Let’s face it: Keeping up with your network can be really hard. Most of us just don’t have enough time to go to drinks with our contacts every week or attend networking events regularly. If you can make time for those activities – great! But if you can’t, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can keep in touch with your contacts without even leaving your house. Here are our top five:
1. Track the trades. If you’re reading the trades regularly (always a good practice!), you’ll likely come across news about people you know or the companies they work at. If you see something interesting or exciting – a promotion, a new project acquisition, or a sale – send a congratulatory email. It’s nice to be nice! So often we think about how we can use our contacts to help us, but the truth is, real relationships are fostered by mutual appreciation. When you have that moment of, “Good for Jane! I’m so glad her pilot got picked up!” tell her!
2. Use social media. If you see one of your contacts post something on social media – especially if it’s about work – engage with the post. Watch the trailer of the work they shared and comment on it or share it. Congratulate them on their “major life event” of getting a promotion. Like their step and repeat photo. You probably won’t establish meaningful relationships exclusively on social media, but it’s a great way to stay in light touch with someone.
3. Share your own news. Whether on social media (including LinkedIn) or emails to your close contacts, you can share the exciting things happening in your professional life. If self-promotion isn’t really your thing, you can still do a version of this that feels comfortable for you, like reaching out to a contact to let them know you just started a new job and would love to connect about potentially collaborating together.
4. Connect around the holidays. The holidays are a very natural time to get in touch with your contacts. Send individual emails or cards to your contacts to wish them well for the new year and share a bit about what you’ve been up to. You may not get responses from everyone, but well-wishes are always welcome
5. Share interesting content. If you read an article or watch a movie that reminds you of a conversation you had with a contact or seems up their alley, share it! Depending on how close you are, this can be a text, email, or DM. Don’t overdo this – you’re not a news aggregator – but if your contact told you they’re looking for true crime stories to adapt, and you read a super interesting true crime story in The New Yorker, send them the link!
One thing to remember here is to treat your contacts as actual human beings. In fact, we don’t really like the word “contact,” since it implies that you don’t have a real relationship. Once you start thinking of those in your network as people who you respect and whose company you enjoy, it becomes easier to reach out. Remember: We’re all just people working in a highly social business!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
You’ve heard us say it before, but in Hollywood, it’s hard to get a job by simply submitting your resume through a job portal. In this competitive industry, you’ve got to take an extra step to get your resume into a real person’s hands. In fact, the majority of positions are filled through referrals, as hiring managers like to mitigate risk by hiring candidates who have been vetted by their contacts first. Even if you have great application materials, you’ll be at a disadvantage to those who've found an “in” at a company. So, how do you become the person with the “in”? Here are four strategies we’ve found effective:
1. Build your network. Regardless of whether or not there is an immediate position of interest, you should work to build your network to increase the chances that you will know someone who knows someone the day your dream job opens up. Request informational interviews, attend networking mixers, get in touch with your college alumni network, and build strong rapport with the people you currently work with, both in and outside of your organization. This piece is key to getting your resume into the hiring manager’s hands and will make your career easier in general. But onto more immediate strategies…
2. Tell your friends. If you are looking for a specific type of role, tell your friends that you are on the hunt. You never know when they’ll have heard of something that just popped up, and while it’s not always fun to talk shop with your friends, they are the ones who will look out for you. If you’re hunting for a new job, get in the habit of mentioning it in conversation.
3. Use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the perfect resource for finding out who knows who at a particular company. If you haven’t cultivated a strong LinkedIn network, use the “People You May Know” tool to build up your connections to at least 500. This will increase your chances of having a second-degree connection with someone. It’s usually relatively easy to identify a hiring manager or member of the department with the open role on LinkedIn, and you can work from there to try to find someone who can refer you directly to the recruiter or hiring manager. If you don’t find a 100% clear cut connection but have a friend that might know someone at a company of interest, reach out and see if you can find some sort of path to send your resume down. And don’t stop at one person – if you find multiple ways into a company, leverage them. The more people advocating for you, the better. But if you really can’t find any connections to the company…
4. Try cold outreach. Cold outreach can be hit or miss, but it’s worth a shot if you’re applying for your dream job and don’t have other options. Just be strategic with who you are reaching out to – if you send a cold email to someone in the IT department and are looking for a development job, they don’t have much incentive to pass your resume along, even on the off chance that they did know the person hiring. In this case, you need to target recruiters or feel pretty confident that you know who you’d be reporting to. You can find email addresses or email formats through tracking boards or by googling “@companyname.com press release.” Just be very clear, professional, and polite in your email, and don’t get upset if you don’t hear back. Note that cold emails are rarely effective if there isn’t an available role.
Keep in mind that sometimes, these strategies won’t work. But you’ll find that you have a lot more success at securing interviews if you can take the extra step of getting your resume into a real person’s hands.
-- Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan
When it comes to social media, LinkedIn is typically viewed as the go-to job search platform. And it's definitely a great resource! But it's not the only social platform you should be using. In Hollywood, Facebook is one of the most helpful tools for finding jobs, and more importantly, finding someone who has an in at the company that could get your resume into a real person’s hands.
Even if you've dropped off of Facebook in favor of trendier social platforms or because of concerns about their policies or social media overuse in general (for the record, it's totally fine to use social media however feels good to you in your personal life), we recommend keeping a Facebook profile for the purposes of networking and job searching (whether or not you are searching at this very moment). Here’s why:
Facebook groups are one of the best ways to learn about new opportunities. There are Facebook groups for just about every aspect of the entertainment industry, and you’ll probably fit into many of them! For the most part, these groups have replaced tracking boards as a source of information, including job postings. There are groups for all job types and levels (assistants, executives, writers, crew, producers, etc.), and if you just search your job title or the type of content you work on (or want to work on), you’ll surely find a group of peers that already has a conversation going around your line of work. You’ll likely have to share some credentials with the moderators to be accepted, but once you are in, you will see job postings come through frequently, often directly from the source!
Facebook groups make networking easy. The most active Facebook groups usually have multiple posts added per day, not just job postings. Often, people post to source a key piece of information or a contact, announce a big achievement, vent about an industry issue, or simply ask for advice. As a result, members have an opportunity to engage with each other in a very natural way. If you are in one of these groups, get active! Like and comment on posts, especially those where you feel you can offer support or advice. The more your name pops up in the group, the more of a reputation you will build for yourself as an informed member of the community. And this could lead to some offline relationships as well. But the nice thing about it is that you don’t have to get all dressed up and meet someone for drinks. It’s a way to stay on top of what’s going on, learn new things, and help out your peers, and this will only help you with your long term job prospects.
Facebook makes it easier to maintain professional relationships. Much like LinkedIn, it’s a good idea to friend your professional contacts on Facebook. But because people use Facebook differently than LinkedIn, Facebook provides an opportunity for you to get a glimpse of your contacts’ personal lives and connect on a separate level. The more you engage with the content they post (in a non-creepy, genuine way), the easier it will be to connect more overtly when you have business (like a referral for a job!) to discuss.
Facebook is a good platform for self-promotion. Your contacts are probably equally curious about what you're up to, and sharing your professional achievements on Facebook can be a great way to help them keep track of you! Plus, the platform is designed to promote major life events, like a new job. You can also share new project announcements, interviews, articles, and anything that features good news about you or your company. It gives people a reason to reach out to you and can keep you top of mind for a long-ago contact or friend who's hiring. This is a great way to get noticed for a job without even searching for openings yourself.
All of this said, if you want to use Facebook professionally, make sure your account looks professional, isn't too polarizing or political, and any photos are appropriate.
-- Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan
In Hollywood, your network is your key to success. The best way to find jobs is through referrals, and even once you're in a job, your network will help you generate new business. If you're worried you don't have a strong network, we have great news for you: Your network is bigger than you think it is, and growing it can even be fun! Here are six ways you can go about cultivating your network:
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan