A Random Collection of Resume Tips

After helping over a hundred people with my resume service, I’ve noticed certain mistakes seem to crop up repeatedly. So, here’s some tips in no particular order:

  • Don’t include “social media proficiency” or something like that under your “skills.” Old people read that as “spends all day on Facebook.” Or possibly Myspace. Because, you know, they’re old.
  • If you have absolutely no professional experience, then it’s okay to include your student films. But don’t only include things where you were the director or producer; you look like a jackass. Include below-the-line positions, too, like grip or even PA. That way, you look like you’re willing to start at the bottom. As soon as you start working in the real world, move these items down on the list, or off altogether.
  • Make sure the name on your email address matches the name on your resume.
  • Don’t use your university’s email. A .edu address makes you look like you’re still in school.
  • A production office is not an office at a production company. A “PA” is not a personal assistant. Make sure your resume accurately reflects the jobs you’ve done.
  • References go in your cover letter, not your resume.

And, once you get the job, here’s a bonus tip from reader Eric:

I found that a wine case with dividers held coffee cups perfectly, even letting me double stack cups.

Man, an office where they buy you coffee and wine? That sounds awesome.

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9 Responses

  1. Just so it’s not misleading, I also throw in a (Temp.) note by that job. A lot of coordinators know other coordinators and actually do call about references, so you don’t want it to bite you when they realize you only worked that gig for a day, but you appear to be passing it off as full-time/long-term.

    1. You worked there. Put it on your resume. Put it lower than the longer-term gigs, though.

  2. I guess references is where the line splits between on set PAs and office PAs.

    For those looking to be on set: list the movies/shows/whatever you’ve done but it needs to include the Director, the 1st AD, the 2nd AD and the 2nd 2nd AD. Don’t bother with descriptions (we all know what PAs do). The resume is all about, “Who do you know?”

    1. And I’d still include the movies you’ve done even if you’re an office PA, the difference being you’ll want to have your past coordinators or assistant coordinators as your references.

  3. For personal assistant gigs I usually put “Social Media” under skills because I’ve had a couple interview/emails asking if could help out with “the twitter”lol

  4. I’ll second the notion that you don’t want a conflicting resume. I’ve spoken to a handful of coordinators who have all said the same thing, they don’t want to see that you’re a director when you’re interviewing to PA. They’ll have concerns about your willingness to do anything and everything (as PA’s must), no matter what you tell them in the interview.

    So if you’re going to list any past projects, try to tailor them to the job you’re applying for. I have two resumes presently, one for working in production below the line and one for freelance producing opportunities.

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