Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting hired to the art department - cover letter and resume

Ok, you found the job and found the contact info, awesome!

Now what?

Write up a cover letter, dust off your resume, and rearrange your website/portfolio. You should always customize what your sending based on the job you are aiming to get. I personally hate doing all of these things. I get super nervous every step of the way, but if I- in my anxious condition- can successfully do it, you most certainly can.

In the cover letter you get the chance to introduce yourself to your potential new boss. Keep it short and to the point and use the job posting to format your introduction.  Here is an example I found on where I substituted a few things as if I were applying to be an art PA on a big budget film. Make sure to use examples from your past experiences to flesh out the middle of the paragraph. 

In the context of the often casual film world this may seem a little formal, but it will show your respect for the project and the person taking the time to look at your resume.

"Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
The description you posted for an art department PA parallels my interests and qualifications perfectly.
With my background in art and film, I am confident that I would make a very successful and creative production assistant. Having worked on multiple ULB SAG independent films I have been exposed to a number of aspects of the film world and how to creatively deal with the challenges it often presents. My experience as a production designer and artistic director on pervious films demonstrates my capability of working with others through the creative process of production while meeting the challenges presented to me. 
I have attached a copy of my resume to this email and invite you to view my imdv page (link) and website for examples of my work (link to website here.) I would appreciate the opportunity to make a substantial contribution by exploring the process of such an exciting project through your production. I welcome the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss my candidacy and will call next week to see if we might arrange a time to speak. Thank you for your time and consideration.
FirstName LastName"

Here's a few key points: taken straight from job for your viewing pleasure

1st Paragraph

Introduce yourself and name the position for which you are applying and how you learned of the opening or organization. If an individual made you aware of the opening, be sure to use their name and affiliation. Example: “Dr. Jane Kwan at CSULB suggested I forward my resume in response to your posting for a Research Assistant.”
2nd Paragraph
  • Tell why you are interested in the organization or position.
  • Discuss qualifications that would be of greatest interest to the employer, using positive statements about skills and abilities.
  • Indicate any related experience, educational background, or specialized training that might increase your employability.
3rd Paragraph
  • Reiterate your interest.
  • Refer the reader to your enclosed resume.
  • Close by making a request for an interview and provide your phone number and email address, or indicate when you will follow up.
Tips for a Professional Cover Letter
  • One page, 8½“ x 11” document size
  • If printed for traditional mail, use white or off white stationery paper
  • Use a standard business letter layout or use the same banner that you have created for your resume.
  • Your cover letter should be in the same font as your resume, ranging from 11 to 12 point in such type as Arial, Courier, Helvetica, or Times.
  • Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. Sometimes you will need to contact the employer’s offices to determine the name of the person to whom the letter should be addressed.
  • Give care and attention to spelling and grammar, including the spelling of names.
  • If the employer has given explicit instructions for how to submit your cover letter and resume, follow them.
  • Every contact you have with the employer, including your cover letter, serves as material for their evaluation of you as a candidate. This is your one chance to make a great first impression!


  • Purpose of resume is to obtain an interview
  • Use a font style and size that are easy to read; 10pt – 12pt
  • Keep resume to one page, if possible
  • State an objective to clearly articulate the type of position for which you are applying
  • Target your information to the job objective
  • Under the Education and Experience sections list most recent information first
  • Highlight accomplishments
  • Organize information in a logical manner
  • Pay careful attention to spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style
  • Proofread carefully. Do not rely on “spell check.” Use a dictionary. Ask others to proofread it for you.
  • Should be neat in appearance; center on page
  • Keep information honest, clear, and concise
  • Print on good quality white or off-white paper
  • When sending electronically save as PDF
  • Remember to add your IMBD link on your resume

Here is a link to how to format a film resume: 

And here are a few more sample resumes:


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  2. I cannot even begin to tell you how helpful this post has been to me...albeit 3 years old now!. i like you am extremely anxious but this has really helped me to calm down!! I feel like i know which words to say and route to take reading this!!! I'm applying to be in the art department! hope you have got to where you wanted to be by this point! Thanks again :)

  3. Thanks for sharing. These 34 resume tips nd brand new kind of resume to get hired will be also helpful! Take your time to read and understand the significance of your self-advertising documents!