At Hollywood Resumes, we obviously value careers -- we know there's a lot of joy and fulfillment in working in a role and industry you love, which is why we love helping our clients prepare the materials they need to secure their dream jobs.
But in times like these, you may need to remind yourself that your career isn't everything.
It's fair to say that most people are facing some work-related challenges right now. To all the essential workers: THANK YOU. We know most of you don't get paid a typical "essential" salary, and we see you, appreciate you, and hope that this cultural shift will lead to greater recognition for the work you're doing. And if your work is considered "non-essential" -- let's dwell on that for a minute. It doesn't mean your work is not important or of no consequence, but the categorization is a good to remember that we work to live, not the other way around. Sometimes, it's okay to put your career on the back burner.
If you find yourself out of a job, you're understandably concerned. After you figure out the fundamentals of how to support yourself and your family, you may start to worry about your long-term career. If fear that your career has been completely derailed starts to creep in, take a deep breath. There's no benefit from worrying about things you can't change. When you're back on the job hunt, hiring managers will understand what happened -- the memory of coronavirus isn't going to fade any time soon. If you need to take a part-time job to pay the bills, don't worry about how it will look on your resume down the road or if it's good for your career -- take the job and pay your bills. If you have other ways to stay solvent, take this time to focus on other areas of life, like connecting with the people you love (from afar), engaging in your hobbies, giving back to your community, and practicing self-care. If having a career plan will help you feel calmer, you can start to research companies and roles that interest you and update your resume, but it's also totally okay if you're not feeling up to it -- the world has, in a sense, pressed pause on "career" right now, so take advantage of the time to focus on other things.
Similarly, if you're working remotely but have very little to do, or are still getting paid but can't actually "work" remotely, don't sweat it. You don't need to invent projects for yourself or find extreme ways to stay on top of your boss's radar. Everyone understands that certain jobs are slower now, and no one is going to blame you for the downturn. It's okay to do household chores, learn a new skill, binge-watch a show, and have marathon Zoom calls with your pals from college. And certainly, if you are sick or caring for someone who's sick, take the time you need to get better or care for them. You don't want to waste precious moments doing busy work. Save your energy for the things that matter most in life: your health and happiness and that of the people you love.
If your work is piling on and you're feeling up to peak performance, by all means go full steam ahead! But remember that just because you're working from home doesn't mean you're suddenly on call 24/7. You should make an effort to keep to your normal hours. And if you're not feeling up to peak performance, that's understandable, too. Take a close look at the work you're doing: Is there anything that's actually not that important? Would you really be doing every single project you're working on right now if you were back in the office? Make sure you're putting your health (physical and mental) first. Take sick day if you need one. If you're caring for a sick relative or have young children at home and you need to take on more errands/housework than usual, tell your boss. Even if if you're just plain overwhelmed by your proximity to the grimness of illness and death, give yourself a break. If you really think your boss would fire for you not being on your A+ game during a pandemic, it's probably time to question whether you still want to work there. Because now more than ever, career isn't everything.
Your career will still be viable when this pandemic ends. Now's the time to lean in to the more essential aspects of life. Put yourself first, and do what it takes to stay healthy and happy!
Have you ever been at networking drinks and felt intimidated when the person you were meeting with started name dropping all the people he’s been working with or all the insider info he had about the industry? You probably felt inadequate and worried that you were way behind everyone else in your career with no hope of ever catching up. Maybe you started to question your decision to work in entertainment. The truth is, we’ve all been there…and it’s not a great feeling. But the even bigger, yet more secret, truth is that the person across the table often feels the exact same way. So before you get totally down on yourself, remember that you’re not alone -- very often, the other person is faking it.
Impostor syndrome is very real, and it can become even more pronounced in Hollywood where you’re contending with tons of big egos. Many people feel the need to brag about themselves, often as a defensive mechanism or because it’s a strategy they think will help them close the deal. And even though their behavior may not make you feel very good about yourself, there’s nothing you can do to change it. Instead, you need to assess your own reaction and whether or not you’re being too hard on yourself.
Think about it -- it’s not possible to watch every show, read every article and book, keep up regular relationships with every person you meet, go on networking drinks every single night, and give your 100% at work. Even if you try, you'll let other areas of your life slip, which is not only unhealthy but also counterproductive to working in an industry where stories about the human experience are at the core of the business! So you do what you can. And so does everyone else. You’ll have your areas of expertise, and others will have their own. Whether you realize it or not, sometimes you might even be the one who sounds intimidating, depending on who you’re meeting with. You are never alone in this feeling of inadequacy. That simple fact should help ease your discomfort.
But let’s take it one step further. Reminding yourself that others are in the same boat might calm your nerves, but when you're feeling down, you should give yourself a confidence boost as well. Instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, remind yourself of what you do know. What are some of your favorite accomplishments? What are you really good at? What subject could you consider yourself an expert in? Write it all down if you need to or tell your story out loud while you're stuck in traffic, and use it to reaffirm your self-worth.
You bring your own unique value to the table -- never forget that. Yes, you’re going to have inevitable moments of self-doubt, often the result of your interactions with others, but to succeed, you’re going to have to get through them. And the only way to do that is to celebrate your achievements and knowledge and give yourself the confidence to continue pushing forward.
Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Let’s face it: Some days, even if you love your job, you want to do more. You want to live beyond your desk, your inbox, your projects, and your coworkers. This is especially true when you don’t love your job. It can be hard waking up every morning, shuffling to the office, and focusing on a goal you’re just not feeling any more. So what can you do about it? Glad you asked! We’ve found that having an extracurricular activity outside of work not only boosts your mental health, but can help make you more productive at work, yield connections you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, and yes, even enhance your resume.
First off, volunteer work or a side hustle can help you develop some great leadership skills that might otherwise be reserved for your superiors at your current job. For example, if you were to join the planning committee for a nonprofit’s annual gala, it would teach you fundraising skills, how to negotiate with vendors, and digital marketing strategies. You never know when those types of skills might come in handy at work, but more importantly, they'll likely expand the types of opportunities you're qualified for when you start exploring other jobs.
Okay, sure, but isn't that also work? What about an extracurricular that's just totally fun, without the stress of volunteering, endless committee meetings, and time commitments? Yup, that's great too -- it’s actually still beneficial for your career if you pursue a hobby. Let's say you enroll in a dance class. In addition to burning off calories and steam, you’ll likely make friends. And maybe your new dance BFF’s roommate works at your dream company and can refer you when there’s an opening! The more you expand your social circle, the more you expand your professional network -- and the best way to get your resume into the right hands is through a contact who really knows you ... AKA a friend.
I get it, but how is this stuff going to boost my actual resume? Well, your extracurriculars are fair game for the experience section of your resume if you're learning transferrable skills, but even those purely fun activities can be useful. We’re big fans of including an interest section on your resume to help prospective employers see you as a person, not just a list of skills. This way, a hiring manager can potentially relate to you -- maybe they dance too, or they volunteer with a similar charitable organization. Or, maybe your hobby is so interesting that they’ll want to bring you in to learn more about it -- like you play Quidditch, collect airline miles, or have run marathons in 12 cities.
Expanding your life beyond your desk is better for you as a person -- which makes it better for your career. The workforce hasn’t been taken over by robots (yet), and hiring managers are looking for happy, well-rounded people. So be happy, and take advantage of the added value your hobbies will contribute to your career!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
So you’ve been on a desk for three years and are confident that you’re a rockstar assistant. Your boss never yells at you anymore, and you’re even getting regular praise from him. Is it time for a promotion? Maybe. But being a great assistant isn’t going to be enough to get you there. Good assistants are a dime a dozen -- after all, there are plenty of career assistants who have been doing this way longer than you have. If you really want that promotion to coordinator, you’re going to have to stand out in a bigger way.
The first thing to remember as you’re striving for a promotion is that you need to figure out how to get noticed for higher level skills -- phones and calendar management are no longer relevant once you've moved up. Look at the job responsibilities of the person one level above you and start taking some of them on (this could work out very nicely if that person is also trying to get promoted -- she may be willing to hand off some of her duties to make room for her own higher level assignments). Find things that are outside the realm of administrative duties and learn to do them well. Maybe you’ve never been asked for your thoughts on a script or project, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share your opinion. At the very least, you could read/watch the content and have your notes ready to go in case someone asks for them. But if you have a really strong point of view and have cultivated your taste by reading and watching a lot of content, you may be able to impress a higher-up by offering your feedback in a humble way, even if you haven't been asked. Just keep in mind that you shouldn't offer unsolicited feedback until you have established a very solid rapport with your supervisor.
Secondly, you should find ways to take initiative. If you see a problem with the way things are run on your team, fix it. This could range from implementing some type of new organizational process that improves efficiency to generating a competitive report that will allow your department to develop content that will stand out in the marketplace. You could even find new projects or talent to bring in -- no one is going to stop you from getting coffee with potential writers or directors that could help make your team’s product stronger. If you can come up with a list of concrete accomplishments that are the result of you taking the initiative to get something done on your own without being asked, it will be hard for your boss to argue against a promotion.
As you develop yourself professionally, remember: You CANNOT let your current responsibilities slip. Your work as an assistant is essential to the daily functioning of your department, so administrative errors will be more noticeable than any achievements you may be making outside of your pre-defined role. Wait until your assistant duties have become second nature before trying to take on extra work. Your boss will recognize that you’ve put in your time and that you’re capable of handling a heavier workload, and only then will you get your promotion. And if there's no room for growth at your company, you can always position yourself to level up at a different company with your newly cultivated skills.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan