The Art of Selling Yourself – Through Your Resume

There were valuable resume and interview tips aplenty at an informative presentation on resume building, hosted by Women in Film and Video (WIFV) and Women in Cable Television Communications (WICT), at Interface Media Group on April 2, 2014.  The panel discussion was scheduled just ten days before the ever-popular WIFV job fair, so these important tips came just in time for some last minute resume polishing and brushing up on interview skills.

Applicants at the WIFV job fair.
Hopeful applicants will make their case at the upcoming WIFV Job Fair

Packed House

The packed house was not disappointed by the professional advice disbursed by the panel of experts. First to speak was Karen Proctor, who is a senior recruiter at the George Washington University Hospital as well as owner of her own recruiting company, Kreative Recruiting Programs.  She quickly focused on one of the main themes of the evening for creating a successful resume. Rely on short concise bullet points, supported by an explanatory sentence, and lose the lengthy paragraphs.

Karen Proctor
Karen Proctor

Recruiters have to review dozens and sometimes even hundreds of resumes for every opening. So they want you to get right to the point of what you can do for their company, based on what you have done for others before during your career.  If you are lucky enough to get called in for an interview you will get an opportunity to go into the details. In the mean time keep the items in your resume short and to the point.  One highly rated resume had a box in the top right hand corner with the heading “Core Competencies” which contained a bracketed and bold short list of high value items. Put your best assets right up front, where no one has to search for them.

Of like mind with Karen was panelist Ken Nice, who is Program Manager for Yoh Company.  Ken’s recruiting accolades include current clients at Discovery Communications, TV One, and HARPO Studios.  He has been a specialist in temporary staffing at the Freeman Agency in L.A. and manager of temporary staffing at Sony Pictures in Culver City, CA. Ken reinforced Karen’s point that short entries and bullet points are better for resumes than long paragraphs that no one has the time to read.  Both felt that a resume can have more than one page, if the extra space is filled with short but relevant bulleted items.

Ken Nice
Ken Nice

As far as the physical layout of the resume is concerned, for people who have been in the work force for several years, it is best to go in chronological order from your current work experience backwards.  Watch out for unexplained gaps in your work experience time line.  Put more emphasis on the recent events than the distant past.  Education goes at the bottom, as that happened a long time ago for seasoned professionals.

On the other hand, newcomers to the workforce who lack work experience can fall back on education and extracurricular activities.  Both Karen and Ken were in agreement that they don’t really care about what your goals are.  They both assume that since you are talking to a recruiter, that your goal is to get a job.  So strike “my goals” from your resume as irrelevant.  What they really want to know is how can you fill an employment need for the company that is reviewing your resume.

Both Karen and Ken were firm supporters of getting help in employment searches from the social media phenomenon LinkedIn.  For example, it is useful for job searchers to join groups on LinkedIn in their area of professional interest.  If you are going to a specific company to look for work, check who in your network group might already work there, for some advanced scouting help.  You can just type in the name of a company, and the name of people in your group who work there will pop up. Or you can just ask people in your LinkedIn groups for advice on how to approach a certain type of job opening.  Most people on LinkedIn share such information freely.

The next speaker was WIFV Board Member Elizabeth Ventura, who has managed multimillion-dollar production company operations, served as line producer on multiple broadcast series, and managed complex outreach-type hiring events.  The local production companies that she has helped to greatness include Discovery Communications favorites, Team and Base Productions.

Elizabeth Ventura
Elizabeth Ventura

At Base she played a principal role, managing the financial and production operations of this rapidly growing bi-coastal corporation and its affiliated companies.  Her own resume was used as case study of what a production company might want in a production manager.  Again she relies on short bulleted points, but with dozens of impressive credits and references from across the gamut of production management experience.

She doesn’t really care what your formal education is in the production arena.  However, if she is shooting cop shows and you mention that you edited a cop show, you are much more likely to get the job.  Talk mostly about what you can do for the company, based on your assessment of what the job calls for.  She is not a big fan of cover letters; the resume should speak for itself.  Most important is to get right to the point by putting your accomplishments in the chronology.

The final panelist was Katarina Price of Katarina Price Photography who spoke about the value of a good headshot.  Whether you are talent, makeup or any other parts of “The Biz” where glamour is a premium item, you need a good headshot to go along with your resume.  However, she showed attractive headshots of video producers in assertive, provocative, and relaxed poses, which exuded confidence and accomplishment.  Even avatars for Internet usage should be attractive color pictures set in the work environment.  The use of a professional to take the headshot is highly recommended.

Katarina Price
Katarina Price

Some of the other experts discouraged using a photograph as an actual part of the typical production job resume.  However, all of the panelists agreed that the resume was merely the foot in the door to landing the target job.  They stressed that the key to performance during the all-important first interview was to convey an aura of confidence with approachability.  I left with a much deeper appreciation of the job filling process as seen from the eyes of the experts.

Finally, I am sorry to say that Word Wizards, Inc. will not be represented at the WIFV Job Fair for the first time in recent memory.  However, if you want to apply for a position at WW, are a fast typist (at least 75 WPM,) have experience with transcription software, or are proficient in translating in a foreign language, please send us your resume to generalinfo@wordwizardsinc.com.  Best wishes for a successful job-hunt.