Are you one of the many entertainment industry professionals that works primarily on a freelance basis? If so, you may have experienced some frustration when trying to craft your LinkedIn profile. When you've got a list of 20 credits, it's really hard to align your experience with a LinkedIn template. Your instinct might be to keep your profile as thin as possible, and that’s certainly an option -- but if you’re looking to transition from freelance to full-time, if you’re pursuing jobs outside of the industry, or if you’re looking to build more of an online presence, you’ll probably want something more robust.
There are a few ways to go about this, but the key is that the most important information must be at the top. Meaning, your professional summary is critical in setting up your work history and goals. Highlight a few key skills and achievements in this section, and consider name-dropping your most impressive credits. If you're looking for a job, you can say so, or take a moment to note what type of content you're most passionate about. Many people won't read past your summary and first couple of entries in the experience section, so make sure this part shines.
As for the experience section, if you’ve primarily worked on projects that might not have name recognition, you can organize everything by job title or job function -- i.e. "freelance story producer." In each section, you can list credits and your main job responsibilities. It's also helpful to give a little description of the projects for context.
If you’ve worked on notable content, you’ll want to highlight those bigger credits more clearly. We suggest putting your job title and the show name together as your “Title” (for example, Story Producer, REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS) and the production company name as the company. Your instinct might be to include the network here because it’s more recognizable, but don’t! By linking yourself to a production company, you’ll become more searchable when people look for connections at that company, and you’ll pop up as a suggestion to more people you may know. Too many people work at a network or studio for that to be useful for you.
When it comes to dates, you’ll want to lump all seasons of any given show together, even if there’s overlap. Your profile will be too long and confusing if you separate each season of a show as its own job and intersperse those credits with jobs you took over hiatus. If you’re seeking entertainment industry jobs, you can rest assured that people understand the seasonal nature of your jobs -- and if you’re looking outside of the industry, you just need to be clear in your job descriptions.
Often, freelance job descriptions will get repetitive, because you’ll have been hired to do the same thing on multiple shows. We find it’s best to include some top-level skills in your first few jobs and offer some highlights about working on the show. But as you get deeper into your work history (and into the “Show 5 more experiences” section of your profile), it’s okay to get more fragmented and just list high level information about the show itself.
Overall, don’t let the LinkedIn template freak you out. Your freelance experience is no less valuable than that of someone working a more corporate job -- it just takes a little more creativity and finesse to display online!
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Think creating a LinkedIn profile is as simple as copy-pasting your resume into the online platform? Think again.
Though both your resume and your LinkedIn profile are marketing tools you can use to secure a new job, they serve slightly different purposes. Your resume is a quick, at-a-glance recap of your work history with a few select responsibilities and achievements highlighted. It functions best as a direct response to a job posting, where each of your bullet points reflects the listed qualifications. Your resume should be tailored to each job description and should tell only the story that’s necessary to prove you can do the job you’re currently applying for.
A LinkedIn profile, however, is a more complete overview of your professional expertise and career history. Sure, you can use your LinkedIn profile to apply for jobs, but you can (and should) also use it to attract the attention of recruiters, connect with your professional network, and supplement the story you tell in your resume. Your LinkedIn profile should be written conversationally, and you should supply more background about what you do day-to-day, any specific achievements you are proud of, and why you’re passionate about your career choice. Think of it as an extended version of your resume, mixed with a more detailed version of a cover letter, plus some fun highlights that you might share elsewhere on social media.
If you choose to replicate your resume in your LinkedIn profile, it’s not like anything bad will happen, but you will miss out on the opportunity to show some personality and give hiring managers a better view of the well-rounded person you are. We highly recommend taking the extra time to craft your LinkedIn profile -- it will allow you to utilize the site to its fullest extent.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
An informational interview is one of the best networking tools you can use during your job search. But how should you go about setting one up?
