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How to Utilize Continuing Online Education on Your Resume

Jack asked a question while we were editing his resume:

Is it worth putting any online education that is related to production. We get to take a number of Lynda.com tutorials here for lighting, editing, etc.

Nope.

Credentials Don’t Matter

You don’t have to have a film degree to get into the film business. Getting some sort of degree is useful, insofar as it’s a signal that you know how to work hard and stick to something long term. (Although, some kinds of degrees may count against you.)

That being said, we’re not doctors or engineers. No one checks your credentials. What they really want to know is if you have experience. Completing a cinematography course doesn’t mean much, except for adding some cool shots to your reel.

Negative Perception

Remember what I said about a higher education degree demonstrating a certain amount of grit and determination? A Lynda course is the exact opposite of that. The whole point is that these classes are easy and cheap to take.

As far as I know, no great editor has learned their craft from an online course. They learned it by starting as a post PA, then getting promoted to an assistant editor, where they learned at the feet of an experienced professional.

Which is not to say these courses are useless. I’ve learned a ton from online tutorials. Anytime I run into a speedbump with Premiere or After Effects, YouTube is the first place I look. Video tutorials are almost always easier to understand than the manual or official FAQ.

By all means, take online courses if you think they’ll help. (Especially free ones, which I believe Lynda is for enrolled college students). Just don’t put it on your resume.

Is It Relevant?

The above doesn’t really apply to IRL courses. I don’t think a UCLA Extension course in screenwriting counts for much, but if you took a special training course through 728 or 600, that can definitely help you later in your career as an SLT or camera assistant.

But almost none of it applies to being a PA. An office PA doesn’t need to know the specs of the latest RED camera, or how to mix special effects blood. So be wary of appearing overqualified. Too many certifications makes it look like you’d rather do anything but be a PA.

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