Who wouldn’t want to work for the BBC? A job in one of the most creative and vibrant media hubs with a fantastic reputation, the opportunity to travel around the world and (perhaps) even a decent salary.
Of course the BBC’s Journalism Trainee Scheme and Production Talent Pool are incredibly competitive. The process, however, is rigorous, and to get through, you have to really shine out.
Last week I wrote about visiting the BBC’s Salford offices to experience their ‘Get In’ roadshow, which gave potential applicants information about the schemes on offer, and seminars on social media and production pitching.
At the roadshow, Simon Wright, Lou Gallagher and Kate Hoyland had these tips for your applications.
TOP FIVE DOS
Creativity and ideas
Write eloquently, and interestingly, but don’t use ‘big business words’. Try to tell a story, make it compelling and clear. Don’t start every sentence with I, vary your structure. Let your passion shine through, and come up with different, original ideas to highlight this.
Show this well by writing about what you’re proud of. Use details and examples of your role, and explain what it showed. Describe the transferable skills you learnt, and how you can apply them elsewhere.
There’s no need to be serious – use your imagination. Lighten up, and engage with it. Keep it real.
You must be prepared to apply yourself fully to any situation, and go anywhere. If you’re interested in a specific genre, you can mention it, but don’t let it limit your options. Emphasise your multi-skilled attitudes, and try everything.
Read the question, and answer it properly. Give the answers that best answer it. Read your answers over, and check for correct spelling and grammar. Get to the point, but don’t list your answers.
TOP FIVE DON’TS
Don’t talk about your gap year or being a student – it’s not original, and they get it alllll the time.
Sending a headshot
Why? There’s just no point, you’re not going to get in based on your looks.
Lying and exaggeration
It’s clear when you’re exaggerating your experience, and they will pick you up on it. Blatant lying is going to get you asked about and will be found out.
Getting names/titles wrong
Research the people you’re applying to. Check if their titles should be male or female. Nothing puts you off more than getting an email starting ‘Dear Student’, so why should you expect ‘Dear BBC Trainee Scheme’, to get you further?
Poor spelling and grammar
This is a huge pet peeve for people in the media industry and beyond. The odd slip up won’t count too much against you, but saying you have a ‘keen eye for deetail’ won’t go down too well.
If you’re successful, you’ll go through to an assessment centre stage. This will involve group exercises with situational judgement tests. It could be anything from a Friday night entertainment TV pitch, to organising a radio chat show phone interview.
It might sound like a daunting process, but if you’re dedicated to a career in the media, this won’t put you off. If you don’t apply, you’ve got no chance. At the Get In event there were applicants who had tried multiple times already, and still up for trying again. Don’t talk yourself out of it, and give it a go – if you have the passion and the drive, you are the strongest candidate.
Are you applying for the BBC’s trainee schemes right now? Were you successful and want to share tips for potential applicants? Get in touch @wannabehacks.
Photo: Phil Gradwell
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