So you’ve been on a desk for three years and are confident that you’re a rockstar assistant. Your boss never yells at you anymore, and you’re even getting regular praise from him. Is it time for a promotion? Maybe. But being a great assistant isn’t going to be enough to get you there. Good assistants are a dime a dozen -- after all, there are plenty of career assistants who have been doing this way longer than you have. If you really want that promotion to coordinator, you’re going to have to stand out in a bigger way.
The first thing to remember as you’re striving for a promotion is that you need to figure out how to get noticed for higher level skills -- phones and calendar management are no longer relevant once you've moved up. Look at the job responsibilities of the person one level above you and start taking some of them on (this could work out very nicely if that person is also trying to get promoted -- she may be willing to hand off some of her duties to make room for her own higher level assignments). Find things that are outside the realm of administrative duties and learn to do them well. Maybe you’ve never been asked for your thoughts on a script or project, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share your opinion. At the very least, you could read/watch the content and have your notes ready to go in case someone asks for them. But if you have a really strong point of view and have cultivated your taste by reading and watching a lot of content, you may be able to impress a higher-up by offering your feedback in a humble way, even if you haven't been asked. Just keep in mind that you shouldn't offer unsolicited feedback until you have established a very solid rapport with your supervisor.
Secondly, you should find ways to take initiative. If you see a problem with the way things are run on your team, fix it. This could range from implementing some type of new organizational process that improves efficiency to generating a competitive report that will allow your department to develop content that will stand out in the marketplace. You could even find new projects or talent to bring in -- no one is going to stop you from getting coffee with potential writers or directors that could help make your team’s product stronger. If you can come up with a list of concrete accomplishments that are the result of you taking the initiative to get something done on your own without being asked, it will be hard for your boss to argue against a promotion.
As you develop yourself professionally, remember: You CANNOT let your current responsibilities slip. Your work as an assistant is essential to the daily functioning of your department, so administrative errors will be more noticeable than any achievements you may be making outside of your pre-defined role. Wait until your assistant duties have become second nature before trying to take on extra work. Your boss will recognize that you’ve put in your time and that you’re capable of handling a heavier workload, and only then will you get your promotion. And if there's no room for growth at your company, you can always position yourself to level up at a different company with your newly cultivated skills.
Visual appeal is an incredibly important component of your resume -- your resume needs to be organized and easy to read, or a hiring manager isn’t likely to spend much time with it. But, unless you are applying for work as a graphic designer, you don't need to use fancy graphics to get your point across. In some cases, certain graphics can even hinder your job search.
When designing your resume, think about how you are going to present the information in the best way possible. If a graphic is going to help with that, feel free to use it, but in our experience, we have found that most graphics either distract or confuse readers. For example, let’s say you turn your initials into some kind of fancy logo (something we see frequently). How does this help make the case that you have the correct qualifications for the position? It’s not really giving much information to a hiring manager, but it could bewasting valuable space or drawing a reader’s eye away from your skills and experience. An employer isn’t going to immediately reject a candidate with a small logo in the corner, but remember, you’re trying to stand out as the best candidate, so you want to do everything possible to get the hiring manager’s eyes to the right place.
One resume graphic that really can hurt you is a skills graph, where candidates have their skills listed and little bubbles indicating their level of experience with each skill. All this does is call attention to the fact that you aren’t great at certain skills. If a company is looking for someone that knows Photoshop, they’re far more likely to hire the person that has Photoshop simply listed as a skill than someone who indicates with bubbles that they’ve still got a lot to learn about the software. Never give that information away on paper -- you'll never get called in for an interview. If an employer needs an expert-level Photoshop user for an open position, they’ll surely bring it up when they meet with you, and then you’ll have the opportunity to explain your level of experience (or willingness to learn, if you don't have quite as much experience as desired). Think about graphics like these from a reader's perspective -- they might look cool and interesting, but no one has time to decipher what they actually mean.
In general, graphs, charts, and infographics can be confusing and time consuming to read. Use bullet points to convey important information clearly and concisely. If the position calls for expertise in graphic design, go for it. But if not, stay away. A clean, simple resume will always do the trick.
You got the call for a job interview! Yay! But you can’t just roll into the interview in your best outfit and wing it. That’s not going to get you hired. Here are a few things you need to do to prepare:
We’re big advocates of listing hobbies and interests on your resume if you have the space to do so. It might seem counter-intuitive -- you’re getting hired to do a job, not make friends. Except, in Hollywood, personality counts for A LOT. For one thing, the hours are long, and people want to like their coworkers if they’re going to spend 10+ hours a day with them. It’s also a very social industry, with drinks, lunches, wrap parties, and networking events all impacting your career success. Plus, you’re creating content -- no matter if you’re a writer, producer, editor, assistant, or marketing executive, you’re a cog in the storytelling wheel, and your life experience affects the stories you’ll tell.
By listing hobbies and interests on your resume, you transform your image -- instead of coming across as a robot with a laundry list of generic skills, you'll show the hiring manager that you're a living, breathing human being with a personality. If you're lucky, your resume might land in the hands of someone with similar interests. Or maybe your quirky hobbies pique the hiring manager's curiosity, and he'll want to meet you to see what you're really about. Whatever the case, listing interests gives the hiring manager an opportunity to ask more personal questions in the interview and turn it into a conversation instead of a Q&A session. The more conversational your interview, the more likely the hiring manager is to connect with you and conclude that you’re someone he wants to spend the majority of his time with. And all it takes is one little line at the bottom of your resume.
As for what interests you should list -- we suggest steering clear of the obvious, like movies and TV. Unless you’re transitioning to the industry from a different sector or applying after college with a non-related degree, listing anything entertainment-related is redundant and boring. The more specific you can get, the better. “Reading” is a little blah, but “reading biographies” showcases a little more of your character. And be sure to choose things you actually do and enjoy, since you may be asked to speak about them. If you list “travel” but haven’t gone anywhere interesting in the last couple of years, the interviewer may think you’re stretching the truth about other things too. And lastly, keep it short. Three to five interests is perfect.