So you’ve been an assistant for a year or two, and you feel ready to make the jump to coordinator. But for some, that next step feels like an impossible hurdle. It's very common for Hollywood hopefuls to get stuck in assistant positions for years, but that doesn't have to be you. If you plan carefully, you can get the promotion you deserve.
But that’s the key: deserving it. Type “entitled millennials” into a Google search, and before you get to the second “l” of millennial, you’ll find an autofilled result for “in the workplace.” Now, as hardworking millennials ourselves, we’re not big fans of that stereotype, but we do understand it exists and have seen entitled folks of all generations think they deserve a promotion simply based on the length of time they've spent at a job. In order to convince your boss that you’re worth a title bump and a raise, you’ll need more ammunition than, “I've worked here a while, I’m bored, and my rent is high.”
Luckily, you can prove you’re capable of a coordinator title before it’s ever offered to you. Simply take the initiative to do coordinator-level tasks, even if they aren’t requested. You'll have to do some badass multitasking, since you can’t let your assistant duties slide, but it’ll be worth it (and you might even learn something!). Start compiling grids, obsessively read the trades so you can share hot casting or pickup news, offer your opinions on scripts, and ask for an intern so you can showcase your management skills. As you volunteer for tougher projects, always keep a passionate smile on your face instead of letting the overwhelmed assistant blues sink in.
After you’ve proven that you can do more than answer phones and schedule meetings, set a meeting with your boss and go over your accomplishments. Print out a list of all your responsibilities, and make note of the tasks you have taken on that are above your pay grade -- if you can clearly make your argument on paper, it will be hard for your supervisor to claim that you aren't ready to move up. And then, ASK FOR A PROMOTION. If you don't ask, it won't happen -- no one is going offer you a promotion out of the blue, so don't be shy.
If there’s room for you to move up in the department, you'll most likely get the promotion, and your boss will hire a new assistant (maybe even that intern you positioned so well earlier). It's also possible that you’ll get the title and/or pay bump, but you'll still have to handle assistant duties, and that’s okay -- at least you’ve made some progress and can leave with a higher title if you ever decide to move to a new company.
But sometimes, things don't work out quite as nicely. You may be denied a promotion because there's someone in line for coordinator ahead of you, or your boss may be too short-sighted to realize just how much you contribute to the team. If so, you should start looking elsewhere for your title bump -- there’s no sense in answering someone’s phones if it’s not going to lead you somewhere. But don't think you have to take another assistant position at this point. They may be a little harder to come by, but you should apply for coordinator-level positions at other companies -- try not to make a lateral move. For example, two years as an assistant at a network can easily be leveraged into a coordinator role at a production company. Just make sure you update your resume to reflect the coordinator duties you took on in your previous position. If you're qualified and deserving, someone will eventually take a chance on you.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan