A common complaint for Hollywood hopefuls is the classic, "I apply to 20 jobs a day and never get any interviews." Maybe you think it's because your resume doesn't look good, or you just don't have the right experience. But really, 20 jobs a day? That's an enormous number and is only realistic for people who are sitting on their couches filling out job applications and doing literally nothing else.
If you're a recent grad or unemployed, sure, apply to 20 a day. But if you're working full time and trying to make a switch, a more reasonable target is 2-3 job applications per day, max. Any more than that means you're probably not giving each application the amount of attention it deserves.
You may be a great candidate, but if you're not taking the time to highlight specific relevant skills, it's easy to see why your resume might get overlooked. Job hunting is more than just replying to as many posts as possible with your generic resume and cover letter attached. Instead, you should be researching every company you apply to and tailoring the application to the specific job -- and maybe even finding out who you know that knows someone who works there. If you're applying for similar jobs, your standard resume will probably work for all of them, but you should at least write a new cover letter every time.
True story: We once received a very strange intern resume that included a page of pictures of the job applicant dressed in various cat costumes. This is by far the weirdest resumesubmission we’ve ever seen, but the problem was not only the girl’s poor judgment in sharing pictures of an unusual hobby -- she really shouldn’t have included any photos at all.
Though cat pictures are less prevalent, it's not rare for applicants put a small headshot in the corner of their resumes. Unless you’re an actor, pictures do NOT belong in a job application. First of all, the hiring manager is going to look you up on social media anyway, so if you really want him to see what you look like, rest assured, he will. But more to the point, adding a photo to your resume is unprofessional. It suggests that you are expecting to be hired based on your looks instead of your skills, and this can definitely backfire.
Don’t let a picture distract from all the awesome qualities you’ve listed on your resume. But DO put a picture on your LinkedIn profile. It adds credibility and will earn you more profile views.
Five ways to get your entry-level Hollywood dream job without sending cookies to a potential employer
For every story of someone getting the job because they sent cupcakes to their dream employer, there are a dozen where this type of gimmick made the wrong impression. Sending treats to someone after they buy your script or bringing in donuts during your first week on the job is fine and always appreciated, but blindly sending cookies to get your resume read will typically result in the hiring manager questioning your judgment and spending habits. Instead, use any or all of the following strategies to increase your chances of landing an interview:
1. Tell everyone you know it's your dream company.
2. Mine your college alumni networks to see if anyone you know works there, or simply cold email alumni and mention your alma mater.
3. Use LinkedIn to see who you know that could connect you to someone in the company for an informational interview, or, if there's an active job listing, to someone in HR or the department that's hiring. Work your six degrees here.
4. Figure out the company's email format, cold email someone in your dream department, and politely ask for an informational interview. If you can make a good impression early on, you'll be top of mind when a position opens up.
5. Impress the hiring manager by sending in a killer resume and cover letter when there's a job opening.
While a fancy dessert basket may be a fast and easy way to get a person's attention, some strategic effort will make a stronger, lasting impression and is less likely to backfire. You'd rather be Jenny, the girl that was really smart over coffee, than the desperate chick that sent the donuts.
Typecasting. It’s not just a problem for actors. Some items on your resume can give your future employer a picture of you that might not be the whole story -- and sometimes, that picture can cost you a call for an interview.
For example, maybe you were the president of the College Republicans. And maybe you worked one summer for a local Republican congressman. And maybe you minored in politics and made a short film for your thesis called “Romney vs. Zombies.” All totally acceptable life choices, but with that rundown on your resume, you’ve got a potential interviewer thinking about whether or not he wants to deal with you during November, or if you’ll be too preoccupied watching debates to read that stack of scripts on your desk...and his biggest client is George Clooney, husband to Amal and renowned Democrat, so how’s that gonna work?
Even though you might be the best candidate in the world and way more into film than politics, you never get the call. If your resume seems to tell a story that boxes you in, leave some stuff out.