Getting your CV right is vital to your success in your chosen career. The more specific and tailored you make your CV for each job role the better you chances are. Portfolios/showreels/demoreels are also key in getting yourself noticed.
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Tailoring your CV
Since much of the entry routes are via assisting positions make sure your CV highlights how you can be of use.
Software skills are well-sought after and Ravensbourne graduates have access to so much of the software that you can make a point of this and list your technical skills as well as hardware skills.
The best CVs are always the ones that are targeted at a specific company or photographer and that clearly demonstrate your skills and knowledge. If you are not stiff and dull, don't write a stiff and dull CV. Be enthusiastic about your craft and clear of your offer.
Photography CVs tend to be brief (1 page) and should include the usual CV headings such as profile, education, experience, references. It must be it concise. The aim is for the reader to understand what your speciality is (e.g portrait or fashion photography) as well as your future goals and ambitions (e.g looking for assisting position). Be upbeat but do not oversell yourself- it just sounds arrogant.
List any exhibitions that include your work, or places and venues where your photography has been on show.
- List any publications your work has been in, including the date. If your work online, provide the link.
- If you have less experience, highlight a couple of jobs that show your organising or creative skills.
- Mention any awards or honours your photography has received.
- Driving licence is also good to include.
If you are just starting out with little experience you may like to just highlight a few projects you are proud of to entice employers to look at your website.
Do not rely on spell check alone
Good grammar and spelling is important. Spell check can autocorrect “Ravensbourne” or change ‘form’ into “from’ so do take the time to proofread your CV thoroughly. Get someone else to help if necessary.
Check your CV file size and attachments
Save your CV as your name - company sent to (don't forget to edit the company every time) and a title, e.g. 'John.Smith.Canon.CV' then save as a PDF and check it opens on PCs and Macs.
Develop a business card
When you are designing your CV apply the same branding to your business cards, keep it professional and well-designed.
Photography CV example
Covering email/phone call
Keep the covering email short, these 3 points are usually enough:
- Why them? e.g I saw your work at / I like the way you …
- Why you? Not that you need to learn from them, but what you can do for them- do you use similar equipment/ have an interest in this type of work- tease them to look at your CV by mentioning something specific.
- What you’d like - e.g a meeting/ feedback on your work or perhaps its just an offer to help.
Photographers all want to know that their work is appreciated so always start by telling them what you like about their work. Then ask if you can show them your portfolio. Tempt them with something memorable in advance to get them excited about seeing you as viewing work takes up their time. If you are looking for a placement/ assisting work mention this as well as a possible outcome of the meeting.
Portfolio meetings can open up new opportunities but if you are just sending a straight speculative CV and enquiry letter, apply the same principles - enthusiasm for their work and a clear message on what you can do is what is needed. Freelance photographers will gain much of their work in this manner.
Ensure you have a named person to contact (“Dear Sir/Madam” is not acceptable) and a targeted CV and portfolio if you are taking this approach. Be upbeat in your correspondence but not too pushy. Finish off the email thanking them for taking the time to read it. Then make a note to follow it up again in a month or so, sometimes it is just a case of timing, so don't be frightened to follow up in a gentle and friendly way.
Develop a professional Linkedin profile and join Linkedin groups relevant to you. By reading the group posts and taking part in discussions you will learn a lot about what people are talking about in the industry. Not all of it will be relevant to you but all that you read will expand your knowledge of the industry. Often people advertise that they need people for job roles or freelance work within the groups.
If in doubt which groups just check the profile of well-established photographers to see which groups they are in.
Do keep going
It takes persistence so review your strategy regularly. If your applications are not working, seek feedback on your approach. We don't all get it right first time.
The Careers and Industry Liaison team can help with this and you can visit other courses Insights pages for more advice.