Memo To Anyone Sending in Your Resume

If you’re sending in your resume, please keep the following in mind:

  • Your resume does not need to be six pages long. Steven Spielberg’s is not that long. I used to work for an agency that represented Oscar and Emmy winners, and no one’s resume was more than a page. If you just graduated from film school, trust me, you can condense your resume.
  • Nobody cares that you worked at Victoria’s Secret in high school.
  • “Follows directions” is not a skill. It’s an assumed character trait of anyone applying for a job.

“Do you follow directions?”
“Great, you have the job! Just sign right here.”

  • If you’re applying to be a PA, don’t tell us you were a DP on some project we’ve never heard of. We know it’s a student film, and no, it doesn’t count.
  • No, your spec screenplays don’t count, either.
  • We know what a PA does. You don’t have to describe script distro as “supervising the flow of confidential paperwork / client information.” Here’s all the information we need: Position, Show Title, Production Company. Anything else is just padding.
  • While we’re on the subject of brevity, your cover letter should not be so long that it starts, “Call me Ishmael.” Half a page is all you need.

“Hi, my name is _________. I heard you were hiring PAs. I have _____ years of experience in TV/film/whatever. I’m sure I could be an asset to your show. I look forward to hearing from you. Best, _______.”

  • Please do write a cover letter. If you send in a resume by itself, you look like a presumptive jerk. “My resume is so awesome, I don’t even have to tell you I’d like a job. You want to hire me.”
  • There is no “hiring manager” or “human resources department” on a show. Find out the coordinator’s name, and address your letter properly.

Quit killing trees!

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39 Responses

  1. Hello Anonymous Production Assistant,

    pretty cool blog. Glad I discovered it. Question, I’m currently a sophomore in college pursuing a film degree, and also looking for PA work in the Atlanta area. Thanks to the new tax, a ton of major productions are shot here in Georgia, which you probably already know. Noting that, I currently have one PA job with an indie film on my resume, and I’m still in school. What would some chuck, like me, do to their resume?

    *lost kid*

  2. What would be the best way to reach out to a coordinator? Send them an email or call and ask if they are looking for PA’s?

    1. Both are worth a shot, but neither are likely to work. The best way to contact a coordinator is through someone you both know, or by meeting them in the real world.

  3. When sending out resume and cover letter via email, what’s the protocol on what you put in the email? I feel like everything you write in the email is already explained in the cover letter?

  4. Hi,
    In the last couple years I left PAing to post supervise a large remastering project. I did it because it was an opportunity to learn a lot and have a ton of responsibility really quickly. However, my bosses know very little about the production world: I worry that this reflects badly on me. For example, my formal job title is “producer”. Do I put that on my resume, or “post supervisor”? Is it bad form to use a title that I feel overstates my responsibilities? I think in the normal production world they would be considered the producers, not me.

  5. When a big production comes to my area (Atlanta) I know they probably get lots of cover letters and resumes. Is it a good idea or a bad idea to send multiple emails to make sure my email gets seen?

    1. No. Chances are, they read it. If it’s good and you’re lucky, they’ll look at your resume for more than 3 seconds. Sending multiple inquiries only comes off as overbearing, inexperienced, or desperate.

  6. How do you find the coordinator’s name? I have been looking everywhere at multiple companies and I can’t find the names of ANYONE that I would send my cover letter to. HELP!

    1. Try searching the company you want to apply to on LinkedIn.
      Most companies will list their employees on their website, though.

      1. Yes! Before I decided to focus solely on finding jobs in film and tv, I tried this approach back in uni looking for internships where I could gain experience working in events, which was my major then ( event and entertainment management). When my Ocean Drive internship opportunity fell through ( I booked this interview through a family friend btw) , I found another magazine online, searched for employees on linkedin, found the marketing directors name and his twitter, then tweeted him. It took me a few more steps from there to finally get the interview which turned into my first internship, but it all started with linkedin.

  7. Thank you so much for this blog and this post.

    I’m a staff PA at a production company out in NYC and I get to put on the “hire an intern” hat. I once had a ten page resume. The applicant had no real experience, but they were in the jazz choir, home ec club, drama club, chess club, and enjoyed yoga. Needless to say, they weren’t hired.

  8. I’m just starting to put together a resume for future jobs – I have two independent films under my belt – and for the examples I find, they have a portfolio section. What goes into a PA’s portfolio? Production photos of them?

    1. NO! You should never use photos of yourself on a resume. It’s just asking for a discrimination lawsuit. I’ve also never heard of a PA portfolio and not sure how it would even be needed for the job, unlike, say a D.P.

  9. You know, I haven’t had a job outside the film industry since high school. I’m very insulated.

    1. I would like to inquire more on this subject matter. Particularly pertaining to how education is perceived on Resumes? Many people I’ve talked to have different opinions on this, and It’s part of my Resume I have been grappling with for a while now.

      Even an education is not perceived as helpful, why would it be harmful?

      Thank You for your time.

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