How To Pad Your Resume…

…without actually lying.

Chris writes:

I was what you might call a “day player” on a game show a few days ago. Is this experience worth mentioning in a résumé and cover letter, or is it better left unsaid — perhaps even reserved for an interview?

First, don’t accent the accented é’s in “resume.” We’re in America, not France.

On to your actual question– yes, include it. Every bit of experience helps. And don’t list yourself as “day player.” Just write “PA.” That’s what you were. No one ever said for how long. 1

You can exploit this idea even further. Suppose you’ve been working at a studio or production company, but want to move into actual production. How do you do that, when many coordinators don’t consider that production office experience?

Well, that production company actually produced something, right? And you worked in an office, right? Assisting the production in some way? Combine these words in a creative way, and boom! Suddenly, you were an Office Production Assistant on such-and-such movie.

Now, working in an production office and working in a studio aren’t exactly the same thing, so you might think this falls under the category of “lying.”2

Whatever you decide to include (or not include), don’t contradict your resume in your interview. I’ve left shows off my resume because of bad relationships with my former bosses; I don’t then mention those shows in the interview. By the same token, if you list a movie or series on your resume, don’t tell your interviewer that you really just worked at the studio while the movie was being made. If you’re going to lie, stick with it.

Lastly, don’t ever lie on your resume if it’s not something you can back up. Don’t claim you’re a film loader, if you’re not sure which side the emulsion is on.3 But as I’ve said before and I’ll say again: a monkey can do my job. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know how to answer the phone, make sides, drive around town, all that stuff. You can be a PA.

A little lie to get started in your career is far from the worst thing someone has done in this town.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. You’re not including the dates you worked, are you?
  2. It totally does.
  3. If you don’t know what emulsion is, then definitely don’t do that.
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