If you've been laid off, furloughed, or on a longer-than-expected or indefinite hiatus, we are here for you. This is a hard time for everyone, but it's additionally concerning for those at financial risk. Though it may seem like no one is hiring anymore, we've done some research for you and curated a list of places where you might find openings. They aren't necessarily entertainment industry-related, but they'll help pay the bills during this uncertain time.
First and foremost, if you're in Los Angeles, consult the newly created LA Jobs Portal for information about opportunities and unemployment resources (if you live outside of Los Angeles, consult your local coronavirus information hub to see what resources are available in your area). Additionally, Indeed is offering a webinar on March 31 at 11am ET/2pm PT about how to find work quickly and effectively search for work from home jobs.
In the meantime, there are tons of job portals and other online resources for finding remote or short-term work that you should be considering. The best place to start is Facebook Groups -- there are tons of groups for those working in entertainment, and many are extremely active. Monitoring these groups regularly is a good way to find job postings (and you may be able to connect directly with the hiring manager). Alternatively, you'll find a range of remote work postings across industries on sites/apps like Steady, Pangian, and FlexJobs. You could also try UpWork, a platform where freelancers can find new clients and bid on projects in a variety of fields.
As you search for work, consider the industries that are being stretched thin now. Medical services companies, consumer goods manufacturers, shipping services, and customer service help desks need more workers. Consider searching in those sectors on job sites like Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn.
Grocery and big-box stores are also increasing their hiring to meet consumer demand during coronavirus. Instacart, GrubHub, Caviar, DoorDash, Shipt, Amazon Flex, and Saucey are all hiring new delivery drivers as demand for their services increases. Similarly, childcare apps like Trusted, Urban Sitter, Care, and Bambino and cleaning services apps like Tidy are accepting new workers. Websites like Nextdoor and Thumbtack allow you to offer your services to your neighbors who may need odd jobs done. These could all be promising options for those who aren't immunocompromised or living with/caring for a relative who falls into a high-risk category (and it should go without saying that you should practice excellent hygiene and social distancing in any of these jobs).
You can also consider making ends meet without a job. Self-quarantine is a great time to go through your home and get rid of items you don't need -- you can sell them on ebay, OfferUp, Poshmark, or ThredUp if they're in good condition to make a little extra cash. And if your items have seen better days, you can always donate them and clear up space in your house!
And while we recognize that this is an exceptionally tough time if you don't know where your next paycheck is coming from, we're also big believers in giving what you do have to make the world a brighter place. If you have a little extra time on your hands while you look for remote work, consider helping others in need. You can donate time if you can't donate money -- there are plenty of virtual community service opportunities. Consider creating or joining a phone tree of people who are socially isolated, delivering food and supplies to a high-risk person you know, or donating blood through the Red Cross.
Obviously, there are many other resources for getting through this tough time, but we hope this list is a good starting point. We appreciate all our loyal readers and wish you the best of luck in finding work in the coming weeks.
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
These are crazy times we're living in! Chances are, you're working from home (if you're not -- please stay safe. Check out this page for helpful information about your rights). Working from home can be great, but it can come with major drawbacks. In fact, most of the advice for remote-work jobs assumes you can leave your house and work from a coffee shop or take a break and hit the gym. But that's not the case now! So what should you do to stay sane and productive?
First and foremost, put your health first. If you're sick, you need to heal. Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you can't ask for the day off. You don't want to mismanage a project because you have a raging fever. But if you're healthy and quarantining for the greater good, here's some tried and true advice:
Don't work more hours than you usually would. If you typically have an 8 hour day, that's still the case. You're still entitled to a lunch break, and you don't need to have your laptop open 24/7. Do your best to stick to normal working hours -- this is good for your own mental health and helpful for keeping up with your colleagues. But if you generally find yourself more productive in the afternoon and a zombie at your desk every morning in the office, you can be more flexible about when you actually work.
Try to stay connected to your team. If you have a regularly-scheduled morning meeting in the office, suggest that your team continue that tradition through video chat. Keep your conference calls -- the more outside contact you have, the less isolated you'll feel. If you have a micromanaging or difficult boss, they'll probably assume you're doing nothing all day, so don't let them! In this scenario, you might consider sending a wrap-up email outlining what you did over the course of the day, simply to let them know that you're still on top of your projects. If your boss won't appreciate a longer wrap-up email, consider cc'ing them on messages you would ordinarily mention to them in passing, so they can see you're working throughout the day. Don't spam them, but make sure you're actively keeping the powers that be in the loop.
You'll likely find that without tons of meetings and interruptions from colleagues, you can get through your tasks much more quickly. Add the fact that so many businesses and productions are totally shut down, and you might really have very little to do. When this happens, you could start a project you've been putting off for a while. Now's a great time to organize your files, read that pile of submissions you've been neglecting, etc.
If you exhaust those options, consider your own professional development. Is there a show you've been meaning to check out, maybe written by a networking contact or similar to an idea you have in development? Watch it! Keeping up to date on pop culture as "professional development" is one of the perks of working in Hollywood, but when you're overwhelmed with deadlines it can be hard. So read that book, listen to that podcast, check out that YouTube series, and enjoy.
You might also consider learning a new skill. Now's a great time to enroll in some online courses. This could be to develop a skill that will help you in your current position or something that will help you make the career transition you've been considering. If you're an aspiring writer, now's also a good time to work on your script. Take advantage of the time you have now to work on side projects without sacrificing your current responsibilities.
Lastly, remember to get up and MOVE. Your back will thank you, and so will your mental health. The streets are still open -- imagine yourself as a dog that needs to be let out for its walk once or twice a day. Walk around the block (grab an umbrella when the weather refuses to cooperate). Getting outside for a few minutes will revitalize you and keep you energetic and healthy. Even better -- call a friend when you go for your walk. We may be social distancing physically, but that just means we have to lean in to social connection emotionally.
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
We're obviously huge supporters of people pursuing their Hollywood dreams -- that's why we launched our business, to help people break into and move up in a notoriously tough industry. But dreams can change, and there's no shame in deciding that the entertainment industry isn't right for you. Whether you're leaving the industry after only a couple of years or after a decade, you’re probably a little freaked out about making a career transition – entertainment is so specific, how are you going to appeal to employers in other industries on paper? Here are four tips for crafting a resume to get out of entertainment:
1. Use the job posting as your guide. If you’ve decided to move out of entertainment, hopefully you have an idea of what you want to do next (if you don’t, you’ll need to spend some time researching new industries and conducting informational interviews). Once you’ve found a few postings of jobs you reasonably think you can do and that interest you, use those postings to guide your process. You can even use the same verbiage from the posting, as long as it's true! Most action verbs can apply to any industry, so just choose bullet points that can incorporate the action verbs listed in the posting. The job posting is going to tell you exactly what you need to highlight in your resume and what skills are most valued by the potential employer.
2. Look for relevant transferrable skills. Once you know what the employer is looking for, analyze your experience and figure out what skills you have that could translate. You may not have done the exact task, but if you’ve done something similar, you should showcase how. For example, perhaps you’ll need to negotiate deals in the new role. If you’ve negotiated crew rates or vendor contracts as a producer, you can illustrate your negotiation prowess on your resume. Consider what makes you think you're capable of doing the job and be sure those skills -- and only those skills -- are what you highlight on your resume. For example, even if you do a lot of casting in your current role, you probably won't be casting in another industry, so your future employer won't find your casting experience that compelling on your resume. Remember that your resume is about the skills you bring to the table for the future, not a biography documenting your past.
3. Position yourself in a versatile way. If you're creating a professional summary, you can call yourself a media and communications professional instead of an entertainment industry professional. In doing so, you’re creating a broader profile for yourself that allows you to fit into more boxes. You could also consider an areas of expertise section where you can highlight certain skills that may not stand out in a bullet point – if you were a producer, you can list "project management" as an area of expertise, since that’s essentially what you were doing. Look for things that are standardized across industries and lock onto those.
4. Be careful about jargon. People outside the industry aren’t going to know what you’re talking about if you use too much industry terminology, and often entertainment terms mean something else entirely in a different field (consider that a director of development in entertainment develops film and TV projects, and a director of development in the nonprofit world is a fundraiser!). If your title isn’t going to make sense to an outsider, make sure you’re explaining what your role entailed in easy-to-understand terms. Assistants in particular fall into this trap -- "covering a desk" isn't really something people in other industries say, and neither is "rolling calls." You'll likely need to paint a more vivid picture of your work as an assistant to make the volume of your work clear to someone outside the industry.
Most importantly, a great resume alone is not going to get you the job. You'll need to supplement your new resume with a cover letter that explains your decision to pursue an alternate career path and a strong LinkedIn profile that can help you catch the eye of a recruiter. You’ll also need to do some networking and show in an interview that you’re passionate and enthusiastic about this new direction. Make sure you do your research and are ready to commit to something new – you’ve got a bit of convincing to do, but if you’re fully on board with this switch, you’ll be able to make a much stronger case for yourself and your abilities!
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
You got a job offer – yay! You’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself right now. You beat out a whole bunch of other candidates and your job search is finally over! You may be 100% confident that this is your dream job, and if it is, that’s great, go ahead and accept! But if you have even the slightest hesitation, take a moment to consider whether this is the best move. Here are a few red flags you might want to think about before accepting an offer:
1. The salary is lower than what you’d expected. In this case, you should try to negotiate. You should be getting paid what you’re worth. If a company really wants you, a few thousand dollars shouldn’t be that big of a deal given the value that you’re going to bring to the table. But if there’s not much wiggle room, carefully assess how this will impact your lifestyle. Are you going to love the job so much that the lower pay won’t even matter? Look at all other factors before deciding to accept. There are long term-consequences to taking a pay cut or getting paid less than market rate, so you need to make sure the benefits outweigh the costs before you settle.
2. The boss has a bad reputation. If you’ve heard bad things about your potential new boss, you should proceed with extreme caution. You can give them the benefit of the doubt if you want – maybe it was just one person’s experience that you’re basing your decision off of. But if you’re hearing from multiple people that the boss is an ultra micromanager, doesn’t give direct reports credit for projects, or is downright abusive, you probably want to stay away. You may not realize it, but your boss has just as big of an impact on your experience at a company as the actual work does, maybe even more. Try to find out what other people have to say about this person, especially if you got a questionable vibe during the interview. And of course, if there are red flags that come up in the interview process -- the boss yells at an employee, runs excessively late, or assigns you trial work without pay -- know that it only gets worse when they're not trying to woo you.
3. You aren't aligned with the company's mission. This is particularly relevant for start-ups, where the company's future is up in the air and dependent on its mission. If you aren't gung-ho about the team and the company's future, you probably won't be happy at the job, and a small team is bound to fail if its members aren't 100% committed to the vision -- which means you may be out of a job faster than you think. It's also important when you're working on the creative side in a decision-making role -- if you don't agree with the company's development process, or you hate their programming decisions, you'll probably be unhappy devoting creative energy to and championing projects you don't think are good. This is less important at the assistant level -- you can still learn a lot even if you're working on projects you're not 100% aligned with creatively, and there are some jobs that are so competitive you may be open to sacrificing your taste, like staff writer, editor, or reality producer. Evaluate whether the day-to-day of the job will make you happy, or if you'll have room to grow, either within the role or because of it.
4. The lifestyle that goes along with the job isn’t ideal. If you’re going to be working really long hours or have a serious commute ahead of you, you may want to think twice about the job. Everyone has a different threshold for these factors, but you need to be aware of yours before you accept an offer. Are you really going to be comfortable checking your phone all day, every day, including weekends and vacations? Is the pay enough to cover the gas mileage from the office in Playa Vista to your home in Thousand Oaks? Do you need flexibility for childcare? Most people work to live -- if this is going to be a job where you live to work, it may not be worth it.
5. You don't like the office culture. You may love the work, the commute, the pay, and even your potential boss. But is the larger company culture your style? If you get weird vibes when you go in for an interview -- and weird can mean different things for different people, since we all have different work styles -- you may not be happy going to the office everyday. Do your future colleagues seem like people you'd get along with? Did people in the office seem depressed? Is the office dog-friendly and you're allergic to dogs? Were you distracted by the ping pong conference table? Maybe you don't like that the conference table was standard mahogany! No office is perfect, but consider if you'll be happy spending 8 or so hours a day in that space, with those people, following the company's rules.
There are surely other red flags that may pop up during the job search, and some may be entirely specific to you. The most important thing is to trust your gut. If you have some sort of hesitation, figure out what’s giving you pause, and then carefully weigh your options before accepting the job. Your instinct is usually correct, and it’s going to help lead you to the job where you’ll be the happiest.
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan