well done Chris, you just have to keep up the good act now! ;-)