The ideal way to set up an informational interview is through a referral, where one of your contacts introduces you to someone he knows via email, and the two of you set up a meeting from there. Sometimes this will come about as the result of a casual networking conversation or drinks with a friend, but you can also be proactive about setting up informational interviews. Identify the top companies you want to work for and target people at those companies for potential meetings. LinkedIn is a great tool for figuring out who you know that could refer you to someone at a company you're interested in. Because they allow for someone to vouch for you, you'll have the most luck with setting up informational interviews via referrals, so use this strategy as much as possible.
However, you probably won’t want to ask the same contact to refer you to a ton of people (unless that person is more of a friend than a contact), but you can build your network quickly by turning each meeting into another one. For instance, if you ask a question in the informational that someone in another department might have a better answer to, ask for an introduction when you send your thank you email. Or, if you really hit it off with the person, you can ask if he knows anyone else you should be meeting with. You’ll build a long list of contacts if you can keep up this pattern. But be cautious not to ask for the next meeting until you've built a solid rapport -- no one wants to feel used or mined for their Rolodex.
What if you don't know anyone with a connection to someone at your dream company? There's no harm in sending a cold email -- the worst thing that could happen is that you get ignored and never have the meeting, which is the exact same outcome as if you had not reached out at all. See if there's anyone you can email that you have an organic connection to, even if it's thin -- maybe you share an alma mater or are both members of a certain professional organization. If that’s a challenge, you can always email someone blindly and hope that they write back. As long as you're professional and courteous, there's nothing to be afraid of!
One final thing to remember -- put the other person's priorities ahead of your own. Shift your schedule so you’ll be able to meet them at their preferred location and time. The last thing you want to do in setting up an informational interview is to pose any inconvenience to the other person – after all, they’re doing you a favor.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
If you’re currently employed and looking to make a career move, you might be finding it tough to fit applying for jobs into your schedule. It’s hard to give your all at your current job while staying on top of all the new job postings that come out each day. And there’s no way around the fact that an aggressive job search strategy is going to consume a significant amount of time and energy. But, there are a few practices that you can put into place that will help you make the job hunt just a little more manageable. Here are three tips for you to consider:
1. Target your search. Your goal should not be to send out 50 job applications a day. Doing so will decrease the quality of your applications. Go for quality over quantity instead. If you can make a list of 10-15 companies (or fewer!) that you’re really interested in and focus the majority of your energy mining the career pages, reaching out to recruiters or hiring managers, or making contacts at those companies, you’ll be making the best possible use of your time. Obviously, the goal is to find a job that you’re passionate about, and a very targeted job search is the way to do it.
2. Create a schedule. Set aside time for job applications and create a routine that you can stick to. Divide up the 10-15 companies on your list and tackle a few each day. For example, perhaps you visit the career portals for companies 1-5 on Monday, 6-10 on Tuesday, and 11-15 on Wednesday, then spend time on Thursday looking up various job lists and checking LinkedIn. If you don't see any openings you’re interested in on a particular day, spend time searching LinkedIn for employees who might be able to sit down with you for an informational interview.
3. Let the internet do some of the work for you. Getting automated job alerts delivered directly to your inbox is a great way to save time. Many companies’ career pages have an option to sign up for job alerts, so check if any of the companies in your top 15 have this feature and implement it immediately. If that's not an option, you can set up a Google alert to conduct these automated searches for you. Finally, LinkedIn is very useful for identifying potential opportunities, often at companies you hadn’t considered before. You can create saved searches through LinkedIn with specific search terms, and the site will email you daily with openings that match your keywords. Set up a few different alerts with relevant phrases and see what comes up. Even better, when you start clicking on the positions that interest you, LinkedIn’s algorithm will further refine your search results, so be sure to check the “Jobs You May Be Interested In” page regularly (in addition to your email alerts) to maximize your chances of finding a cool gig.
Keep in mind that a strong network is going to be a big part of making the job search less time consuming—a direct email from an employee notifying you of a job opening is going to save you the time of digging around on the internet, and it’s the most efficient and direct way to get your resume into the right hands. So even if you aren’t seeing great opportunities every day, you can still spend your time networking with the right people, and when that perfect position opens up, you’ll be first in line.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan