10 Positive Ways To Deal With Difficult Colleagues


Your colleagues can make work a wonderful place, but if there are clashes, politics and downright unpleasantness then going to work each day can become an ordeal. So how do you navigate through the battles, maintain a positive attitude and get the recognition and success for the work that you are doing. It’s all about separating facts from emotions and creating a healthy mind space. That isn’t always easy and there have been times when I have wanted to have a full on EastEnders style show down with people or I’ve been sat at my desk giving death stares and rolling my eyes and tutting to show my disapproval. Neither of those things are healthy so if you find yourself in that situation, maybe think about these 10 things that can help you maintain a productive and positive work space for you.

  1. Is this affecting your work

Is that colleague being annoying? Are you bored of listening to their stories about themselves or their inflated ego going on and on about how great they are? That may be the case but ask yourself, how is this stopping me from doing a great job? Are they just wittering on or are they actively stopping you from succeeding. If they are just simply getting on your nerves then focus on the work and block them out. If you feel that they are deliberately stopping you from doing your job, ask yourself how they are doing this. Write down examples of this and have an open conversation with them and/or your boss. It may be that they are unaware of this. Be careful how you phrase this and keep it all very factual and business related rather than emotional and along the lines of “she doesn’t like me”.

  1. We don’t have to all be friends

You can start a new job and feel that this is the place where you can make a whole heap of new friends, potentially find the love of your life, and have a work life that crosses and merges into your personal life. Sometimes that works out for people and sometimes it doesn’t. Remember work is not an extension of college and you are there to work, it’s a great bonus if you have good friends there but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Try not to take it too personally, not everyone is going to like you. That’s a tough lesson to learn sometimes and sometimes no matter how lovely you are to people they just might not get you, or even want to. That’s all about them and not about you. Don’t force your energy on creating something that might not happen. Just be professional, make sure your work is great and smile through it. I’ve worked in places where people have really got me and in places where people are literally like “who is this guy?” and I know that sometime we have an innate desire for people to like us, but sometimes they won’t and often there is nothing we can do to control that. So unless they are personally attacking you then keep on keeping on being your best and most authentic self.

  1. Kill them with kindness

When people exclude you, ignore you or be rude to you, the initial reaction is to be defensive, fight back or internally analyse and blame yourself for their behaviour towards you. Sometimes it can be better to kill them with kindness. People who are threatened by you or want to undermine you expect you to react in a certain way and by doing so that either affirms their opinion of you or gives them a bit of power. It’s often when people can’t control you, or you are seen as too much of an individual that people then try and control how other people see you. That can be devastating and isolating and cruel and the last thing you might think is repaying that with kindness, but sometimes that is the most effective way to respond. A friend of mine joined a new production team and whatever she did wasn’t good enough, she was excluded, bullied and made to feel rubbish about herself. She decided to bake the bullies cakes and bring them in the next day with a big smile. The bullies were openly shocked and actually said to her “after all we’ve done to you, you bring us cakes”. The act of kindness shamed them into thinking about how they had behaved and the relationship from that moment improved. This might not always work, and if you find yourself in a bullying environment then take notes of incidents and discuss with your manager and HR.

  1. Are these my traits?

Often the things that we find annoying in other people are traits that we have ourselves. We either find them annoying in ourselves or more often we can’t actually see that we behave in that way. So when Sue sat opposite you whinges about her workload or overshares about her weekend, ask yourself, do I do that as well? We can find people that are similar to us annoying and even if you can’t fathom someone who is very different from you, and makes different choices to you, then ask yourself “does it really matter that they do it that way” or if they love to bemoan their work. Maybe that’s just their way of coping with the day.

  1. Are they going through something

Changes in moods, bursts of anger and resentment towards colleagues don’t generally just come out of nowhere. People’s workloads can cause stress and frustration and this can spill out in terms of how they behave towards their colleagues. You also don’t always know what personal battles people are dealing with as well and along with work stress this can manifest itself in difficult behaviour. So think about your colleagues, ask them to chat over a cup of tea and ask them if they are ok? They may not want to talk but reaffirm that you are there to listen if they do. That offer of support can really help someone in their day to day work. We can mask our feelings and our stresses with the notion of being professional or corporate but an honest chat with a trusted colleague can work wonders for us. Whilst you can’t always excuse bad behaviour its useful to know where it stems from and you can offer support.

  1. Are they sabotaging you?

Ask yourself is that annoying colleague who’s perfect at managing upwards but sneers at their colleagues deliberately sabotaging your career or are they not even thinking about you. We can create dramatic tales of power hungry colleagues stabbing you in the back to get ahead, but look at the evidence, is that what is really happening? Those fuelled by ambition can be focused solely on themselves and it can appear they are throwing you under the bus, but is that actually true.? Sometimes we watch too many American crime dramas to separate fact from fiction, so look at the evidence and see what’s really true.

  1. Water off a ducks back

In the words of Drag Race legend Jinx Monsoon sometimes you have to just think it’s all “water off a ducks back”, just let it all slide and keep smiling.  Focus on what is important and what is good in your life and petty office politics will seem irrelevant.

  1. Is revenge worth it?

The aftermath of having a difficult boss or colleagues that you just don’t gel with can leave you feeling lacking in confidence and angry. Try not to take that anger with you to your next role but become more savvy at reading the room and evaluating your colleagues. Thoughts of revenge and throwing a class of wine Dynasty style over that colleague that badmouthed you can feel rewarding but think about what that legacy is going to say about you. It’s always better to leave with dignity and those that treated you badly will come to realise the error of their ways. Karma always comes a knocking for these people.

  1. Is it all in my head?

Is it my bad mood and my situation that is projecting negative feelings onto my relationships with colleagues. When we are going through difficult times we can lash out and blame other people or seek fault in others to justify our own discomfort. Also sometimes playing the victim can draw attention to us. In offices people can bond over their dislike of someone or over a perceived wrongdoing. You can see when one colleague has been promoted over another then the unsuccessful one can draw people towards them with complaining about injustice, this can then cause fractions and conflict in the office. So are your difficult colleagues really that difficult or are you blaming them from your dissatisfaction in your role?

  1. Am I equating them with people I don’t like?

Have you ever worked somewhere and one of your colleagues reminds you of someone? This can be positive, “she’s just like my mate Steve”, but it can also be negative, “she reminds me of my school bully”. How we then interact with these people is shaped by the associations we place on them. So ask yourself are you being aloof, closed off and even a little shady because that person reminds you of someone you don’t like.  Remind yourself that they are not that person and you need to approach your working relationship with them with an open mind.

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Ten things not to do as a runner


I often get asked what makes a good runner and to summarise i usually say someone who is enthusiastic, pro active, hard working and a pleasure to work with. The good ones are the ones that make themselves indispensable. I’ve hired hundreds if not thousands of runners over the years and I’ve highlighted some of the behaviours and traits that make people go “I wouldn’t hire them again”. So start being self aware and think am I doing that? Or is that stalling my career, or simply read with a cuppa and think “thank god i am none of those things”

Being late

A pet peeve from people working on productions about runners is lateness. Get there on time, preferably early. Plan your journey and know where you are going. If you are driving somewhere give it plenty of time and if you are stuck in traffic (these things happen) just keep everyone in the loop. Don’t be blasé about your time keeping. If there is a genuine reason for lateness say your stuck on a tube, apologise profusely when you get in and stay a bit late.. just show you are willing. Commuting can be a nightmare but don’t storm in effing and jeffing and rolling your eyes like a teenager who’s just been dumped because you’ve been crammed on the northern line for what appears to be an eternity. Sounds obvious but get there early!

Not getting back to you

When we advertise on Facebook groups or ring you on your CV get back to us. If you say you are keen and available then answer your phone. Yes it might be Gail in Wigan selling you PPI but it also might be someone offering you a job. It’s incredibly frustrating when three days later you get back saying “sorry I was busy or on another job and now I’m free”. Let us know as soon as possible if that’s the case. Also on groups people recommend people and tag people and we see you going “thanks babes I’ll send my CV” and then sometimes that CV doesn’t materialise for whatever reason. So the overall impression is just a bit sloppy.

Last minute turn downs

Trying to book a runner or two over the Christmas period I was surprised to see a number of people commit to the job and then suddenly be ill. They may have genuinely have been ill but in the midst of the festive season and a Saturday shoot the day after work Christmas parties well it doesn’t take Jessica Fletcher to put two and two together and come up with hangover. So just be mindful of how things look. I know people can get offered longer contracts but if you’ve committed to something and you are due to start that day then you shouldn’t bin them off with a sly email at 7am. In my book if you’ve committed to something you’ve committed to something. There are obviously exceptional circumstances but a good runner would always suggest another runner that can take their place.

Being above it all

You may think you are the next Spielberg as the Uni film about the struggles of being a student did so well and won a few uni awards, but when you are starting out in telly you are starting at the bottom and you need to be there to learn. Also be prepared to do some boring, mundane and unglamorous jobs. No one is going to give you a camera and say “BBC 2, 9pm, go make a film love”. It’s all about your attitude, be grateful for each job and don’t think tasks are beneath you, try and do it all with a smile. By all means go out later in the pub and bemoan with your mates about your shit day but don’t scowl in the office, tutting about how you didn’t study to sort out the stationary cupboard.

Being lazy

No one likes a lazy colleague, no one wants to be constantly asking where you are or not know if the tasks they’ve asked you to do have been done. They don’t want to find you on the sofa with Judy swiping right to find a date that night or regaining everyone with tales from the club at the weekend. I know I sound like a killjoy and tales from the club can be fun and juicy but not when a stressed out PM has asked you five times to get something done.

Clock watching

Tv is not like Carla Connor’s factory from Corrie where you clock in and clock off, and you can pop to Roy’s Rolls for a cream bun and a chat whenever you feel like it. It’s not a nine to five career. I’m not expecting everyone to be there till midnight but keep your boss informed if you need to leave early and make sure you’ve done what you’ve needed to do and ask if they need anything else before you go. It doesn’t look good sat at your desk with your coat on at 5.50pm watching the clock.. people want commitment.

Showing no interest

It’s astonishing that a big number of people coming into telly claim to not watch it. Now the programmes that the company you work at make, might not be too your taste but watch them, show an interest. it’s always a great conversation opener to a PD or SP to talk about an episode of their programme that was on last night. Show interest in people, in the company, in the camera kit as it all helps and creates a really favourable impression of you.

Being a gossip

TV can feel like an extension of college or school. Everyone is super friendly and nice and you all socialise together and it feels like you’re all pals. That’s all great, but remember you are all colleagues as well. You may have a gripe with another runner or take an instant dislike to your boss as she reminds you of someone you don’t like or you generally just love to spill the tea with your friends. Be very careful about this, gossip spreads quickly and most of the time the person that you are gossiping about finds out. Don’t let all your hard work go astray as you get known for being a gossip and a stirrer.

Being a Bully

You want to be top dog runner, none of those other runners are as good as you and you are so fiercely ambitious that you’ve constantly got your eyes on the prize. That’s all good until that turns into bullying behaviour. I’ve seen this many times where someone gets their confidence knocked, gets given the wrong information or is simply excluded by someone. This behaviour is wrong. Trust that people will see your hard work and enthusiasm without resorting to throwing someone else under the bus and make them feel insecure and miserable. Television is a tough business but you don’t have to be a bully to get ahead. Be supportive of your fellow runners as you never know they could be the key to your next job. So many runners recommend other runners.

Being over friendly

You might think this gig is where you are going to find your future spouse and that might be the case but remember to focus on the work. You may be out on location with colleagues sharing a bottle of wine but if wine makes you flirty then you need to rein it in. Don’t be like one runner who will remain nameless who after a few beers on location decided to strip naked in the middle of the hotel bar.. You may have a relationship with a colleague, these things happen but don’t let it stop you from doing a good job. A fling with the talent might sound glamorous but if you are too busy smooching the presenter and not doing your work that is all people will remember.

Drama is for Mariah

We all have personal drama, we all have things going on in our life that are difficult. That’s fine and sometimes you might have to bring them into the office. Just don’t let them take over your role in the office. Don’t be stressing and creating drama about a perceived way someone looked at you or how your boyfriend doesn’t respect you or how you love the guy in the mailroom. Safe the drama for your friends. Your PM doesn’t need to hear how life is been cruel to you everyday. They just want you to do the tasks in hand. So ask yourself honestly am I bringing too much drama into the office? Sometimes less is more and an air of mystery can work wonders for your career.

 

 

10 Things to give your career a kick start in 2019


  1. Get networking

This might sound obvious but if nobody knows you are free and amazing then no one is going to hire you. So throw yourself into a networking frenzy. If there are formal and informal networking events get yourself signed up. If that sounds like the scariest thing imaginable then take a few deep breaths and maybe bring along a friend and go with no expectations. Have interesting conversations with people, talk about what you’ve done and what you want to do without bombarding them and making it a monologue and not a two way conversation. Don’t always aim for the most senior person in the room, strike up conversations with peers and help each other out. A nice chat could lead to a new job in a new company. Find the balance between being apologetic about what you’ve done, “oh I’ve just worked a bit here, it was nothing really” and arrogant “Everyone thought that I was the best”. The easiest way to do this is talk about what you enjoyed and the tasks you loved and people will immediately see your passion. Try to find the positive in everything, even if the experiences weren’t great and don’t bad mouth anyone. It’s a small world and bitching can create a bad impression of yourself.

So look on twitter, your facebook groups or simply get back in touch with old colleagues. It can all help.

  1. Spruce up your CV

We can get too busy to update our CV, but when we don’t and we send an old one to a potential employer that’s not updated or our talent manager profile has not been updated since 2016, it looks sloppy. So dig out the CV and keep it updated regularly. After every gig and before you send it to any employer make sure it’s up to date. Get someone else to look over it and ask them if it all makes sense. Make factual statements and give context behind the roles. You may presume one runner or researcher role is the same but really think of achievements and what makes you stand out. Then  get your CV out there. If you are applying for jobs online or from facebook groups make sure you read the advert and you have the necessary skills.. It is really frustrating as an employer if people haven’t read the outline of the job or feel they can wing it without the relevant skills. Don’t feel like you have to rush up the ladder as you’ll soon get found out if you don’t have the right experience.

  1. Look at past achievements

New Year is often about a time of reflection. We keep ourselves so busy and focused on what we haven’t yet done and what we need to do that we often neglect to see how far we’ve come. Take time to appreciate your journey. Using a journal is a great way to do this, but simply sometimes just looking at where you were this time last year can help you appreciate your journey. If you feel that you haven’t come as far as you like or feel as if you are still in the same place start thinking about what you have done and also what you could have done differently. Try and be as objective as possible and think about your actions rather than blaming other people or being overly harsh on yourself. Just be rational and try and ask yourself honestly, “ have I done all I can to get to where I want to be?”

  1. What new skills do you want to gain this year

Do you find yourself stuck in a bit of a rut, but can’t quite figure out why nothing is shifting? Are you so stuck in your comfort zone that you are scared to try anything new? Or do you know exactly what you want to be doing but don’t know how that would seem possible? Well first of all ask yourself what new skills do I need to get me to the next level and what can I do right now to help me on that path. It may be that you want to improve your camera skills or your writing experience or it may be that you want to change genre and get more studio experience or more drama experience. Ask yourself is this truly what you need and if it is, who do you know that can help you on that path. If there isn’t anyone then what can you do yourself.. can I make my own film, can I volunteer on a shoot, or can I ask someone for help. Sometimes we get too proud to do this, but if you choose the right moment and you are clear about how you want your career to progress, people are generally open to helping you out.

  1. Manage your time better

Are you making up excuses about never having time to do the things that you want to do but secretly you know you’ve spent the weekend binge watching that Netflix series or listened to the woes of your best friends relationship over a bottle of wine. Both are perfectly acceptable but are you filling your time with stuff and not focusing on your goals?  By just setting an hour or even half an hour a day to look at your goals or do one thing to get nearer to them can really help. We all think we need to do a massive change to get where we want to go but actually small steps can lead us in the right path. So think about your time and are you spending it doing things that will make you happier, make you closer to the career you want and make you feel more fulfilled.

  1. If it’s not working try something different

Sometimes we repeat the same patterns and then are shocked when we get the same results. Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit and find a different way to do things. So if you are just sending out your CV and that’s not working, then get yourself to a networking event, contact the SP from your favourite show and ask them how they got to where they are. If there are no networking events then maybe set up your own, or your own TV facebook page. I know a few people that have done this and it’s proven to be really successful for them.

  1. Catch up with old colleagues

Meet up with people you’ve worked with before and let them know you are free or simply chat to them about your career. Ask for advice and also pay it forward, meet people and give them advice about your own experiences. It’s often from those chats that someone can say, “actually let me introduce you to Sue, she’d be a good person for you to know”. It can feel silly or pushy but I am sure you have done the same for other people and be persistent and keen but don’t stray into impatience and rudeness, nobody wants that. Even speak to old lecturers or old uni mates about life and career and explore their networks as well. If you do all this in a really positive way then I am sure it will reap it’s rewards.

  1. Change your surroundings

Is television really where you want to be, it’s not for everyone and if you feel like you’ve had enough then there is no shame in that either. There also a multitude of jobs in television that are not directly involved in production and maybe one of them is where your heart lies. If you can then maybe a change of scenery could work. You don’t have to be in London to have a good career in television and it may be that you need to explore other options in different cities. Sometimes a new company can restore your faith in the industry or maybe a side step into another industry can work wonders. Don’t be too focused on putting all your eggs in one basket, give yourself options. You always have time to achieve your goals and they may take longer than you initially thought but keep focused and you’ll get there.

  1. Focus on the positive

January can be a time of renewal but it can also be a time where we look at ourselves and see our perceived failures and look at what we don’t have rather than what we do have. It’s cold and dark outside, everyone is skint and on a diet and we can have an overwhelming need to nest and shut out the world. Trapped in our flat with a leftover selection box and that new box set that we have to get through. Try and right down something positive from each day and set yourself little goals that will increase your positivity and help you with your career. Treat each setback as a challenge and develop a bit of an”F you” attitude to keep you motivated, get what you want and prove people wrong.

  1. Be kind to yourself

Ultimately be kind to yourself, practice self-care, take breaks and remember you are only human. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t happen immediately or if you don’t get that job, keep on keeping on, and always have something to hear back from. Persistence and positivity are the key things here. Create good relationships, be a great person to work with and do your job well and you are half way there.

 

 

Ten things not to do in a job group assessment 


You’ve been selected for your dream job, you’ve sent that suit jacket to the dry cleaners, you’ve researched the company and you are fully confident, then you read the email again and the words “group assessment” fill you with dread. It’s all very well interviewing and not knowing who you are up against but to face your foes in an assessment centre feels like a corporate hunger games. So here are a few top tips as to what those assessors are looking for and how you can fight the competition (metaphorically speaking, violence is always a no no) and get ahead.

1. Take over

When faced with an assessment centre, there is always at least one person who feels like they are on an episode of the apprentice. Whilst it’s great to get your ideas across most employers don’t want someone who takes over, who dominates and who believes it’s their way or the high way. You may feel like you are being authoritative and assertive but if you are not giving anyone else the opportunity to speak then you just come across as controlling and out for yourself. Which ironically in an assessment centre you might think you need to be as you want the job but we are also looking for great team players. Think to yourself, am I behaving like someone I’d like to work with.

2. Be mean to your fellow interviewees

You want the job and you want to defeat the competition but remember this isn’t the Hunger Games meets America’s Next Top Model. If it was it would be much more entertaining for the assessors. You may be surrounded by people vying for one job and naturally there will be people that you instantly warm to and people that remind you of people that you don’t like, there will be others that perhaps you don’t even notice. Just check your behaviour, we say that bitchy side eye, that body language that turns your back on someone and the quick dismissal of someone’s ideas. Try and be nice and professional to all and try to be inclusive. Slyly putting someone down or making them look bad, you might think might make you look like your winning but really we will just think you are being mean. Who wants to work with mean people anyway eh?

3. Not say anything at all

You are filled with fear and everyone around you is so confident and good, so despite being selected you rule yourself out in your head. That Susan she’s going to get the job, she’s so loud and she’s worked on TV before they’ll love her. As those thoughts pace through your head, you dim your own shine to a point where you don’t say anything at all. Try and say something, trust your instincts and remember at this stage everyone is at a level playing field. Make notes of things you want to say if that makes it easier and find pauses in conversation to speak up.. even if you initially say, “I like what John just said” then that gets you going and gives you the confidence to go on.

4. Say too much

Nerves affect people in many different ways. If I’m nervous I tend to over talk or try to inject humour into a situation sometimes it’s appropriate sometimes it isn’t. Often when we are nervous we can just talk and talk and end up saying silly things or confuse what we are trying to say. So pause, be concise and remember it’s not a race to get everything about yourself out.

5. Name drop

I’ve seen this more frequently recently in assessments. People feel the need to say that their auntie works in TV or they know a certain celebrity or went to a certain school. It doesn’t always have to be a negative thing but ask yourself what is the relevance of this to the task at hand. You want to be seen as experienced and in the know but just because your auntie works in tv does that really mean you are the best person for the job? Or the fact that you went to school with Ellie Goulding might be great at a party but in an assessment centre if it’s not relevant then it just looks like showing off.

6. Not stick to the task

If you are asked to do a task read the questions and stick to the task. Don’t try and change the task to suit something that you know better. The assessors have asked you to do something for a reason and they will be assessing you on that. The more you divert from the task the more that it looks like you are not paying attention.

7. When you are supposed to be silent, chatting

This takes you back to school but when the assessor says work on your own in silence for the first ten minutes that is what they mean. They will ask you if you have any questions before this, so ask then. You might think it’s fine to chit chat with the person next to you but we can all see you and it’s not cool.

8. Ask questions to the assessors that aren’t relevant

It’s fine to ask questions about the assessment but make sure you’ve read all the information given to you. If the answer you want is right on the paper in front of you then it looks like you are not great at paying attention to detail. Also you might think it’s fine to ask questions that are personal to the assessors, I had one person mention that they’d seen me at a karaoke bar. Now I was probably slaying a Celine cover but that wasn’t that relevant to that day. People also panic about things that might happen if they are offered the job. Get through this stage first and then we can deal with that.

9. Make fun of the task

You might think the task is too short, not relevant, beneath you but don’t openly mock it. That’s really disrespectful. Don’t say “oh I felt like you would want more from me and I’m a bit disappointed”.. well love you’ll be more disappointed when you don’t get the job. Don’t giggle about it with the other candidates or say it’s shit (this has happened) as we generally can hear that.

10. Don’t be cliquey

You may bond with people more than others and you may know someone already there, but don’t forge allegiances at the expense of other people. Be inclusive not exclusive. You may meet a new friend or a new lover but keep your mind on the task at hand. You are looking to get a job not a tinder date (although if you are very lucky you might get both).

Surviving and thriving when a job goes wrong..


Sometimes you take on a job and it simply just doesn’t work out. That might be due to things you could control, it might be due to financial and other things way out of your control. Whatever the reasons, it can be devastating finding yourself unexpectedly looking for work and trying to pick yourself up to find a new job, often when you are feeling rubbish about yourself and your confidence is shattered. Most people, particularly in television have that gig they took that just didn’t work out, the key is being able to move forward and not let a bad experience define them. Easier said than done but here are a few tips to get you back on track.

Own it 

When faced with redundancy or a contract not being extended or simply the conversation of “is this the right job for you” can instantly cause panic and fear. That rug of stability is being pulled out from under you and the future seems very uncertain. At this time you can make rash decisions, act inappropriately or literally want to shout and scream. All of that is understandable but take a deep breath, hold your nerve and remember to ask the right questions and keep it about the work not about you as a person. Sometimes these decisions can not be about your work, but a commission falling through or a cost saving exercise but ask the questions as to why this is happening. Ask about the process if that’s appropriate and ask about next stages. If you are being made redundant, what is the timescale for this, what are you entitled too, can you get a glowing reference, on what criteria is the decision being made. Often in the shock of it all we forget to ask these questions. Take notes and make sure you have a comprehensive understanding about the process. 

If your boss gives you a list of things that you haven’t done then honestly look at yourself and ask “is that true”. If it’s not true ask if you can have a right to reply about these issues and if needs be include a union rep or additional person in the meeting. Try not to throw other people under the bus at this stage and maintain your dignity and if your boss throws in comments about your personality rather than your skills then you are well within your rights to question the relevance and focus on the questions of whether the tasks are done or not.  

Finances! 

If you are getting a redundancy payment then you may want to take a bit of time out to reflect and plan your next move. This if you can do it can be healthy and give you some perspective. Be careful though as if you have too much time on your hands then you can wallow and be consumed by what’s gone on and the security blanket of the redundancy payment can enable you to do that. It’s what works best for you. The danger often is to jump into something straight away because you need a job and will take any job. Now I know that can be unavoidable sometimes but keep asking yourself is this really what I want to be doing right now. This can be a great opportunity for you to look at what you really want to do, analyse your strengths and think about the types of roles and companies that will showcase your skills.

Was it the wrong job?

In those times of reflection ask yourself was it the wrong job? Sometimes it can be not about the job rather about the wrong team, the wrong company and just not right for you for where you currently are in your life. Acknowledging that is important and you will pick up these cues and red flags when interviewing for your next role. If you look at the type of company, boss and team then hopefully you will see a pattern of why that didn’t work. This can make decisions about your next job more rational and considered.

How do I market myself now 

Redundancy and jobs not working out are more common than you might think. It only becomes alarming to a recruiter if there is a pattern of this with each job. It’s fine to say in an interview I took redundancy as the company were downsizing, changing structure and I felt like it was the right time to move. It’s also fine to say actually that role wasn’t for me and what I’ve learnt is that my strengths lie in …. that is why I want this job at this company. Be careful not to bad mouth the previous company or employer and phrase things in a sense of what you want to do now rather than what you didn’t like about the previous role. Sometimes acknowledging the problem can be useful but you don’t want to undersell yourself leaving the interviewer thinking you are a bit rubbish. If your contract simply ended when it did and it wasn’t a great experience then don’t tell that to the new employer, talk about challenges and how you overcame them rather than how awful the role was. Every job is a learning experience. Sometimes new employers may know your previous bad bosses and they may try and well intentionally collude you to bad mouth them but don’t fall into that trap, keep it positive and professional. It can be a small world and people may know people you have worked with before.

If you feel you were unjustly treated go through the proper channels 

If you feel that you were unjustly treated then know your rights. Speak to a union or an independent legal or HR professional and follow that process accordingly. Fighting for unfair dismissal can be costly and take a long time but if you feel that is the right thing for you to do then do your research and know what’s involved. Make sure you have note, dates and preferably emails and details of why you feel this decision was unjust.

Keep it off social media 

If you feel the need to rant or rave and slag off the company or boss that did you wrong then go to the pub with a trusted friend, preferably someone who didn’t work at the company and rant to your hearts content. The worst thing you can do is play out a tale of revenge on social media.. people remember these things.. TV is also a small world and this can really hamper your chances of another job. What you are saying may be true but think as you should always do on social media about how you are coming across. 

Stop replaying scenarios of what if

This is the hardest thing, you think if only i had done this or that then I would still be in that job.. well the truth is you’ll never know if that is true. Take that what if attitude and switch it around to thoughts of what am I going to do differently in my next job. Also remember your new job won’t be the same as your old job. So take that as face value and don’t predict that your new boss and colleagues will behave in the same way. 

The best revenge is success 

Angry and hurt you will probably play Hollywood esque revenge scenarios on your old boss and company. As fun as this might be it’s counter productive to moving forward. Always remember the best revenge is success. It might be gratifying to throw a glass of wine Dynasty style at an old boss in a showdown in your head but  the best revenge is for you to be happy and successful.. enough time will pass where you just don’t care anymore. So learn from the past but don’t be defined by it. 

Ten things that will help you with your next interview


Ten things to help with your next interview

You get the call or email saying you’ve been invited to an interview and after the initial whoop yasss! A panic sets in.. You know that they think you are good enough to get an interview but how are you going to get through the interview? Your mind races between thinking this was a pity invite and they only invited you to make up the numbers to thinking you’re going to ace it and then berating yourself for being over confident.  So how do you channel those nerves in a positive way and how do you create the best impression.? Before you over analyse, grab a cup of tea, stick on your mindfulness app and breathe.. then after doing that for 5 minutes and scoffing a few rich tea biscuits the work can begin.

Plan your route

Know where you are going and get there early, nothing adds to nerves than a last minute dash and panic as you realise where you thought the office was isn’t actually where the office is. I remember years ago merrily walking in the direction of where I knew the office to me only realising I’d read google maps wrong and was miles away from where I should be. Panic set in and I arrived looking late looking flustered and all over the place.. which completely threw me off the interview and I didn’t get the job.. lesson learned. So plan your route, even do a recce and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Also think about when you are at your best if you are given an interview slot. I’ve had to dash from work at the end of the day to interview and my mind is consumed with the work that I am doing, so for me I much prefer an interview at the start of the day when I am fresh and it also gets the interview out of the way and I can carry on with my day. Nothing worse than having that dread that lasts throughout the day as you anticipate that 6pm interview. Sometimes these things can’t be helped but if you have a choice then pick when best suits you.

Do some research

Do as much research as you can about the company and the people that you are interviewing with. Don’t go overboard and arrive with a massive file full of end of year reports and every press cutting there has been since 1982 about the company. Also don’t overstalk on facebook, “You look like you had an amazing time at Glastonbury”, respect boundaries and know the companies output. Talk passionately about the programmes that they make and that’s half the battle. Enthusiasm is contagious and you might think you are being honest by telling us that you “ don’t really know anything about the company”, or “I haven’t had time to watch the programme” but to the interviewer it really looks like you can’t be bothered. Also still remember to answer the questions, you can be so proud of the fact that you’ve learnt all this stuff about the company that you forget to answer and simply regurgitate facts and statistics about the place.

Take your time

In an interview you can feel like it’s a race and you need to get everything that you want to say out as quickly as possible. Nerves can cause us to babble on and not focus or can alternatively cause us to clam up and struggle to get the words out. Remember it is not a race and it’s ok to take your time. You can feel that you are being judged if you don’t answer straight away but seriously those few seconds that may seem like hours to you, feel insignificant to the interviewer. It’s ok to ask them to repeat the question and to also seek clarification as well. If you feel the urge to panic and you miss a question ask them to repeat it, take a breath, sip on some water and then answer. A few seconds to compose yourself can make a real difference.

Remember it’s a two way thing

An interview is always a two way thing, it’s not just you being judged and sussed out but it is also an opportunity for you to suss out the company and see if it is the right company for you. Trust your gut instincts as sometimes the company isn’t the right company for you. This can be tricky when you are starting your career and you want to get that job but weigh it out and if it’s a short term role but not the right company think about where this opportunity could lead you. It’s a fine balance as you don’t want to appear as if you are interviewing the interviewers but it is fine for you to ask questions and find out more about the company.

Ask questions

Do have some prepared questions, ask people why they like to work there, questions about the culture and also what they expect from the person that they are hiring. You’ll find a lot about the company and the culture and the way people manage people and this will be effective when it comes to making an informed decision. It also helps to focus you in your interview preparation.

Have notes

If having short notes about what you’ve done or what you want to say makes you feel more comfortable then take them with you. Do ask at the start of the interview though if the panel are fine with you having your notes out. If they are not then you need to respect that decision, but generally most interviewers would be fine with this. Again don’t have folders full of notes just have short headlines on card for example that can help you come up with great answers and make you really think about the experience that you’ve got. Also don’t use them for the sake of using them, make sure your answers and your notes are relevant to the questions that are being asked.

Prepare some examples of your work

Sometimes candidates bring along examples of their work, whether that be programme ideas or films that you have worked on. This can be helpful sometimes when you can’t fully articulate what you’ve done. Some panels may not want to see these to ensure fairness with other candidates (who they’ve not asked to provide examples) but they will undoubtedly be impressed that you bought these along. Also what a better way to articulate what you’ve done.

Stop worrying about other candidates

Too often we think about things that we have no control over and I’ve seen this with lots of people, where there confidence can be drained by a perception of how good the other candidates are. In group assessments, candidates can chat and sometimes the most confident people or the people with the most experience can make you feel like a fraud to be there. You need to ignore that, people don’t invite people to interviews if they don’t think they are capable of doing the job. So always remember you are in the running, you stand a chance and you have as much right to be there as anyone else.. act like the boss that you know you one day will become… be quietly confident and know and make sure that you give it your best shot.

Don’t be influenced by other people

That friend that passively aggressively tells you it will be tough to get that job, your parents who believe you should be an accountant and the love of your life sows seeds of doubt about your ability to get the job.. those voices can play over and over again in your head. So much so that by the time you even arrive at the interview that you already firmly believe that you won’t get the job. Voices can crop up in the middle of the interview “listen to yourself, you don’t know what you are talking about” so when you hear those voices, politely or not that politely tell them to go away.. It’s all about you!

Remember to smile and be enthusiastic

Nerves can show on our face and our usual sunny dispositions can be transformed into a scowl without us even realising. When we are feeling stressed and nerves are getting to us, then just smile and try and be enthusiastic and polite. It is really simple but think if you were interviewing a person, how would you want them to behave and mirror that behaviour (as long as it’s positive)!

 

Remember everything is a learning curve some interviews may lead to jobs and some won’t the important thing is to keep on going.. eventually everything will fall into place!

 

Are you sabotaging your career?


Do you ever feel stuck in a rut? Do you look at how effortlessly people navigate the world of work and gain success? Do you scroll through Instagram looking at people’s successful lives, flat stomachs and stick on grins and feel envious or spiteful or just a little sad that this isn’t you.. We all have these moments and if people say they don’t they are lying behind a screen of bravado. This comparing ourselves to others can have an effect on how we perform in the work place. Are we living to our potential or are we living to a reality that we feel that we are suited to, have we just assigned ourselves to not really trying? The legendary RuPaul in his show “RuPaul’s Drag race” often talks about people’s “inner saboteur” where we have the philosophy and mind-set that we are going to fail and often that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So what are the signs that you are falling for your inner saboteur and you could be in fact sabotaging your own career?

We often either don’t see opportunities or we talk ourselves out of things that could be great opportunities for us. We don’t have time, I need to focus on my proper job rather than have notions of doing something else, besides what happens if I can’t do my own job because I’ve committed to that project. I will just stay where I am. Or we can sit at our desk and think, well if they thought I would be any good for that role then someone would have spoken to me and they haven’t, so they obviously think that I am not capable or ready for that next step. We justify our inaction in our head without really knowing the truth. We convince ourselves that our truth is the truth. We are all guilty of this at one time or another, we get so focused on the tasks at hand that we fail to see the benefits of grasping other opportunites. First of all, if you sit at your desk quietly waiting to be discovered then that generally will not happen. So start asking yourself “why shouldn’t I be able to do it” and if you feel that you are becoming invisible ask yourself, “ Have I made it clear to my boss, what I want to do, what I am capable of”. They too might be so wrapped up in work and thinking that you are quiet because you are happy in your role. Ask yourself “what would happen if I just did it, if I went for that promotion.. what would be the worst thing that could happen?” You might conjur up feelings of failure and ineptitude but how can you say that is the truth. Start by saying Yes and then focus on each task at hand rather than panicking about the whole job or a feeling of dread. Keep your eyes open for opportunities and grasp them.

In the work place we can be easily fooled by a confident persona, a beaming smile and someone who knows what they are talking about. That person may be brilliant or they could be feeling a fraud exactly like you. Either way you can’t control their success or failure but you can to a large degree control your own. We are always comparing ourselves to other people, making judgements in the office and preconceptions of how good people are at their jobs. Some of these things can be based on fact but they might also just be based on your own insecurities. They could also be a result of painful school memories or people you’ve known in the past who’ve been given the limelight so you project that onto the people in the office rather than projecting yourself into the limelight. I often hear people say to me, “I can’t go for this job as such and such is better qualified”, or “this should be Sue (random name)’s job as she has been here for a long time and deserves it. Well it’s dog eat dog sometimes and I am sure Sue is great but if you don’t put yourself in the ring then no one is going to see you. I have been in situations in the past where I’ve gone for jobs that I think I could do and do well only to be told by colleagues that “that should be such and such’s job and you shouldn’t be going for that”. What is happening here is either them projecting their reasons for not going for the role or some weird misplaced loyalty towards their colleague. Respond professionally and with dignity at all times but don’t let other people’s insecurities stop you from trying.

One of the biggest ways we can sabotage ourselves in the work place is not asking for help. We take on more and more work as we want to impress and please but can’t say no and end up drowning in a sea of work and end up not pleasing anyone. We want to look confident and know what we are doing so we don’t ask for help and think we can figure out what’s asked and then just get into an absolute panic and through stubbornness make the whole thing much more complicated. Ask for help, ask for clarity and make sure you know what you are doing. Manage your time well, don’t mess around and leave yourself with loads to do. Ask your boss what you should prioritise, make them aware of your work load. There is a fine line between this and being a needy child though so make decisions but if it’s all getting too much , then do let someone know.

The feeling of not being good enough can resinate and resurface at various times in our lives, or be just a dull aching constant that stops us from creeping out of our comfort zone. I won’t do that as I won’t be good enough. I’m a bit rubbish really, or that idea it’s alright I guess but I am sure people had much better ones. I interview a lot of people and sometimes the most brilliant and talented people can tell me that they were shocked at being interviewed, can downplay their experience or as someone did recently say “everyone here is much better than me”.  All of that is not true, you are capable and you are talented, it is about coming to that realisation yourself. Some people work with gratitude, writing things that they are proud of each day. Some people like to take a more factual approach and look at achievements as things rather than directly connected to you. That sounds weird but if you looked at your CV as if it was someone else’s I am sure that you would rave about all the exciting things that they had done. People don’t want to boast and brag but talk about what you have done and what you want to do as projects rather than reflections of your ego. It’s not arrogant to talk about what you’ve done and it’s not arrogant to reflect what you want to do. Start thinking “why not me…” someone’s going to get that job someone’s going to write that play.. why can’t that be you.. Sometimes are biggest critics are ourselves and we need to be kinder to ourselves.. if you were saying the things you say to yourself about someone else you would be shocked by the cruel way you spoke so learn to be nice to you.. Take it as a day by day process.

I see common mistakes with people starting out their careers and I want to scream “No you are making life difficult for yourself!”, but sometimes people need to learn lessons for themselves. In TV you can’t be 9 to 5 and there will be shoots, and weekend work and other requirements that will be expected of you. If you are rigid and clock watching then ultimately you are limiting future options for yourself. If you are on a shoot and everyone is running around busy and you are on your phone lolling at twitter or swiping right on tinder, then you are not going to be hired again. If you roll your eyes at your boss and furiously whatsapp your colleagues about how mean they are, well they will probably find out and not re hire you. So just behave professionally, when you want to scream obscenaties then bite your tongue and just remember that old adage of treat people how you want to be treated.

So when you see yourself doing these things, take a breath, stop and tell yourself “what are you doing.. this isn’t right.. I am more than capable” and you will be surprised by how easily success comes to you.

Ten things not to do on an application form 


The idea of filling in an application form can fill you with dread.. how do you sell your skills and secure that interview with only 200 words per question? What can you do to stand out? How do you make yourself interesting? What are the company really looking for? You can send yourself into a whirl of panic and anxiety by over thinking the form. Often at this stage of dread, we talk ourselves out of this and say “Oh i would never have got it anyway” or the old faithful “there are going to be people with much more experience”. You grab a cup of tea and a bourbon biscuit and feel secure that you wouldn’t have got the job anyway. When you feel that way.. ask yourself what if i do get the job and apply for it anyway. I’ve seen thousands of applications over the years and here are some of my thoughts and tips about what not to do.

Use fancy verbose language that doesn’t make sense

Often we think we sound smarter and more professional if we use long words and business language. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but does what you are saying actually make any sense? People throw adjectives into a sentence without really giving them any context.. its great that you have business acumen and are proactive in managing complex scenarios related to precarious negotiations but what are you trying to say? You may want to appear intelligent but actually writing in plain English makes life so much easier. You need to think that someone has to read this and you need to be able to explain things clearly. We want to hear about what you’ve done and how you’ve done it rather than your theoretical strategic ideas. You may sound fancy and intelligent but also you might just be talking nonsense. Don’t fill your application with a series of big words that have no context.

Bad mouth the company

This sounds like super obvious who would slag off their previous company or the company that they are applying to in a job application? You would however be surprised. I know that you might want to just be honest and explain how much you hate your current job and everything in your life led you to working in TV, that’s fine but all i read is how much you hate your job. It can sound a little brattish and a little ungrateful. We’ve all done jobs that are not what we ultimately want to do but what have you learnt from them, what skills have you developed, what is transferable from that particular job.

You almost might think you are being ironic and clever by criticising the company that you are applying for but ask yourself, have they asked for your critique. On a recent application i saw someone wrote “I don’t watch your channel and i would love to come in and explain to you in an interview as to why i don’t”. Challenging, perhaps controversial maybe, but also why are you planning to work on a channel you don’t like. It just looks arrogant and rude. A little bit of humility goes a long way sometimes.

Not bothering to spell check 

This is one of my personal favourites when people talk about their great attention to detail and then half of their words are spelt wrong. We can all be guilty of this but double and triple check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. It just looks lazy and sloppy when you don’t. A lot of people in TV are pedantic about this so don’t give them reason to judge you. Also don’t use slang as well as that really doesn’t go down well.

Writing too little

This is very common and something that i presume people just panic about and don’t write very much so as to just got the application done and sent. Take your time with the application and if it says you have 200 words then use that. Someone recently when asked to suggest a programme idea on an application form wrote “n/a”.. i mean b***h please.. you are just shooting yourself in the foot with that.  Some people write short glib answers to questions, saying things like ” i think i have the necessary skills for the role”.. Great i am sure you do, but i am asking for examples, i want to know what you’ve done.. please sell yourself! I often find myself screaming that in the computer.. well screaming that inside my head so i don’t disturb my colleagues. We will be assessing you on your answers so if there is nothing there then we can’t really, it’s as simple as that.

Writing too much that doesn’t make sense

Sometimes we fill the space with a whole lot of words desperately trying to pad out the prose so you reach the 200 words. Try and be succinct though rather than saying something with a multitude of unnecessary words. This can also be confusing to the reader as they have to search through to find out what you are really trying to say. Sometimes you have to re-read and are no clearer as to what you really mean.

Not answering the questions

We can be so desperate to sell our ability, demonstrate our skills and try and be liked that we avoid the question being asked. We have a script in our head about what we want to say and sometimes we just say it rather than answering the question. The reader is looking for a direct answer to the question and they will be assessing you on that basis. It makes it difficult for them to assess you positively if you haven’t answered the question. Sometimes people like to list achievements or talk about the type of person they are in this situations. It’s great that you are “hard working”, “personable”, can speak to “people at all levels” (how noble of you) but that is not telling me what you’ve done or answering the question. So write your answer, re-read it and re-read it again. Until it makes perfect sense.

Over selling yourself 

It’s great to be confident and to know yourself and you can be so eager and ambitious to climb up the ladder of success. There is nothing wrong with that but right now you are not a Series Producer, you are not a TV expert and you are not “only looking for researcher roles”. Be a bit humble and talk about what you’ve done and what you want to do but be mindful that you still have lots to learn. You are applying for a traineeship, an apprenticeship, be open to learning and developing. People aren’t expecting the finished product. Also don’t over exagerate or use your TV experience to say things that you haven’t done or to see you worked as an Assistant Producer when you were really a runner. People see through that. It is also a small world and i’ve interviewed with many people who’ve said things like “she never did that on that programme” or “that wasn’t his idea that was mine”. So be proud, be truthful but be careful not to spiral into a sea of over exageration and falsehood.

Underselling yourself

I’ve often talked to and interviewed people who have been so unaware of their achievements and all the great things that they have done. They are over apologetic and wrapped in false modesty. It is only after talking that someone let’s slip out “oh i made a film”, or ” I won an award”. I’m generally like “Oh my God that’s amazing!” You need to shout about that, people need to know. I’m then confronted with, “I don’t want to sound boastful”. I get that, i really do, but if you keep all your achievements to yourself how are you going to sell yourself and get that job? This might be weird but imagine that you are talking about someone else and be really factual about what you’ve done. You’d happily sing the praises of a best mate or sibling so treat yourself in that way too. It’s really frustrating when you find out later what someone has done and they haven’t put it on the form.

No contact details or not responding to contact details

This is a real pain in the neck. You want to invite someone to an interview and there are no contact details (yes that happens). You have no choice but to not invite them and that feels such a waste. Also if you put an email on your form then please respond to that email. I’ve contacted people recently for assessment centres where i have clearly asked them to get back to me and i have had to chase two or three times to get an answer.. now that’s just rude. I’ve also emailed people and had no response. Just say if you can’t make it or you’ve got another job or you aren’t interested anymore. Particularly as then we can invite someone else to take your place. It really is selfish not to do that. I am aware as well that sometimes emails can go into people’s junk folders so regularly check them. If you’ve applied for a job then check your email and respond quickly.. it really looks like you can’t be arsed if someone has to chase you up.

Not be available to start work when stated.

Often for schemes and apprenticeships it will clearly say that you need to be able to start on a specific day. It’s really frustrating when people can’t. I sometimes here after a big long process “can i defer for a year as i want to go travelling” Well didn’t you think about that before you went through the whole process. Or people booking holidays when they are due to start, i know some things can’t be helped but if you want a job and know when it starts then do try and start then!

 

Ten things not to do on your CV


January always comes around like a wake up call, like an alarm going off or a slap across the face.. you put down that tub of quality street (I mean you’ve eaten all the good ones), sign up for pilates, pick up that clean eating quinoa obsessed cook book that’s remained unopened on your book shelf for most of the year and you start to think, “I need a new job!” You look at your old CV which has not been updated for a while and start to update it and then a sense of dread descends as no matter how you word things, it always sounds a bit naff, a bit disingenuous and a bit show offy..  Having seen 1000s and 1000s of CVs over the years, here are few things that frustrate me and other employers and could be stopping you from getting interviews.

  1. No contact details or incorrect details

This seems blatantly obvious but you’d be surprised how in the rush of sending a CV off people can mistype emails or forget to put on a phone number. Ordinarily if a CV is being emailed to you, it doesn’t really matter as you can simply reply, but if you are applying online through an automated application process then that information can get lost. People also like a phone number on the CV so that they can contact you and chat to you quickly. There have been a number of times when I’ve tried to get in touch with people to offer work or invite in for an interview and I just haven’t been able to get hold of them.. so make sure that the your contact details are correct and up to date, I don’t want to be calling and leaving messages for a random person thinking that it’s you. If you have multiple email addresses use that one that feels most business like, generally your name and initials work. Although I did love emails like slagsgotswag and hornytiger (actual starts of people’s email addresses), think about what your email address says about you and the impression that you are creating.. you may have loved Care Bears and One Direction at one stage  but keep them out of your email address.

  1. Not enough info

This is where I need to get all Poirot and Sherlock Holmes and come to my own conclusions about what you did and what your role was in that job. This does you a disservice. Yeah you can put the word runner and no further explanation  and most runner roles are relatively similar but when you put no detail I will presume you did some filing and made coffee and won’t know about what you actually did. I am not suggesting that you go into heaps of prose about your daily routine but talk about your achievements and the level of responsibility that you had. If you think that you are ready for the next level then you need to demonstrate that with the work that you have been doing and that needs to be clear on your CV.  Employers can presume but by doing that they can jump to the wrong conclusions or simply put you to the bottom of the pile because what they are looking for is not jumping out from your CV. I often talk to people trying to break into the industry and as our conversation flows, I find out about films that they’ve made or skills that they have that aren’t on their CV, things that would get them an interview. So make a list of your achievements, the things that you are proud of and think about how relevant they will be to getting your next job and if you think they are relevant then get them on your CV.

  1. Too much info

The opposite of not enough information is far too much information. A CV should really be no longer than two pages and when it stretches to five you know you have problems. You need to edit the information, ask yourself in the back of your head “so what” to each sentence until you get a finally honed concise sentence that really sells what you are trying to say about yourself. Remember that the person looking at your CV is generally a busy person who will have a list of things that they want from this hire, if they have to dissect through reams of prose about your dissertation to find out what they are looking for then the likelihood is they won’t be bothered with you. Keep it relevant and keep it focused to what they are looking for and ask yourself does this CV best reflect me??

  1. Stats and graphs and ratings

This is a relatively recent phenomena and to be fair it does make your CV eye catching but what purpose does it really serve? If you are rating your skills in terms of out of 5 stars, or a graph or a chart, what are you trying to tell me? If you give yourself 3 stars for attention to detail then I will come to the conclusion that that really is not something that you are good at. Alternatively if you are 5 stars in everything – whoopee 5 stars in communication then I will go into the interview trying to discredit that.. By simply having a list of words or skills and your subjective rating of how good you are at them, doesn’t really tell me much other than your perception of yourself. You may be being honest when you say that you’re a 2 star communicator and even if everything else is 5 stars I will only remember the 2 star. You are drawing attention to things you are not good at and that’s all the reader remembers so stay clear of these things.

  1. Having No References

The world of television moves quick and fast and often you see someone one day to start a job the next day. The world is also relatively small and insular and lots of people will have worked together before. Often you can be faced with two options and you take up references, if the references are there and easy to hand then that makes things easier. Also as people have invariably worked together before, managers may like to ring your references and check out what they have to say about you. Now they can easily ask you for the references but sometimes it makes life much quicker and easier and creates a rapport if they are already there on your CV. Do make sure that the people that you have as references know that they are your referee and are happy to give a positive reference. I’ve contacted references in the past who have no recollection of working with the person or that person just worked there for a day, or alternatively they did such a bad job that the referee couldn’t possibly give them a good reference. So make sure that’s all sorted and you’ve got the best referees you could possibly have before putting them on your CV.

 6.Using unnecessary business language

How do I make myself sound intelligent and ready for the cut and thrust of the business world.. well I will use some big words and put them in a sentence that grammatically and logically doesn’t make any sense. Why say something plainly when you can jazz it up with words that no one in everyday life really says. Now I am being sarcastic but I feel that this is the thought process that some people go through when writing their CVs. Especially in the opening paragraph when you are trying to sell yourself but just throw together a series of big words which effectively tells me you are great with people and like to organise things. Big words might impress some people but ask yourself, “does this sentence make any sense”? Often people use these words to impress or convey a superiority, some people are impressed with that but more likely people will think you sound pretentious. Also stay clear of phrases like “I can communicate with people at all levels”, bully for you, it sounds patronising and slightly grandiose (I’m using fancy words now).

  1. Trying to be funny

Now we all love to laugh and be funny and irreverent, I know I most certainly do, but humour can often be so subjective and can often not easily translate when written on a page. You may be a crazy hilarious bantz merchant and have your friends in stitches at your wit, but when you try to relay this on your CV you can often look like a bit of an idiot. Sometimes it can work and can work well but often you look like you are trying too hard or not taking things seriously. Funny anecdotes about the places you have worked or learning experiences written in a bantering tone can be engaging but also can take away from the hard work you’ve done and your achievements.

  1. Glamour shots

We’ve all learnt a lot from America’s Next Top Model, we’ve perfected our walk, we know how to smize and have mastered the subtle but effective differences between catalogue, commercial and couture and that’s great, really great for Instagram and great if you want to be a model or an actor but not necessary for your CV. It’s a very European thing to have a photo on your CV and it can make the reader remember the individual but it is unnecessary. I’ve been sent CVs for runners and researchers accompanied by beach shots, toasting a glass of champagne or leaning provocatively against a tree as if you are in Harpers Bazaar all rather lovely but unnecessary. Your work and your experience should get you the job not the way that you look. If you insist on having a photo on there a simple head shot is all you need, but be mindful people judge photos so best not to have one on their at all.

  1. Gimmicks

This can work exceptionally well in many industries and can even work well in the TV industry but it’s about knowing your audience and doing something that stands out but for all the right reasons. Having an origami CV in the shape of a swan might be beautiful but can you read clearly the CV and your experience or do you need to spend half an hour delicately unfolding it all? . I know of someone who sent their CV on an actual front door for an entry level job which was actually pretty genius but not for the guy in the post room who had to cart it to the third floor.. or the talent manager who was left with a front door that they didn’t really need. It tends to work well though when a CV is attached to cakes or biscuits.. who doesn’t love that eh.. well maybe not in January when everyone is detoxing but that is one gimmicking thing that people love.. I’m not against gimmicks and done well they can really make you stand out but ask yourself honestly if I were to receive this would this annoy me or I would I love it..

  1. Upscaling your experience

We all want to be seen as important and we all think about where we should be in our careers and exaggerate a little on the CV. Most of the time that is fine but be very careful about this as you can easily get found out. Oh you were a researcher on that show, oh why were you credited as a runner? You were instrumental in developing that idea, funny that someone I interviewed last week said the same thing. Oh you were on that show for 3 months, strange that the Production Manager thinks that you were there for a week. I totally get that you want to get the job and that you want to be seen in the best light but just be careful that your selling yourself doesn’t turn into lies.