Today’s Hollywood job market is tricky. Many people are struggling to find work – even extremely experienced and qualified candidates can stay on job hunt for months. It’s easy to get discouraged when this happens and start questioning your capabilities and worth. Maybe you’ve started applying for jobs that are below your current title. Or you’re starting to consider a job that would require a pay cut. If this sounds like you, it’s probably time to take an assessment of your job application process and then spend a bit of time doing some personal reflection.
If you’re having trouble finding a job, take a closer look at your job application materials and make sure you're presenting yourself in the best possible light. Are you afraid that putting down the full scope of your responsibilities or highlighting the scale of your achievements will sound like bragging? Trust us, it won’t. Plus, there are plenty of people who don’t think twice about bragging -- you don't want to undersell yourself comparatively. Give yourself credit for all the great work you’ve done and make sure it’s not getting buried with a bunch of irrelevant stuff -- you don't need to include every single thing you've ever done, but rather the most transferable skills for the jobs you're pursuing.
Even more importantly, don’t dumb your resume down for lower-level jobs! If you’re taking off achievements to make yourself look more appealing for jobs below your pay grade, you’re applying for the wrong jobs. You wouldn’t be happy in those jobs even if you got them. Instead, aim high. Apply for jobs at your level and above your level – you never know when someone will take a chance on you. But you’ll never have that chance if you don’t reach for the stars.
And if you’re considering a pay cut, think really hard about what effect this will have on your lifestyle. We believe there are very few instances when a pay cut makes sense. Are you considering it because you’re frustrated, or is this actually a job you’re extremely passionate about? Chances are, if it’s the right fit, the employer will try to match your current salary. Ask for what you believe you’re worth. And don’t let that number in your head drop because you’ve been looking for a job for a long time.
Even if you’re doing everything right, it might not be that easy to find a job. But that’s a reflection of today’s job market – it has nothing to do with the value you bring to the table. Remember this. Think back on all you’ve accomplished in your career, and remind yourself regularly of the things you’re proud of. Write them down if you need to. Self-affirmation is important during a difficult job search, especially because it will convince you to keep trying for the jobs you really want. And you deserve that job – don’t forget it!
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
It’s already October?! The year is flying by! If you’re thinking about finding a new job for the new year, you should probably begin getting your application materials ready and doing some research. It may seem premature, but you'll get the best results if you start now. Here's why:
1. You still have time to build some key relationships. It’s not ideal to ask someone you’ve just met for a job. But if you can set up some informational meetings in October and November before everyone starts to check out for the holidays, you’ll be able to establish a rapport without begging for a job in your first meeting. Plus, you can count this as recon – you may get some insight about what roles might be opening up in January. So build your list of dream companies and start reaching out ASAP!
2. The holidays are a great time to reconnect. Make a list of all the people you want to get back in touch with in the new year. You’ll want to send them some sort of holiday greeting before or after the Christmas break. When doing this, you’ll often hear about new job openings, so you’ll want your application materials to be ready to go whenever they’re asked for. Plus, don’t you want to relax over the holidays instead of stressing about who you forgot to email?
3. You’ll be ahead of the curve when January rolls around. We always get a flurry ofresume orders during the first couple of weeks of January. Everyone is looking for a job in the new year, and this is often when lots of great roles open up. Imagine if instead of rushing to get your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date, you could spend your time researching job openings and being one of the first to submit your resume. Your January will be far less stressful than others’, and you’ll have more time to spend on getting yourresume into the right hands.
Three months might seem like a long time, but in reality, you only have a few usable weeks left in the year to get prepared for your 2020 job hunt. Remember, it takes time to put all the puzzle pieces in place to successfully land a new job. Get started now – you won’t regret it!
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Hollywood Resumes' Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan were interviewed by Hollywood Hustle podcast about breaking into the entertainment industry -- we shared our own career stories along with tips for how to search for jobs, build a network, and craft a strong resume and cover letter.
Listen to the full episode here, or on your favorite podcasting platform! We also helped cohost Daniel Tuttel revise his resume on the spot in a fun bonus preview episode!
Ah, summer reading. Whether it’s your high school’s cadre of classics like The Scarlet Letter or Invisible Man, or an editorial’s best beach reads replete with Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner’s latests, something about the summer makes us want to read, read, and read some more.
And if you work or want to work in the entertainment industry, there are certain books you must read. We have a full list of our favorites on the resources page of our website, but we wanted to highlight a few top picks for you to add to your bookshelves this summer!
FOR INTERNS AND ASSISTANTS: The Hollywood Assistants Handbook is a quick and easy guide to becoming a kick-ass assistant in Hollywood. It’s funny, accessible, and co-written by Peter Nowalk (creator of How to Get Away With Murder) -- so you know his tips work!
FOR TV HISTORY BUFFS: Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield takes you back to Thursdays on NBC, before there were a zillion streaming platforms and 500 shows in “peak TV.” This insider history of the broadcast network at its height will not only take you down memory lane, but educate you on how the TV business works. Another interesting read that will give you a better sense of how theHollywood studio system operates is DisneyWar by James B. Stewart.
FOR LA NEWBIES & RECENT GRADS: For good measure, you should probably read The Mailroom by David Rensin, the book every person employed in the industry read when they were first starting out. For something a little broader and more fun, check out Adult Stuff: Things You Need to Know to Win at Real Life by Matt Moore and Robert Boesel. It’s cheeky but helpful -- full of hard truths about what it’s like to have student loans, a low-paying job, and live in one of the most expensive cities in the country. Adulting is hard! Cuddle up with it when you need that fun friend who just gets you.
FOR ANYONE WORKING IN TELEVISION: What the heck is a rating? No, seriously...for something that makes or breaks a TV show and is responsible for the livelihood of hundreds of people, you’d think we’d all have a better understanding of it! The TV business is complicated, but Chad Gervich breaks it down in layman’s terms in Small Screen, Big Picture.
FOR STORYTELLERS: Save. The. Cat. Seriously, if you’re a writer, development executive, producer, agent, manager -- or aspiring to be any of the above -- you need to understand storytelling and specifically, storytelling within a screenplay. There are a ton of books that do this, but none more tried, true, and easy-to-read as Blake Snyder's Save The Cat. This is the screenwriting book you’ll pull off your shelf on a regular basis throughout your career for quick dose of inspiration and sanity.
FOR INSPIRATION: Speaking of inspiration and sanity, sometimes you need a book that’s a little less “How To…” and a little more “Someday, that’ll be me!” We have a tie here, and it was hard to narrow this down to two. But there’s no limit to how much you can read!Created By is a great anthology of interviews with TV creators. It’s an inside look into how different writers mastered their craft and some behind the scenes stories from some of your favorite shows. Our other favorite is Sit, Ubu, Sit. You may remember that as the vanity card from Family Ties -- but it’s also the title of writer/showrunner Gary David Goldberg’s memoir. When you’re pondering how you’ll ever make it in the industry, just think about a man who lived in his van, struggling beyond struggle, but went on to create beloved TV shows and movies. Plus, there’s a dog in the story! And if you follow us on Facebook, you know we’re big dog fans here at Hollywood Resumes!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan