You flick on the TV. As you settle in to watch your favorite show, a little voice nags in the back of your mind... “Shouldn’t I be productive? Shouldn’t I revamp my resume so I can apply for a new job?”
Sure, if you watch TV or movies 100% of the time, you won’t get too far in your career. But, considering that you’ve opted for a career in entertainment, watching content is a part of the job. And not just any content -- your favorite shows can help you during your job search.
Well, if you’re up to date on your favorite shows, you’ll be ready to talk about them in an interview. During an entertainment industry interview, you will almost always get asked to name your favorite shows and movies and what you're watching now. And there's nothing worse you can do than answer that question with, “I don’t really watch many TV shows or movies.” A close second is naming a show and not being up to date on it. Imagine you tell your interviewer that your favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy, and it turns out she's also a fan. If you’ve answered this question honestly, this is the perfect situation -- you can geek out about the latest goings-on of Grey-Sloan and turn the interview into a casual conversation, a great way to make interviewer like you. But if you've missed the last three seasons and can't contribute to the discussion, you’ll have lost the interviewer’s trust. You'll never have this problem if you watch tons of TV -- if you spend enough time watching content, you'll likely have multiple favorite shows to pull from that you could speak about intelligently in an interview.
And yes, binge watching your favorite shows can serve as great interview preparation, but this practice is useful on a broader level as well. When you have a good sense of the content landscape, you'll have a clearer picture of the kinds of content you like, and this can help you narrow your job search. When you watch your favorite shows, take note of who produced them and add those companies to the list of employers you’re interested in working for. Many Hollywood hopefuls move to LA and cast a wide net -- they're trying to get a job at any company in the industry, regardless of what content the company produces. In our opinion, that should be a last resort strategy. Your initial focus should be on finding a job that will help you grow into the the kind of role you always dreamed about. A narrower job search will allow you to focus on cultivating a targeted network, plus you’ll find it easier to write cover letters and connect with interviewers who share your enthusiasm. And once you get the job, you’re a lot more likely to enjoy your role. If you never watch sci-fi movies, why would you want to spend 60 hours a week reading sci-fi scripts as a development assistant? You have to consider what will really make you excited about going to work every day, and watching TV and movies regularly can help you find that passion.
Isn’t it great when something most people think of as an indulgence can actually boost your career? Next time you get sucked into a Netflix binge, settle in and enjoy it guilt-free -- after all, it’s getting you one step closer to your dream job.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan