In part 2 of the blog miniseries, we’re going further into CV and cover letter tips directly from a recruiter in the creative industries. What makes an impressive CV or cover letter? Can students make a great impression without much professional experience? (hint: yes!)
NextShoot is a corporate video production company in London making business video content for well-known brands. We advertise jobs and also receive many speculative applications including for work-experience and entry-level jobs.
In our previous blog, we explored what the process of reviewing CVs is like from the employer’s point of view – and how applicants can take these lessons to help with their job search. Today we’re continuing the topic with more CV and cover letter lessons.
What aspect of a recent CV impressed you or caught your eye?
Mirroring– it pays to modify your CV as well as your Covering Letter for each application. NextShoot recently advertised on LinkedIn for a Business Development Manager role. We got over 200 responses in 3 weeks. I noticed that I was particularly drawn to the CVs where the applicant had cleverly tailored their statement at the top of their CV to reflect the requirements in the advert. It’s a mirroring technique that is reassuring and persuasive.
Reframing – it’s normally possible to apply this same logic to the content of your CV. If your most relevant experience isn’t your most recent work, you can structure your CV thematically rather than chronologically to put the most relevant content at the top. Furthermore, you can reframe your experiences to respond more directly to the specific job requirements. It’s like you were always told with exams – answer the question! In this case, the question is – how closely does your own experience match our requirement?
In addition to blogging with us, NextShoot is running a masterclass event for King’s students interested in Film & video production! Click to book your space on the virtual event via King’s CareersConnect.
How about a recent Covering Letter that impressed you?
Passion – Employers hit by Covid-19 are cutting back on their internship programmes and graduate recruitment is down by 60 per cent, meaning graduates are seeking a smaller number of places.
For those offering any type of position, an inevitable question is ‘What did you do during the lockdown?’ What they are looking for is people who can demonstrate how they rose to the challenge. It’s a good story to tell in your Cover Letter also.
I was impressed by a Covering Letter in which a recent graduate described how they had set themselves a project during the lockdown as they were unable to secure any work or internship. They’d taken their college showreel and looked to build on it by researching, planning and filming 10 new shots that would elevate their visual calling card. They‘d thought laterally about what they could film – given the restrictions – and how they could source equipment. For me, it showed that they were passionate about their craft, whatever the circumstances.
How can students and graduates describe relevant skills for apprenticeships, internships or entry-level jobs when they have no professional experience?
Skills audit – Start with a skills audit. If the job has been advertised check what skills they are asking for. If it’s a speculative application, have a look at adverts similar companies have posted. Note which skills you already have, along with examples of when you’ve used them.
The skills may have been used in a different business sector. You can still reference how you finished a project on time and within budget, for example. And even if you have little professional experience you can still draw attention to the relevant skills from your course work, hobbies and passion projects. Frame them by selecting examples relevant to the workplace, such as team-work, research and analysis, project planning, working under pressure, tackling unexpected and complex tasks and time management. Remember, the focus is the skills over the setting.
Want to learn more about CVs and Cover letters? Explore our KEATS pages, with tonnes of resources, videos and examples of how you can create an outstanding CV.
NextShoot is a small video agency, but we do offer year-round work placements to undergraduates.
For details on this please visit the NextShoot work experience page.