LinkedIn has changed a lot over the years, and while it wasn’t the best fit for entertainment professionals back in the day, it’s increasingly effective for our industry. That is, if you know how to use it! Here are 5 ways you should be using LinkedIn to boost your entertainment career – whether or not you’re currently looking for work.
1. Fill out your profile. If you want recruiters or potential professional contacts to find you, you’ll need to spend some time filling out your profile. Since LinkedIn is a social media site first and foremost, you’ll want to write in first person and include details and anecdotes that you won't find on a resume or professional bio. The tone of your profile should be inviting and authentic. The specifics of what you’ll include will vary depending on how you want to use the site – if you’re looking for a new job, you’ll want to have each section filled out thoroughly, but if you’re balancing two career paths, you may want a leaner profile. Regardless, it’s a good idea to make sure your roles are up to date and your skills section reflects your relevant skills. And don't forget to add a picture!
2. Engage with your newsfeed. Your LinkedIn newsfeed can be a treasure trove of valuable information. For example, you’ll see when someone you know gets a new job – and if that new job is at a company you’d like to work for or do business with, you can note that you have a connection there and reach out when it’s appropriate! Similarly, people often post job openings at their companies before the posting goes wide to source people from their networks. This is an open invitation for you to get your resume directly into the hiring manager’s hands. It’s also an opportunity for you to pass along a posting that’s potentially helpful to one of your contacts – paying it forward is an essential element of being a good networker. To that end, your newsfeed will also give you a heads up when a contact has an exciting announcement or was featured in the news – all excellent opportunities to reach out and nurture your relationship. Of course, you should be posting updates about your own career as well!
3. Follow companies of interest and public personas. Your newsfeed is populated by more than just your human contacts – it’ll also highlight posts from company pages and people in the public eye. This is a great way to keep your pulse on the industry. Maybe you want to follow a journalist whose industry insights you really appreciate. Or an analytics company that posts regular breakdowns of the state of the industry. Or a company you’d love to work for that posts relevant news and project updates. LinkedIn is a great aggregator for this content, but beyond that, you’ll have the opportunity to like and comment on these posts and potentially build online connections. This is especially important for job seekers – if you follow a company on LinkedIn and engage with its content, the hiring team will be able to see you’re really passionate about the work and not just applying willy nilly. Note that some companies also have a feature where you can express interest in working there in the future, which we highly recommend, so you can show up in recruiters’ feeds more readily.
4. Use the platform as a research tool. Our industry is small, and it’s likely you’re only a few steps away from the connection you’re looking for. Whether you’re trying to find a contact who can refer you to an open role or hoping to meet someone at a company you’d like to do business with, you can use LinkedIn to find them. Type the company name into the search bar, and you’ll see a list of your connections, starting with first-degree contacts (people you already know), followed by second degree contacts (people your contacts know). You can see who the link is to your second degree contact and ask that person (via email, not LinkedIn message!) for a warm intro. Similarly, you can browse your close contacts' connections to see who they may be able to introduce you to.
5. Find job openings. This is the most common use of LinkedIn – applying for jobs. LinkedIn’s algorithm is scarily on point, if you know how to teach it. If your profile has strong keywords that match the roles you’re targeting, LinkedIn will recommend appropriate roles. The platform will also tweak its recommendations based on what you search for and click on – we see this unfold in real time as we personally get recommendations based on whatever roles our most recent client was targeting. You can also set up job alerts for specific companies and role types. But one thing to keep in mind – avoid the “easy apply” feature. If you have the option, send a formal resume to the company that’s tailored specifically to the role – which your LinkedIn profile won’t be.
We know it's a lot of work to keep up with LinkedIn on top of your job, personal life, and other social media activity. But if you can dedicate just a little bit of time to at least some of these steps, you'll see that it can have a big impact on your career!
These days, it seems like a new round of layoffs is being announced almost daily across big media companies. There are a lot of emotions you may be experiencing if you've been impacted, and that's totally normal. But getting laid off doesn't mean your career is over! Here are some steps you can take to make the best of your situation and get back on your feet quickly.
Let your contacts know what happened. There's nothing to be ashamed of if you've been let go -- corporate decisions are about bottom lines, not performance. As soon as you learn about a layoff, you want to tie up loose ends on any current projects and make sure all your contacts know how to reach you. Remember, the relationships you've built through your work are yours to keep even after you've been let go. Most people will be extremely understanding, empathetic, and generous after hearing about a layoff. Send an individual email to every person you had a current project with -- internally and externally -- and let them know that you enjoyed working with them and would love to stay in touch. Next, do the same thing for all contacts you've worked with previously while at the company, your closest industry contacts, and anyone in your network you are hoping to get back in touch with -- a layoff is actually a great opportunity to reignite old relationships! If you already know what you want your next career move to be, include it in the email, so your contacts can keep an eye out. This process can take up to a week to complete, but you’ll be amazed at the generosity you’ll encounter. Expect your calendar to fill up with lunches and coffees very quickly after you send your emails, and try to have your resume ready for anyone who offers to pass it along.
Take some time to relax. If you were working at a company that was forced to cut their staff, it’s likely because things weren’t going well for that company. You probably felt that stress at work on a daily basis, and maybe you were starting to get a bit burned out. Before bouncing back to a job search, it’s a good idea to take a couple of weeks to relax (or more if you got a great severance package) – travel, hike, spend time with your family and friends, catch a middle-of-the-day gym class -- whatever you enjoy that fits your budget. It will help you start to get over any resentment you have about the layoff and let you approach the upcoming job search feeling refreshed.
