Six ways to build your network
In Hollywood, your network is your key to success. The best way to find jobs is through referrals, and even once you're in a job, your network will help you generate new business. If you're worried you don't have a strong network, we have great news for you: Your network is bigger than you think it is, and growing it can even be fun! Here are six ways you can go about cultivating your network:
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
The best way to get your resume from the bottom of the stack into the "must interview" pile is to highlight the right skills the hiring manager is looking for. While there's no one-size-fits-all resume that will work for all roles within the entertainment industry, there are some skills that many Hollywood jobs require, regardless of the position. You should always match your resume to the job posting to make sure you're reflecting the appropriate skills and verbiage, but there are a few basic elements you'll likely want to include on your resume in some form or another, and these differ based on your experience level. Here's a breakdown of what you should highlight at various stages of your Hollywood career:
For an intern, most hiring managers want someone who is smart, reliable, and eager to learn, and this can be conveyed in many different ways on a resume. But once you’re ready for an assistant position, your resume needs to change -- there are some very specific skills that should be on your resume if you want to get an interview. In particular, administrative duties like answering phones and scheduling must be included. Although they seem like menial and easy tasks, they will be the core of your job as an assistant, and your potential boss will want to know he's going to be covered if he hires you. It’s all about proving that you know how to manage a desk. If you’re going for PA roles, phones won’t matter as much, but ordering lunches, going on runs, and setting up equipment are going to be important. There’s a good chance you’ve acquired those skills during college or an internship – don’t leave them off. Even if you've developed more advanced skills through campus leadership, other work experience, or student film productions, make sure the primary focus is on your ability to handle administrative duties and organizational tasks, so your boss knows you'll be committed to the job at hand and not immediately looking to jump into a higher-level role.
Obviously, mid-level roles are a lot more varied and specific than entry-level roles, but there are a few things to pinpoint that pretty much all hiring managers will want to see. The main ones fall under the category of communication skills – showing your ability to cultivate relationships and manage projects by interfacing with a wide range of stakeholders is key. You'll also want to highlight the moments when you took initiative and your achievements. Make sure you call out the big projects you've worked on (or better, led), clients you've brought on, shows you've sold, or workflows you've implemented to provide evidence of your successes. To land those mid-level jobs, show that you will be able to keep projects running smoothly but will also bring added value to the company.
If you’re looking for VP and department head positions, our advice for mid-level jobs still applies, but on top of that, you’ve got to prove your management and leadership skills. Part of that is supervising teams – often, you’ll develop those skills in mid-level roles, but now is the time to show that you have mastered it. But beyond people management, you have to think about cultivating and implementing the overall vision for the department, project, or company. What projects in your past have forced you to think strategically and from a big-picture POV? You’ll also need to note if you’ve managed budgets, since most senior-level roles involve managing project budgets, salaries, and vendor contracts. As long as you aren’t breaking confidentiality agreements, it can be good to reference budget ranges on your resume when they are relevant to the job you are applying for. Additionally, senior leaders are often the face of the company during both internal meetings and externally. If you have a way to showcase public speaking skills or that you’ve represented your company at pitch meetings with high level buyers, these are good things to include on your resume.
Please note that this is simply a general guide to get you thinking about what types of things might go on your resume -- it's up to you to get specific and tailor the resume to the posting at hand. And remember, it's impossible to encapsulate the entirety of your career on a one or two page resume, so it's best to highlight the skills that are going to be valued most. Then, when you’re ready to level up, you’ll need to overhaul your resume again – for instance, you'll want to lose the assistant skills on your mid-level resume and likely remove those work experiences altogether for your senior-level resume. Think of your resume as a working document that will change frequently to help you get the specific job you’re applying for, and you'll get hired soon enough!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
We’re big proponents of LinkedIn – it’s a great way to keep track of your contacts and larger network, and their job search algorithm can be very accurate in its recommendations. But one of the most overlooked aspects of LinkedIn is the newsfeed.
While we don’t advocate spending your days wiling away on social media, scrolling through your LinkedIn feed a few times a week can be very helpful, especially if you’re looking for a new job. You’ll see plenty of job postings there, shared directly by your network! Some of these postings will be from first degree connections, but you’ll often see posts shared by second or third degree connections that someone in your network liked, shared, or commented on.
When someone posts a job opening on LinkedIn, they are actively looking to recruit someone who is only a few degrees away from them. The door is open for you to reach out directly and get your resume into a human being’s hands. You can either reach out to the person in your network who liked or commented on the post to see if they are close enough to the person hiring to refer you directly, or you can like the post and send a message to the poster expressing how you’re connected and that you’re interested in the role. They wouldn’t have posted the job opening on LinkedIn if they weren’t hoping for people in their larger network to engage with it!
In addition to using your feed to apply for jobs, you can use it to engage with your network. It’s an easy way to stay on someone’s radar – just don’t overdo it by liking every single post at one time or commenting excessively. As with all social algorithms, the more you engage with content of a certain type, the more you’ll see. If you’re looking to make a big transition – breaking into the industry, moving from one side to another, or leaving for a new field – this can be especially helpful, since you’ll see more relevant posts that are catered to your interests. As a result, you might even see posts from someone you don’t know announcing a new promotion or a job change at a company you’re targeting. It’s probably not the best idea to reach out the minute someone starts a new job, but you can note the connection and reach out to the contact who knows that person down the line if you apply for a job there or want to have an informational interview.
You can (and should!) also actively follow companies you’re targeting in your job search. Read the articles they share and comment as is appropriate (again, don’t spam them!). This is helpful for a few reasons. First, you’ll see job postings very quickly. You’ll also know the latest company news, which can be helpful in an interview. Plus, you might get on the company’s radar as someone who is keenly interested in their work, especially if your comments are insightful.
The next time you decide to mindlessly scroll through social channels, consider LinkedIn. Or better yet, block off 10 minutes every day or two to devote to the platform.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
"ASK HR" is our advice column where we answer readers' questions about pressing work dilemmas, job search queries, resumes, and navigating Hollywood. If you have a career-related question, email us, and the answer could appear in a future newsletter! All submissions will remain anonymous.
Dear Hollywood Resumes,
A few months ago, I applied for a job, but I never heard from the employer, and the posting was taken down soon after I submitted my materials. I've noticed that over the last 2 months, the posting keeps popping up again, getting taken down, and then resurfacing. I just saw it yet again on the company's careers page, and I'm wondering: Should I reapply in case they missed my materials the first time around? Ignore it? Is this sort of thing normal, or am I stuck in my very own job search Groundhog Day?
-- Perplexed in Punxsutawney,
Dear Perplexed in Punxsutawney,
You're not alone in your own time loop! The truth is, no one really knows why this happens in any given circumstance, but it is fairly common. Jobs become available and go on hold all the time, often because budgets change, priorities change, or the role that was supposed to open up doesn't. Sometimes jobs get taken down because the posting expired or is getting pushed down in the search results due to a long hiring process, and the recruiters repost to bump them up on search engines. It could also mean more roles are becoming available in the same department, or someone quit, or the new hire didn't work out...and so on. Especially at a bigger company, things are constantly changing when it comes to open roles.
It doesn't hurt to reapply just this once to show your continued interest. However, it is possible that they saw your resume and didn't think you were right for the role. If you'd heard back from a recruiter or have a contact at the company, you can reach out to them to follow up and see if they're open to reviewing your materials again. Keep in mind that if you don't think they saw your resume in the first place, you probably weren't doing your due diligence in going through the proper channels to get your resume into a real person's hands. You should always take this extra step to make sure someone is actually reviewing your resume.
If you submitted blindly, it's okay to submit again one more time, but make sure you're really reading through the job posting carefully. First, are you 100% sure it's the same role? It's possible the title is the same but the department is different, or they rewrote the job posting after an internal restructure. Then, ask yourself if you're truly qualified, and not over or under-qualified. If they're looking for someone with 1-2 years of experience, and you've got 10, they probably ignored your application the first time around because they want someone green. The same is true if they're looking for specialized skills you might not have -- like they need someone who has successfully navigated the film festival circuit, and all your experience is in broadcast TV. Not that we're suggesting you never apply for a role that's a stretch -- just that you recognize it's a stretch (in either direction!) and don't double down when the chips fell exactly as you expected. Unless you can get insider insight (and a referral!) or are really convinced your resume aligns almost perfectly with the role, move on to the next job opening.
If you do decide to apply a second time because it's just that good of a fit on your end, make that the last time. You don't want to get blacklisted by spamming a company -- especially a dream company -- with multiple applications when they've already vetted you. The right job will come around -- just keep checking for new postings!
-- Angela & Cindy
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