The assumption of the corporate ladder is that once you’ve figured out how to do a certain role yourself, you’ll be able to manage others when you get promoted. But managing people is a very unique skill set, and many people find themselves ill-equipped to manage a team when they first get that opportunity. Some people figure it out -- but a lot don’t -- hence the fairly common complaint about incompetent bosses and supervisors.
There are many different management styles, each with their pros and cons. And while it’s unlikely that you’ll be a super effective manager just from reading this newsletter, here are five things to keep in mind as you develop your managerial skills:
1. You have to do your job. Unless your job is 100% team oversight, don’t think you can let your primary responsibilities lapse because you now have a team eager to prove themselves. Delegating tasks is all well and good, but you still need to do your own job. It can be really tempting to pass along the tasks that bore you to someone below you who can’t seem to say no, but don’t take advantage of your power. You can encourage your direct reports to grow by allowing them to take on more senior responsibilities, but if something is above their pay grade -- i.e. at your pay grade -- don’t force them to do it unless you’re prepared to pay them for it! And make sure you’re still carrying your weight. Just because your development coordinator is great at giving notes on sizzle reels doesn't mean they should manage the whole slate -- you should still handle a few projects exclusively.
2. You don’t have to do your direct reports' jobs. We’ve all had micromanaging bosses. The kind of person who proofreads every email you send, who complains if your organization system differs slightly from theirs, who, when you ask, “How do you want me to structure this presentation?” responds with “Run with it! Let’s see what you come up with!” and then hands you a laundry list of very specific, taste-oriented notes. Don’t be that person! Give your employees clear instructions, answer their questions, and if the work is satisfactory but not exactly how you’d do it, let it go. If you let your team do their jobs, you’ll have more time to do yours -- and more time to lean into innovation and growth for yourself and your company.
3. Give constructive feedback. A major part of your job is helping your team get better at what they do and encouraging their own professional development, so you’ll need to give them feedback when they make mistakes or could use improvement. But not all feedback is created equal! One of the best ways to give constructive feedback is a compliment sandwich (a genuine one, or it backfires). Start by acknowledging something good about their work, whether it’s about the work itself (“I think this is a great first start to the sizzle. I like the pacing and tone!”) or about their approach (“I really appreciate you spending so much effort on this cut.”). Then, offer feedback. You may think “I statements” belong here so as to be non-confrontational, but they can actually come off as micromanage-y and evoke the response of, “So why didn’t you just do it yourself then?!” Instead, be direct. Something like, “It’s really important that this sizzle showcases all eight of the characters equally, and it looks like Jane Doe is getting less screen time, while John Doe is dominating the cut.” Or “We need to make sure we hit our deadline for the network. I’ll need to see a rough cut by the end of the day in order to have time to give my notes.” Then, end on something positive -- you can reiterate the previous compliment, add a new one, or offer an encouraging piece of advice. And always say thank you! For example, “As you think about cutting down John’s screen time, make sure you keep the moment that's 30 seconds in -- it’s gold, and I can tell you have a good eye for buttons. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing the next round. Thank you!” or “It’s awesome that you want to get it done perfectly the first time, but no first cut is perfect. I’m impressed with what you’ve come up with, even if it's rough around the edges! Thank you!"
4. Manage the difficult situations. This is where the truly good managers separate themselves from the rest of the pack. As a manager, the most important part of your job is to step in when there’s a difficult situation that your employees can’t handle on their own. This could be a toxic person on the team who needs to experience consequences for their behavior or managing a client who is taking advantage of your employee. If your team is starting to complain about clients, workload, or expectations, it’s up to you to figure out what’s bothering them. Are you advocating for them to get raises now that your business has grown, and their jobs along with it? Are you standing up for them when someone in another department asks them for a “quick favor” that’s beyond their scope of work? Typically, your employees won’t speak up until things get really bad, and by that time, you’ll be seen as part of the problem. On the other hand, if you can anticipate your team’s needs and show them you have their backs, they’ll be happier -- and a happy employee is a productive employee!
5. Remember that your employees are human. You may find it frustrating that Sally needs a day off for food poisoning the same month she's scheduled for a week-long vacation. It might irk you that Mitch's kids keep interrupting him with virtual school questions. But as long as your team isn’t violating your company’s policies in a major way and they get their work done, let them live their lives. A lot of managers give themselves leeway once they reach a position of power and then get angry when their employees have needs outside of work. Some managers are the opposite -- they’re workaholics who expect everyone to put career first. But consider that most people work to live, and if they don’t have a good work/life balance, they’ll find a new job. If you have a good team, retain them by respecting them. And to that end -- company fun should happen on company time. If you want to do team building exercises or holiday parties, good on you! But don’t take away people’s weekends or weeknights with mandatory “fun.”
Overall, an effective manager knows how to read people and empathize with them. When in doubt, turn to the work version of the golden rule: Manage others as you would have them manage you.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
To help meet our clients' needs, Hollywood Resumes is now offering career coaching services! We offer three types of coaching services:
1. Career Coaching Sessions -- These hour-long sessions are personalized toward your career goals. During our free 30 minute consultation, we'll come up with a coaching plan for you and recommend the number of sessions we think you'll need to help you achieve your career goals.
2. Interview Coaching Sessions -- In these hour-long sessions, we'll conduct a virtual mock interview. Beforehand, we'll send you a packet of instructions to help you prepare, and then we'll conduct a 30- minute interview as if we were the employer, followed by 30 minutes of feedback and practice.
3. Assistant Coaching Program -- This four-session program is designed for entry-level employees and applicants seeking to build their assistant skills, including phones, scheduling, tracking projects, story evaluation, and navigating the Hollywood hierarchy. We'll customize this program depending on your career goals and background.
So, why have we started this service?
As much as we enjoy helping our clients craft their resumes and cover letters, we know that strong application materials aren't always enough to get you hired. You also need a clear vision of the type of role you're looking for, an understanding of how your skills make you qualified for those roles, and a job search strategy that will get your resume into the right hands. Looking for a job can be scary and lonely in the best of times, and with the new anxieties brought on by COVID and the 2021 economy, those feelings are compounded. But a career coach can help you get out of your own way, give you tools to create an effective job search, and help hold you accountable. A career coach is someone who can listen to your frustrations with the job search and design a program based on proven exercises and strategies to help you unlock your own potential.
Not every job seeker needs to work with a career coach, but there are many reasons why it might be right for you. We've rounded up a few of the most popular:
1. You're not happy with your current job/career path, but you aren't sure what other fields might make sense given your background.
2. You love working in entertainment, but for personal reasons are considering moving to an area that doesn't have a large industry presence, and you aren't sure what types of jobs will interest you or what roles you're qualified for.
3. You're unemployed and want to take this opportunity to discover if the career path you're on is the one you want to stay on, or if there are other jobs that might have more hiring/growth potential.
4. You know what job you want, but you're not sure how to conduct your job search or haven't had luck in your current job search.
5. You know what job you want, but you aren't sure you're qualified for it, and you don't know what steps to take to build your qualifications.
6. You like your job but have stopped growing in it, and you aren't sure how to take the next step toward growth, either internally or externally.
If any of these sound like you, you may want to consider our personalized coaching service, which includes a free 30-minute consultation call. Most importantly, know that you are not alone in your job search, and you won't be stuck in career limbo forever. You got this. And we're excited to help!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
This week is the five year anniversary of Hollywood Resumes! We’re so grateful for all the loyal readers talented clients who have supported us over the years. As we enter our sixth year in business, we’ve taken some time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the past five years. Here are a few trends we’ve noticed.
1. Many job seekers aren’t aware of their value. We’re often told that our consultation calls feel like therapy sessions, because we spend so much time digging into achievements and asking what our clients are most proud of, allowing them the opportunity to articulate their value and describe what they're really looking for in their next jobs. We've been surprised by how many clients don't see how much they bring to the table until we call out a particular achievement as worthwhile. "It's no big deal," or "Do people really care? I was just doing my job!" are common refrains. But it's this information that allows us to highlight the unique skills and biggest strengths of each client -- and back it up with hard evidence in their resume bullet points. These conversations also give our clients a confidence boost -- for many, it's a rare chance to be seen and heard. It’s shocking how many people are applying for jobs below their skill levels, and it’s because they’ve stopped fully believing in themselves. If this is you, consider making a list of accomplishments and use that as the basis for your job search.
2. Most job applicants either oversell or undersell themselves on their resumes. When we get incoming client resumes, we usually either see pages of dense text that no one will ever read, or sparse bullet points that don’t give readers much context about previous positions or highlight relevant achievements. It's our job to find a balance. We talk to our clients to figure out what their unique skills are and understand the full picture of their career trajectories, and then whittle that down based on what’s relevant for the specific roles they’re applying for. You can do this, too -- going back to the point above, you need to fully recognize your accomplishments and realize your value. Then, you have to take the extra step of sharing only the information that the hiring manager needs to see. The result is a clear, concise resume that may not include every little thing you’ve ever done, but it will prove that you’ve got what it takes to do the job you want.
3. Challenging career transitions are extremely common. A significant number of our clientele are people who are transitioning into entertainment from another industry, trying to move into an unfamiliar role across the industry, or trying to leave entertainment for a different sector. And on top of that, they’re trying to do that without having to take a significant pay cut. Many of our clients feel alone in these pursuits, but trust us -- five years of clients has proven otherwise! Here’s more good news: Hiring managers also recognize that not every person has had the perfect career trajectory. Yes, you’ve got to convince someone to take a chance on you. But remember, you have the advantage of a unique career path and a fresh perspective. Highlight it!
4. Non-traditional candidates have some of the most interesting job applications. Many people come to us because their experience doesn’t align perfectly with the jobs they want. They're often nervous that hiring managers won't take them seriously, but we see it differently -- these candidates know what they want and are willing to make risky career moves to pursue their passions. Beyond that, the experiences they may view as a drawback are often what will make them stand out from the crowd. Imagine what a Home Depot worker might know that they could bring to a personal assistant position supporting someone with a big estate. Or what a mom of five could bring to a job as a talent wrangler dealing with difficult celebrities. Or what a branded content producer could bring to a lifestyle network trying to reach a new target audience. It's all about finding the way to spin your story to make the connections for the hiring manager. When you do, you’ll have a much stronger application.
5. The job search takes effort. Our clients are pretty awesome -- we’ve gotten to know some incredible people over the years and heard some fascinating stories. Everyone has something special they bring to the table, and that’s what makes this job so exciting for us. However, there’s one thing our clients share: a commitment to bettering themselves and advancing their careers. Hiring a resume writer is one piece of that -- it’s evidence that our clients are investing in themselves. But passion for the work is really what predicates success -- those clients who have a clear vision for their careers are able to target their job searches and focus their energy on the jobs they really want. And on top of that, their enthusiasm sets them apart during interviews. If you want to succeed in this industry, you’ll have to take an active role in your job search.
But the biggest thing we’ve learned over the past five years? We love helping our clients! We’ve worked with so many talented people who we know will make a difference through their work and contribute great art to the world. So we thank you for that, and we look forward to serving you through 2021 and beyond
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
It's 2021...finally! But let's be real. You might be dating important documents differently, and there's a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine, but the stresses of working in 2020 are still here. We're so used to planning fresh starts at the new year, but that's a lot harder to do when you're not sure what day of the week it is anymore. Should you even bother making resolutions this year?
Yes, but they might look a little different. Here are five career-related resolutions for your job in an uncertain year.
1. I resolve to...know what I can and cannot control.
If 2020 taught us anything, it's that we can't take anything for granted. But that doesn't mean we have no agency -- it simply means we have to know what our limitations are. You can't control the job market -- whether you've been actively looking for work since last March, graduated jobless into a pandemic, or are gritting your teeth working from your kitchen table at a job you can't afford to leave, know it's not your fault that there's very little hiring going on. But that doesn't mean you should kick up your feet and wait until the economy ticks back up. Instead, think about what you can do. If money is tight, is there a part-time or freelance gig you can take on? If you can hang on a little longer, is there professional development you can do, like taking a course or filming a short? Now's the time to get your resume and LinkedIn profile into tip-top shape, to set some professional and lifestyle goals, and to reach out to your network to let folks know you're looking.
2. I resolve to...figure out what work/life balance means to me.
We're not going to be working remotely forever, but for the next few months, it's likely to be the norm. Now's a good time to think about the overall vision you have for your life, at least in the near future. Do you miss the office? Do you love working in your PJs all day? Have you been going to set, terrified of catching COVID but equally terrified of losing your income, or loving that your job gets you out of the house and working with a team? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but life usually gets in the way of us really reflecting on them. Work culture and work/life balance are huge factors in overall job satisfaction, but we usually focus our career trajectories on other things, like whether the company is prestigious, or the salary is competitive, or the title is sexy. But right now, we have a rare opportunity to consider the way our jobs impact the rest of our lives -- think about all that has happened over the past few months and use that information to make a plan for your future.
3. I resolve to...keep my hobbies.
Did you bake sourdough bread in 2020? Take up knitting? Read every Shakespeare play? Do yoga every morning? We invented new ways to entertain ourselves when the world shut down, and some of those things should stick around, even when everything's back open. We always encourage clients to include an "interests" section on their resumes, as it shows hiring managers that they're more than just a robot who can do a job, but rather an interesting human with unique qualities. We've learned about some pretty extraordinary hobbies over the years, like urban dog sledding, airline mileage collecting, and gemology. But most people get deflated when we ask this question during our consult. "What do I do besides watch TV and work?" is a common refrain, uttered by people we know wish they gave themselves permission to explore other interests. Keep giving yourself permission to do the things that you discovered in 2020. Not only because it'll make your resume stand out, but because you'll be happier.
4. I resolve to...stay engaged in civic action.
If a global pandemic wasn't enough for a year, the civic unrest and political engagement in 2020 was historic. So many of us found ways to get involved in our communities in myriad ways, whether through volunteer work, protesting, phone banking, reading/learning, or even raising awareness on social media. It may be difficult to keep that momentum going when you're back to regular life, but it's not impossible. There are so many reasons it's important to stay engaged in the causes that are near and dear to your heart, whatever they may be. But one you may not have considered is how volunteer work or civic engagement can help your career. Your network grows when your community grows, employers like interviewing well-rounded candidates, and you may be able to get involved in corporate charitable giving or other work-based initiatives that help your cause. Don't think about civic engagement as something you can do when you "have time," because work priorities get in the way. There's always time -- and even a career benefit, if you need an additional reason -- for the things that matter in the world.
5. I resolve to...remember that I'm human, and so are my colleagues and boss.
Hollywood can be a toxic industry, and it's likely that you've worked with or someday will work with people who forget that we're making movies, not curing cancer (or COVID). When this happens, it's okay, vital even, to prioritize your mental health and humanity. You don't have to stay in an abusive environment because "someday the boss will be a strong reference." Similarly, practice outward sensitivity. Many of us have learned to be a little less strict with deadlines this last year after learning that a colleague's relative passed away from COVID, or to be more open-minded about employees who need to take a mental health day here or there. We've seen inside one another's homes on Zoom calls, we've learned about our coworkers' toddlers' potty training schedules, and we've seen our boss accidentally turn his camera on when he's wearing loungewear. This vulnerability is going to change the workplace in ways we don't fully understand yet. One potential upside is that we'll remember that the people we work with are people. Sure, some of them might be toxic or irresponsible. But most of our colleagues are just people who are doing the best they can to manage their work and home lives. Let's have 2021 be the year we embrace workplace empathy.
Whatever your resolution, we wish you health, happiness, and success in 2021!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan