In this section, you can find out whether My First Job In TV is right for you.
My name is Michelle Matherson and I run My First Job In TV.
With nearly 20 years in production, development, commissioning and talent I’ve worked across all genres. One of the most important roles for me has been mentoring, guiding and advising people through the maze of TV to find the role that is right for them.
I have worked for all the large broadcasters; ITV Studios, BBC, Channel 4 and the Independent sector. Over the years I have built up contacts and relationships with key decision makers, gate-keepers and creatives so that I fully understand what is needed for you to succeed in becoming one of the best.
I have spoken on panels for BAFTA, RTS and numerous industry and Diversity panels & forums. I am well connected having one of the best ‘ black books’’ in the business and a proven track record in headhunting both on and off-screen talent.
I have devised and run many entry-level training courses including runners, researchers and camera training. I will be running a series of training courses for MFJTV to make our members 'Career Ready', equipping you with the skills and confidence that is recognised by the industry making landing a job that much easier.
It is essential to be connected in this industry but this comes from being mentored and ‘shown the ropes’. I have mentored throughout my career from TV Executives to Runners and Work Experience. Everyone needs mentoring and this is important to have one to ones to help and steer you in the right direction. We will be running regular mentoring schemes, so MFJTV members get to learn from current industry professionals.
In this industry you need to ‘manage your own career’. It means you need to have an idea or passion for the areas that you want to work in and the career you think would suit you. MFJTV will advise you whether you are incredibly clear or need help to make the right choices. We will get your CV looking the part and help you put a plan together to achieve your goals.
MFJTV is a community where we can help each other. Its important to remember TV is a people's industry, working closely with others you only may have just met, and it is often from these very people that your next role will come from. As such we will be running a series of networking and social events throughout the year hosted by industry specialists and MFJTV so you can meet, learn and expand your circle of industry contacts.
My Plans for My First Job In TV
Here at MFJTV we will continue to evolve to keep abreast of industry changes and needs. Guidance, advice and training are all areas that we will be offering as well as networking events and work experience. My aim is to make launching your TV career easier, with clear career paths and open access to all the available jobs and opportunities that are out there.
What runners say about me!
“During my time at ITV Michelle was incredibly positive and gave me loads of constructive and pragmatic career guidance whilst I was moving from one role to another. She always enabled me to see the bigger picture and her connections helped me land my role as an ITV apprentice. Michelle is a very knowledgeable and well-connected figure in a range of creative industries and is a valuable resource for any young person starting off in the TV world.”
- Osman A
“Michelle was great in not only offering me my first proper full-time contract in the industry but for also providing guidance and mentoring me throughout my time at ITV. She's a delight to work alongside”.
- Fez S
"Michelle’s mentorship during my time at ITV Shiver was indispensable in the early trajectory of my career. Michelle was attentive, involved and encouraging – and truly provided amazing guidance. With her direction and recommendation, I was able to work on the landmark series ‘Hospital’ for BBC 2 – and subsequently, enjoy further opportunities working on brilliant programming. For any young person entering the world of television, Michelle’s support is unmatched!
- Charlene O
My First Job in TV is a free platform helping employers find talent and talent find employment. MFJTV gives you information on career paths, CV advice and resources to help you find work in the TV industry. We list industry lead training providers and courses that can boost your knowledge; and if you want to be entertained with blogs, reviews and competitions, we’ve got that covered too.
The TV industry offers new recruits an exceptional array of career choices. It’s diverse in its subject matter, and members of the industry are continuously breaking new ground to deliver programming of all genres. We know first hand that a career in the television industry can be rewarding and fulfil if you're interested in storytelling, be that fact or fiction. MFJTV works with a host of companies committed to fostering new talent in all areas of the business.
MFJTV is open for anyone over 18 to apply for jobs, just set up a profile, upload a CV, and you can get going. If you’re looking to access extra features, including 1 - 2 -1 CV support and bumping your CV to the top of the application pile, you can become an MFJTV Pro member.
Firstly, you need to set up your profile; and if you’re applying for jobs, be sure your profile says as much about you and your experience as possible. Your application answers and your profile are the first things recruiters see.
How do recruiters use MFJTV?
The least used option. Recruiters ask to have CVs emailed to them, usually so they can take them to the relevant heads of department or other colleagues.
The preferred option is accessing your applications online. When recruiters access this option, the first thing they see is your MFJTV profile. Then they look at your application answers to make sure you fit the criteria, then your CV and lastly your cover letter. So make sure your profile is a detailed as possible; check your location matches the one on your CV, your profile picture is professional, and all your credits are included.
If you are still at stage 1 of your career journey and not yet sure which path to pursue, you can upload up to 20 CV’s and cover letters, so make use of this feature and keep customising your CVs for each area of the business. If you have any questions about your profile or find yourself needing advice, get in touch with us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use MFJTV resources
When you are applying for jobs via MFJTV, read the CV and cover letter advice in our CV Clinic. Dissect job specs and customise each application you make. We cannot stress enough that if you are stage 1 of your career journey make your skills relevant to the role, even if that means drawing on your experience in education.
What is the three stage plan?
We break down our resources into three stages because our members tend to fall into with one of these career categories:
You know you want to work in TV but as yet you have no credits or professional experience. If you have completed a degree you may still find yourself in the stage one category. Your initial focus should be on increasing your knowledge and skills, thereby improving your chances of success when applying for opportunities. These are all factors you can control, by researching and adding technical skills to your armoury, as well as volunteering or simply picking up a camera and getting examples of your work online.
You have an advanced knowledge and understanding of the industry, so your focus is on gaining experience and building up your list of industry contacts. Work experience, collaborations and internships are perfect for you as they add valuable experience to your CV. One key task is to get industry references, as these are a crucial way to elevate your applications.
You have a CV with multiple credits or internships and some excellent references, so you are set to find a permanent position and/or have established your own network of contacts to help you find regular, sustainable work.
This website is packed full of career guides, plans, resources and industry knowledge for you to read through and study. In the case studies section, you will find examples from individuals who were once in your shoes, but are now established their careers.
The more research you do, the more you will understand the industry, and that knowledge will inform your decisions going forward. Most importantly, it will help you in deciding which area of the industry you want to specialise in.
Researching is a valuable skill and one you should build upon throughout your career. If you are applying for a job as a runner, then you should know the ins and outs of the role of a runner. If that running position is at a production company making factual content, research that area of the industry. Let the employer know how much you want to work in factual.
Apply for jobs appropriate to your experience
The most important thing about using MFJTV is to know what you are applying for and assessing whether you are right for that job. Look at the three stages of your career journey with MFJTV and be honest with yourself; what stage are you at? If you’re applying for jobs that request a certain amount of experience, divert your energy to applying for roles such as dailies, which will provide you with relevant experience and progress your CV. The first few years can be tough looking for regular work, but the TV industry rewards perseverance and hard work.
Once you have a clear idea about which career you want to pursue, you need to focus your energy on knowing as much as you possibly can about it. This is where our career planners come in. They are broken down into three stages, with each stage having realistic goals for you to complete which are either knowledge, skills or experience based. Career planners can be found at the bottom of each of our career guides, along with example CVs and other resources to help you find your dream job.
Our Promise To You
We promise to ensure that My First Job In TV remains a vibrant community for those interested in entering the broadcast industry, with up-to-date resources to help you improve your industry knowledge. Our aim is to help you improve your applications and to provide you with lots of exclusive and exciting opportunities in TV.
Whilst we love success stories about members who find work through the site, we are aware that not everyone will find a job using our service. What we can promise to all of our members, is that we will provide you with valuable career advice and industry information, giving you access to the tools and knowledge that you need to start you TV career.
If you would like to tell us about a success that you've had, or if you would like to send us some feedback about the site or believe we can do a better job, please get in touch by emailing info@myfirstjobinTV.co.uk. We are here to help!
Anyone starting their career in the film industry can become a My First Job In TV member, but if you’re applying for jobs you must be aged 18 or over due to Employment Law legislation.
Many members will have studied at degree level. If you are coming into the industry with a degree in biochemical sciences or engineering, worry not. The editorial department is full of graduates whose degrees are unrelated to the industry, so if you have studied natural sciences, you may find yourself working on programmes for the Discovery Channel or National Geographic. We should state, employers are not always looking for graduates; hands-on experience, drive, and your work ethic will often be the key criteria for finding sustainable paid employment.
If you’re changing careers, you are equally welcome to bring your proven work ethic and transferrable skills, but you must know that you will probably have to start at the bottom of the ladder, so be prepared to work hard and earn a minimum wage.
MFJTV provides you with the building blocks to launch your career; information, training and entry level jobs to help build your experience and contacts. Contacts are vital, especially as TV is a freelancers industry full of short term and daily engagements.
When you're at the stage your reputation precedes you, you will generate work via recommendations and word of mouth. Which isn’t to say that you will always be working. Even stalwarts of the industry have to pick up the phone from time to time when things go quiet. So when you are starting out, keep call sheets and open communication with peers and experienced members of the industry and use the opportunities listed on the site to build your own network.
Breaking into any creative industry is tough and it can be dispiriting when you apply for job after job, hearing nothing back. We believe that feedback is vital for you to progress, so when MFJTV members find success, we ask for feedback for the unsuccessful candidates which we post into our TV Facebook group. From this feedback you can modify your CV and identify where your CV is lacking experience or skills.
If you have gone Pro, make sure to take advantage of our 1 - 2 - 1 CV support. We can check through your applications and advise you on making the most out of your transferable skills.
There is no magic wand that we, or anyone else, can wave to guarantee success. Forging a career in the TV industry is about patience and tenacity. It takes time and on occasion the end goal will seem a long way away, but what we promise is that if you follow our advice then your chances of success, of launching your career, will improve.
1. Make sure you add all your experience to your profile and detail your technical skills. If you don't have technical skills, such as knowledge of edit software, then the onus is on you to learn!
2. On the applications, give full, detailed answers to each question. For example, if the employer is looking for someone with knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite then specifically detail your knowledge and give some examples of the projects you have worked on using the software.
3. Make sure your CV is customised! We know it can be boring and can take time, but analyse the job advert, what is it that they are actually looking for? Make those skills and experience prominent on your CV.
4. Never wait too long to apply - as soon as you know it's right for you and your skills, get it done!
5. This is a sensitive one, but being able to drive and having access to a car makes a huge difference. Of course not everybody can afford a car, but it would be remiss of us not to mention that in the world of production, certainly when on location, having a car can be vital.
For Career Advice, Job Feedback, and CV Support. We are here to help you, so join us on our Facebook group and talk to us!