Set some targets. Without a full-time job to worry about, now is a good time to step back and assess your career. Are you happy with the path you were on, or is it time to try something new? If you’re going to explore a career transition, you’ll need to spend a lot of time doing research on the new path, maybe even working with a career coach to figure out what that path should be. This step could take a couple of days or a couple of months, but you should come out with a very clear direction for yourself. With some targets in mind, you’ll be able to approach the job search much more effectively.
Update your application materials. Though revisiting your accomplishments from your previous role may sound like a surefire way to experience bitterness, try to take a moment to remind yourself, once again, that your layoff is a reflection of the company, not of you. Now is when your work will be freshest in your mind, so it's a good idea to write down all the projects you worked on and any results you were proud of. This exercise will serve as a great basis for your resume, LinkedIn profile, and future job interviews, and the sooner you can complete it, the more detailed it will be. Once you've taken stock of your work and set your sights on what's next, update your LinkedIn profile and resume to align with your goals. We recommend starting with LinkedIn, since it can be used as a networking tool. You’ll want to update your master resume as well, but be ready to make changes to it as you tailor it to each job posting.
Take advantage of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an amazing resource for general job searches and networking, but it really shines as a tool if you've been laid off. While your initial round of emails should have kicked off the networking process for you nicely, announcing your layoff on LinkedIn will generate a bigger response from your wider network. The best version of this LinkedIn post includes the news that you've been impacted by the recent layoff, an acknowledgement of your positive experiences at the company (your team, anything you learned, projects you're really proud of), and a clear call-to-action about what you'd like your next step to be (e.g. "I'd love to continue working in comedy development;" or "My passion lies in helping clients produce compelling marketing content, and I'm excited about the growing opportunities in the metaverse. I'd love to land in a client-facing role at a company looking to expand its VR/AR capabilities."). You'll likely see many likes and comments roll in, all of which will help your visibility to recruiters. Because layoffs are so common these days, you may also see posts in your newsfeed from contacts looking to help people who are affected -- there are even some spreadsheets of recently laid-off workers at some of the larger companies that have circulated across the platform. If someone you know posts a job opening or other offer to help job seekers impacted by layoffs, take them up on it! Additionally, make sure to toggle on the "open to work" setting on your profile so recruiters can find you. As always, you can start to more aggressively pursue informational interviews at companies of interest once you have some clear targets in mind and have an updated profile, and you can use LinkedIn to find the right people to make warm intros. Once you have your network working for you, the rest should start to fall into place. Just make sure you are doing everything possible to get your resume into a real person’s hands when you actually start applying for open roles. And most importantly, don’t get down on yourself about the layoff! It's not your fault and you're not alone in this experience. If you are strategic about pursuing your goals, you’ll be back in the game in no time.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Your LinkedIn headline is a really important part of your profile. It's the label that will show up in search results and encourage others to click to see more. Don't skip over this step by assuming you should just use your job title. Rather, you should customize your header based on what you're using the platform for – establishing credibility as a leader in your field, looking for a new job, generating business leads, etc. Here are some tips for writing a strong headline.
First, consider how you want to brand yourself. What’s the most concise way to describe yourself that will help you achieve your goals on LinkedIn? If you're using LinkedIn to generate leads for your current company, it may make sense to lean into your title, and if your company is well-known, including its name can help, especially with search results. If you work in multiple areas, you can use your headline to indicate the different aspects of your professional persona and showcase why your interests complement one another (think: Writer-Producer and Board Member of Non-Profit X / Passionate about Impact Storytelling). If you're openly searching for a job, you can use your headline to indicate the kinds of opportunities you're seeking and use keywords to show why you'd be right for those types of roles (for example: Marketing Producer & Social Media Expert Seeking New Opportunities).
Then, consider what you want to show up in search results. What will the people you want to see your profile be searching for? Who among your peers do you want to show up alongside? Include specific keywords that are going to help the right people find you in a search. Avoid making your headline too long, but make sure the important info is there.
As always, you want your headline to feel authentic to your voice, so do what feels right for you. Look at the headlines of others in your field to get some ideas. What headlines are appealing to you, and what headlines turn you off? That should be the biggest indicator of the right direction for you. After all, this is your profile, and you're in control.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
LinkedIn is a social media platform, which means that it’s meant to showcase your authentic professional self! When using LinkedIn, you want to write in your own voice, so others can understand what it’s like to do business with you, and ideally, get a little insight into the "why" behind your career choices. Here are a few style tips for crafting an effective profile:
1. Write in first person. On Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and any other social media platform, you're posting as yourself, so why should LinkedIn be any different? It’s best to use complete sentences to describe yourself and your experience on LinkedIn and write in first person. This will allow you to write as if you were speaking to someone directly and sounds the most natural and authentic. Remember, you want to come across as friendly and easy to do business with.
2. Avoid sounding too sales-y. Even though you might use your LinkedIn profile to generate business or catch a recruiter's attention, it’s not meant to be the voice of your business or replicate your resume. Help readers understand why you are passionate about your work and what your main strengths are, and they’ll want to work with you. Don't fill up your profile with marketing copy – save that for your website.
3. Expand beyond what’s on your resume. LinkedIn is the place to dig into your passions and interests and share anecdotes about what you enjoyed about your previous projects. Because you have more space than a one or two line bullet point, you can actually share interesting stories and achievements that wouldn’t make sense on a resume. These can give context to what’s on your resume if you are actively searching for jobs, so you want to make sure this personal branding tool is supplemental to your other documents – not a copy-paste of your resume.
4. Consider your target audience. Who do you hope is clicking on your profile? Write to those people! If you’re applying for jobs, include what the hiring manager wants to hear. If you are seeking new clients or business partners, who do you think they want to work with? Make sure you are covering the appropriate topics and writing in a tone that appeals to those people.
Keep in mind that the amount of detail you go into on LinkedIn is specific to you. Write whatever feels natural to your personality, and you’ll be on the right track!
-- Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan