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
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
"Industry Spotlight" is our monthly series where we interview professionals from across the entertainment industry about their current jobs and career trajectories. Our hope is that you will learn more about the positions you're already interested in, discover new roles you may not have considered, and utilize the wisdom of those who've paved the way before you to forge your own path for success.
This month's Industry Spotlight is a special edition, where we sat down with a Talent Acquisitions Manager at a global media firm who previously worked at a communications-focused staffing and recruitment agency. Here, he shares his insight into the recruitment process and key advice for job seekers.
HOLLYWOOD RESUMES: What does a recruiter do and what is your day-to-day like?
RECRUITER: It varies a bit by company and type of recruiting role, but in general it's a recruiter's job to find the best candidates for open positions. We collaborate with hiring teams and business leaders to craft job descriptions, sometimes make recommendations on how to structure the teams, post job opportunities, review applications/resumes, source for passive talent, coordinate the interview process from start to finish, and extend job offers. Day-to-day includes meetings with hiring teams and business unit leaders, spending time in the applicant tracking system (ATS) reviewing resumes for open positions, conducting initial phone screens, attending events, reporting on recruiting metrics and KPIs, and looking for qualified talent on LinkedIn and other sourcing channels.
HR: What's the first thing you look for when screening candidates?
RECRUITER: The first thing we look for is if the candidate has the necessary hard skills to do the job. Because no matter what, that is needed. However, that is not enough to proceed to the next round. We also pay close attention to communication style/ability, personality, and soft skills. Does the candidate have an ego, and if so, will that be a detriment to this team? Can they describe things clearly? Do they seem confident? Have they prepared/done research? Believe it or not, we're also listening to the candidates to understand what they are looking for in their next role. They could have every single skill needed, but if the role doesn't align to their career goals, it won't be a successful hire. Finally, we are also thinking about the future -- perhaps this role may not be a fit, but maybe there are others now or down the line that would be better. Given the active job market and low unemployment rate these days, recruiters need to think ahead and be strategic if they are going to successfully fill their open positions.
HR: What's the #1 resume mistake you see?
RECRUITER: Misaligned dates of employment. For example, we'll see Job A from December 2015 - January 2018, and then Job B from January 2017 - June 2018. While it's possible someone held two jobs at once, make sure that's clear if it's the case. Along those lines, sometimes we also see certain dates on the resume, but then when talking to the candidate they give us different dates or time in the role, and that conflict can cause concern and lack of trust in what's being communicated to us. Bottom line is, don't be afraid to tell the truth, and if there are gaps in employment, that's OK -- just find a way to address them on the resume and the phone screen (and you don't have to account for every single little thing you did, it's understandable that candidates will have some minor gaps in employment history for a variety of reasons).
HR: How should candidates use LinkedIn?
RECRUITER: LinkedIn can be a powerful tool. First and foremost, make sure you have a professional profile. That includes a professional-looking photo, and most (if not all) of the sections filled out. Link your role to your company's page if they have one (and if they don't, take the initiative and make them one!). Another thing that's very helpful for recruiters is if you include two key pieces of information for each job: 1) a brief overview of the company or business unit/division you work for, especially if it's not commonly known, and 2) a summary of your key responsibilities. These two snapshots provide some great information all in one place. Also, leverage your network! Reach out to mutual connections, ask for introductions to recruiters or professionals you want to meet, and be willing to pay it forward and help others! And finally, if a recruiter does reach out to you, respond! You don't have to be interested in the role, but it never hurts to start the relationship.
HR: Many of our readers are looking to make big career transitions -- i.e. freelance to full time, returning to work after time off with family, switching career paths entirely -- what can they do to convince a recruiter they're right for a job in a new sector?
RECRUITER: This is a great question, and I've found myself in this situation in my own career as well. First, you need to know the market and come to the conversation with knowledge. You need to understand the role you are applying for and what the requirements are, and whether you have them or not. I'd say it's less about "convincing" and more about "exploring" -- make it a collaborative partnership with the recruiter, be very open and clear about what you are looking for and why, and what areas of your background and experience can apply. Also, admit to what you don't know or don't have experience with -- most companies, while they have a list of requirements for each job, will hire people who don't hit every single box. Remember, other skills are important, too -- personality fit, soft skills, communication, ambition -- these all can help your case. And finally, be realistic -- if you've been a graphic designer for 10 years and now you want to be a TV executive, you're not going to be able to start at the same level as someone with 10 years of relevant experience. Be ready to have that conversation, admit to what you do and don't know, be realistic about your expectations for the job and salary, do your research, and you'll probably then be well on your way to landing that career transition you are looking for.
HR: Tell us about ATS - how important is it to tailor your resume to them? What keywords are absolutely imperative? Do all companies use the same ATS?
RECRUITER: There are tons of ATSs out there that companies use; it's essentially recruiting software. Many are similar in how they function, but each have their own strengths and nuances. My first piece of advice is not to worry too much about it. The ATS is more for the recruiting teams to manage open positions, applications, pipelines, job status, candidate status, etc. However, certain ATSs are more advanced than others and may use technology to help match a resume to a particular role. So, first and foremost, make sure you have a solid resume as a foundation. This means it's detailed, hits the important points, and can be adaptable. Then, it doesn't hurt to tailor your resume to the job description. So, if you see a job description touting certain skills or using specific keywords, there's nothing wrong with making sure your resume matches some of that verbiage or addresses those areas...but only if it's true! It may increase your chance of matching in the system and getting contacted for the role. But again, I wouldn't drive yourself nuts trying to do this to perfection. Just develop the best resume that showcases your professional career and professional self and make tweaks here and there to align to the the job description, and you should be in good shape.
One of the questions we're asked most often is "My career trajectory doesn't match the jobs I'm interested in now -- how can I get potential employers to notice me?"
Well, it's a lot easier to make a transition if you can prove that you'd succeed in the role. To do this, there are three steps you'll need to take: identifying which of your skills matter, presenting them in your application materials, and letting your network know you're looking to make a move. Here's how you'll do it:
1. Identify your skills. Look at a few job postings in the field you're considering pursuing and rephrase the requirements and preferred qualifications as questions starting with "Can you...," as in: "Can you liaise with multiple parties to execute deliverables?" and "Can you develop strategic plans and negotiate with multiple stakeholders to meet goals?" and "Can you track projects and maintain an organized database of talent?" If you answer "yes" consistently, think about why. What have you done in your previous roles that makes you confident you'd be able to do what's required of you in this new capacity? Those are your transferable skills. Any other skills you have -- even if the majority of your job was devoted to employing them -- are irrelevant as you transition.
2. Present your skills. When you're transitioning to a new side of the industry or a new career entirely, you'll need to contextualize your resume more than usual so that hiring managers get a clear understanding of how you're qualified for a role. For example, if you've been a freelance field producer for years and are now looking for a full-time role in development at a network, you have to help the hiring manager look beyond your title -- recruiters and executives don't necessarily know what a field producer does. Return to the job posting, and for every skill you answered "yes" to, mimic the language the posting uses and craft your bullets accordingly. If the posting requires someone who can pitch original show ideas to networks, you should have a bullet that says something along the lines of "Pitch segments and storylines to EPs and network executives." Is it an exact match? No. Did the bulk of your time in the field actually involve directing cameras and wrangling talent, with the occasional pitch thrown in? Maybe. But it doesn't matter -- if you can pitch, you can pitch. If you can come up with storylines, that's development. You'll likely have to overhaul your resume to make it fit your new goals, but that's okay -- it's worth taking the time to get the job you really want.
3. Tell your network. Most jobs come from referrals, especially at mid or senior levels. But if the people in your network know you in one capacity, it would be weird for them to recommend you for jobs they don't think you'd be interested in! Tell everyone you know that you're looking to make a move, and be specific. People are more likely to help you when you connect the dots -- "I'd love to get into the ad sales or integrations department of a cable network" is a better trigger than "I want to move into marketing." If your existing network isn't ideal for your new career path, start making new connections! Use LinkedIn to connect with people for informational interviews and turn one informational into another to grow your network in a new field. When the right job opens up, and a recruiter gets your resume from a referral, they'll know you're actually interested in the job and that someone's willing to vouch for your ability to do it. It may seem exhausting to network, but it actually doesn't take much more time or energy than applying for 50 jobs a day and feeling sorry for yourself.
If you've gone through the posting and discovered that your skills are not transferable -- and let's be clear, most soft skills are -- then you probably need to learn something new! You can either decide to start at the bottom and take an entry-level job in the field or go back to school to earn a degree or certification. It's important to make sure you begin your new career well-informed, so we still recommend using your network (current contacts, alumni, community members, and LinkedIn) to schedule informational interviews with people in your field of interest. This way, you can see if their jobs really interest you and learn potential strategies for breaking in. Maybe someone will take a chance on you, but at the very least, you'll prepare yourself for how to accrue the skills you need.