- Have you tried negotiating? You should always negotiate your salary when you’re looking for a new job -- understand that prospective employers expect that you will counter an initial offer. If the company suggests a rate that’s below what you’re currently making, be sure to let them know, and fight for them to at least match your current salary. Reiterate your current worth as well as market value for the job. If it’s a large company, they should have the budget to match your salary -- and if they can’t, run away from the offer. By not meeting your ask, the company is indicating it doesn’t value its employees, and you're likely to encounter this problem again if you take the job and try to grow within the organization. If it’s a smaller company that may not have the budget to match your previous salary, see if you can negotiate other benefits, like extra vacation, flex time, or stock options. You may be able to make up some of the lost paycheck value in other ways. If the gap is small and the company agrees to your terms, great. If they won’t budge, you should probably walk away. Not caving at all during a negotiation, especially when a candidate isn’t asking for more than they’re worth, is a huge red flag.
- How will this affect you down the line? If you’re transitioning from another career to entertainment, you may have to start at the bottom, and that will likely mean a pay cut. You can’t expect the salary from your consulting job to carry over to an agency assistant position. If you truly want to start over, a pay cut may be inevitable. But do your best to negotiate a slightly higher wage than the standard pay -- your previous professional experience makes you more valuable than someone straight out of college. However, if you’re staying in the same career path -- one side of entertainment to another, or simply a company transition, your salary history should follow you. If you low-ball yourself now, you’ll have a hard time justifying a larger pay increase down the line. Remember that most raises are determined by a percentage increase. If your salary drops from $60k to $50k, a performance raise of 10% wouldn’t even get you back up to the scale you started at. Consider if the opportunity is really worth the long-term sacrifice.
- Are there other positives of this new job? If the new job requires a pay cut, it absolutely needs to make up for it in other ways. Maybe it’s in another city where the cost-of-living is lower, and you’ll be able to afford to buy a home even in a lower income bracket. Maybe you’re tapped out of growth in your current line of work and a pay cut for a new job will set you up for a long-term career where you can thrive. Maybe your personal circumstances have changed, and you need something part-time or less intense so you can manage other aspects of your life, like health or parenthood. You’re the only one who can determine if a pay cut will create new opportunities. Just be sure that you’re thinking with your logical brain and not your desperate brain. It may help to sit down with a trusted partner or friend and weigh the pros and cons -- someone who isn’t desperate for a new job may be able to think more rationally and assess if your reasons/positives are real or excuses.
Often, when you’re applying for jobs, you can get desperate. If you’ve been looking for a while -- whether you’re unemployed or just plain bored -- you might start considering sacrificing some elements of your dream career just to find something now. You may even be considering a job that would require you to take a pay cut. But is that really a good idea? Before you say yes, you need to CAREFULLY consider the following:
You flick on the TV. As you settle in to watch your favorite show, a little voice nags in the back of your mind... “Shouldn’t I be productive? Shouldn’t I revamp my resume so I can apply for a new job?”
Sure, if you watch TV or movies 100% of the time, you won’t get too far in your career. But, considering that you’ve opted for a career in entertainment, watching content is a part of the job. And not just any content -- your favorite shows can help you during your job search.
Well, if you’re up to date on your favorite shows, you’ll be ready to talk about them in an interview. During an entertainment industry interview, you will almost always get asked to name your favorite shows and movies and what you're watching now. And there's nothing worse you can do than answer that question with, “I don’t really watch many TV shows or movies.” A close second is naming a show and not being up to date on it. Imagine you tell your interviewer that your favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy, and it turns out she's also a fan. If you’ve answered this question honestly, this is the perfect situation -- you can geek out about the latest goings-on of Grey-Sloan and turn the interview into a casual conversation, a great way to make interviewer like you. But if you've missed the last three seasons and can't contribute to the discussion, you’ll have lost the interviewer’s trust. You'll never have this problem if you watch tons of TV -- if you spend enough time watching content, you'll likely have multiple favorite shows to pull from that you could speak about intelligently in an interview.
And yes, binge watching your favorite shows can serve as great interview preparation, but this practice is useful on a broader level as well. When you have a good sense of the content landscape, you'll have a clearer picture of the kinds of content you like, and this can help you narrow your job search. When you watch your favorite shows, take note of who produced them and add those companies to the list of employers you’re interested in working for. Many Hollywood hopefuls move to LA and cast a wide net -- they're trying to get a job at any company in the industry, regardless of what content the company produces. In our opinion, that should be a last resort strategy. Your initial focus should be on finding a job that will help you grow into the the kind of role you always dreamed about. A narrower job search will allow you to focus on cultivating a targeted network, plus you’ll find it easier to write cover letters and connect with interviewers who share your enthusiasm. And once you get the job, you’re a lot more likely to enjoy your role. If you never watch sci-fi movies, why would you want to spend 60 hours a week reading sci-fi scripts as a development assistant? You have to consider what will really make you excited about going to work every day, and watching TV and movies regularly can help you find that passion.
Isn’t it great when something most people think of as an indulgence can actually boost your career? Next time you get sucked into a Netflix binge, settle in and enjoy it guilt-free -- after all, it’s getting you one step closer to your dream job.
Many people believe that a traditional handwritten thank you note is the best way to follow up after an interview or informational meeting. By sending one, they believe they are adding a nice touch that will help them stand out in the crowd. And sometimes this really works -- there are a few people that appreciate the extra effort that goes into sending a handwritten thank you note. However, most people don’t care either way. Sending a handwritten thank you note will never hurt you . . . unless you send it in place of a thankyou email. Regardless of whether or not you’re into the whole handwritten note business,you should ALWAYS send a thank you note via email within 24 hours. Why?
1. Email is faster than snail mail. Unless you’re planning on driving back the next day, your letter isn’t going to get to the recipient fast enough to boost your chances of getting hired. And while some potential employers are impressed by the person who drives back the next day, some find it creepy and intrusive. Remember -- you're trying to impress the receptionist, not make her feel put-upon.
2. Thank you emails allow for supplementary materials and information. In your thankyou email, you should always offer to provide references or any other material that could help with the hiring process. And, if that’s something the hiring manager wants, he can simply respond affirmatively on the thread, instead of having to go out of his way to reach out to you to request it. And this is a two-way street -- if you have additional questions or want to check in about the hiring timeline at any point, an email will help facilitate that a lot more efficiently than a handwritten note.
3. Thank you emails make follow ups easier. Emails create a thread that will help the hiring manager (or person you've met for an informational interview) remember you down the line. Hopefully you’ve mentioned something specific and personal in your note, and the chain will jog the reader’s memory of you when it’s time for him to make a decision. It will also remind him of what has been previously discussed, so he can give youaccurate information moving forward.
As you can see, emailed thank you notes are a crucial part of the job application process. If handwritten thank you notes are your thing, that’s fine, just make sure you send them in conjunction with a thank you email.
When reaching out to contacts for potential informational interviews, you should do everything in your power to set a face-to-face meeting instead of a phone call. An informational interview with the right person can be one of the biggest boosts to your job search, but only if you can make a good impression. And that’s hard to do on a phone call. Think about it: Would you hire someone based off of a phone interview? Probably not. Your goal for an informational interview is to lock down a contact that could potentially put you up for jobs at some point, but it’s unlikely that anyone is going to go to bat for a person they’ve never even seen. Especially when dealing with higher level executives, you need to keep in mind that they’re on the phone with various people all day long, and without being able to put a face to a name, they’re not going to remember you for more than a day or two. Unless you’re speaking with someone in a different state, find a way to get that in-person meeting.
But aren't you supposed to let your contact dictate the terms of the meeting so they aren't inconvenienced — and isn’t it an inconvenience to ask for a face-to-face meeting? The answer is no. When requesting an informational interview, simply ask for a meeting and let the other person select the location and time. Don’t suggest a call as an option. If that’s what they end up coming back with, tough luck, but more likely, they’ll find a window to fit you in at some point, even if it's several weeks out. Expect that you’ll probably be rescheduled a few times, and that’s perfectly fine. Take what you can get — even a 15 minute face-to-face meeting is better than a phone call when trying to make a lasting impression.