Once you’ve made that all important first contact with a company – whether that’s through a well-written job application or some face-to-face networking – you need to follow it up quickly and convert those leads into some work experience or even a job.


FOLLOWING UP WITH CONTACTS

It can be difficult to strike the right balance when following up with contacts. Try too hard and it could become annoying; too little contact could mean that an opportunity passes you by.

Remember that the people you are writing to are pretty busy, so it may take them a week or two to come back to you. If more than a couple of weeks goes by, you can follow up with a short, polite email or phone call. They may just need a reminder to respond to you.

Still no response? Don’t take it personally, focus on finding the next opportunity. Getting a placement or job won’t happen overnight – you may face rejection, or even no response at all. The important thing is that you don’t give up.

Most people working in the industry will tell you that it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get a foot in the door. Always keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry, keep networking and continue to work towards your goal – with hard work and determination you can reach it.


ACE THAT INTERVIEW

Do your research! You would be surprised how many people I interview who haven’t done basic research on the channel or network they are applying for a job on. Do as much research as you can: read up about the company; check their Twitter feed; watch their channels and build a picture of who they are and what is important to them. You want to let them know that you are keen for a job at their company, not just any company that will have you.

The internet is a goldmine for practice interview questions. Print a load of them out and then get someone to run through them in a mock interview. As with everything, the more you practice at being interviewed the better you will become! So don’t be shy to do a run through as many times as possible before the main event…

Show some passion! It doesn’t matter if you have all the best grades and key experience, if you can’t show a genuine enthusiasm for TV you are unlikely to get the job. Have an opinion and show your personality – whether that’s telling the interviewer which programmes you’re really into right now or about your blog or latest pet project. Anything that shows a bit of spark and individuality is a good thing.

Don’t turn up in ripped jeans and a vest top. It’s always better to go smarter rather than scruffier for any interview. First impressions count.


Practical resources
Screen Skills has a lot of useful resources for people starting out in TV, including detailed information about job roles, and advice for breaking into TV (including writing a good CV and cover letter, and how to impress potential employers in person).
BECTU, the media and entertainment union, has a Creative Toolkit for people working in the media, covering aspects of freelancing like taxes, pay and your rights.
RTS Futures has produced a document on how to survive as a freelancer, including negotiating rates and getting paid.
TV Water Cooler has put together a helpful index of Facebook groups for TV freelancers. The People looking for TV work: Runners group is not only a busy jobs board, but also has clear CV tips in the pinned post.