Once a job posting is up, how much time do you have to apply before you lose out on that opportunity? The answer is that it varies depending on the role, where it was posted, and who is hiring. Here are a few guidelines that will help you figure out whether you need to drop everything and apply right away.
In Hollywood, the jobs that get filled the fastest are entry-level roles, specifically writers’ room support staff like writers’ PAs, writers’ assistants, and script coordinators. These are most often filled by word of mouth or by someone asking for referrals through a tracking board. Quite often, the person collecting resumes will say they’re no longer accepting submissions after 200+ resumes pour in over the course of two hours. Similarly, assistant positions on the UTA job list and similar job boards get inundated with resumes just hours after the post goes up, though you likely have an extra day or two to apply for those, as the competition won’t be as fierce if you have a very strong resume and cover letter (most applicants for those roles "resume bomb" the openings, and hiring managers tend to wait a beat to gather stronger resumes). If you're applying for any of these types of roles, make sure you have a resume ready to go. Luckily, most entry-level postings are pretty short, and you can usually send the same resume out time and again without tweaking it. Assistant positions are typically filled in about two weeks, often because an executive is about to lose their support staff and want to get someone in quickly. At larger corporations -- especially where temps or floaters are an option -- the hiring manager might take more time to find the right person. And regardless of whether a posting is “closed” or not, you can still be considered if you can find someone to refer you – a hiring manager would always prefer a candidate who has been vetted by someone they know over someone they don't.
Beyond entry-level positions, there's a lot more disparity. The hiring timeline for freelance crew roles can vary depending on when the production will start, but these are also typically quick turnarounds. The good news is that your "resume" for a production role will usually take the form of a credits list or Staff Me Up profile, which should be pretty easy to maintain and send out at a moment’s notice. A good rule of thumb here is to update your materials every time you start a new job, so you're ready to apply as soon as your show wraps.
In-house mid-to senior-level roles generally don’t require such a rush. Companies hiring for these roles have a very specific need they are hoping someone can fill, so they're going to spend more time finding the right candidate for the job and really invest in that person. If you notice that a job posting just went up, try to be at the front of the pack of applicants and submit your application materials that week, but even if the posting has already been up a couple of weeks, it’s likely that the position is still open. If it has been open for a month when you find it, do some digging to see if you can get in contact with a recruiter or someone at the company who can tell you if they are still reviewing applications. You'll want to tailor your resume and cover letter to the job posting, so it's clear to the hiring manager that you're a potential fit for the specific role and not just applying willy nilly. This is a pretty big mindset shift from entry-level roles, where you fire the same resume off to multiple jobs per week. A role that requires greater responsibility on the job also requires greater responsibility on the application side; it's more important to apply strategically than quickly. Take the time to read the posting carefully, revise your materials, and tap into your network for referrals.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan