When it comes to social media, LinkedIn is typically viewed as the go-to job search platform. And it's definitely a great resource! But it's not the only social platform you should be using. In Hollywood, Facebook is one of the most helpful tools for finding jobs, and more importantly, finding someone who has an in at the company that could get your resume into a real person’s hands.
Even if you've dropped off of Facebook in favor of trendier social platforms or because of concerns about their policies or social media overuse in general (for the record, it's totally fine to use social media however feels good to you in your personal life), we recommend keeping a Facebook profile for the purposes of networking and job searching (whether or not you are searching at this very moment). Here’s why:
Facebook groups are one of the best ways to learn about new opportunities. There are Facebook groups for just about every aspect of the entertainment industry, and you’ll probably fit into many of them! For the most part, these groups have replaced tracking boards as a source of information, including job postings. There are groups for all job types and levels (assistants, executives, writers, crew, producers, etc.), and if you just search your job title or the type of content you work on (or want to work on), you’ll surely find a group of peers that already has a conversation going around your line of work. You’ll likely have to share some credentials with the moderators to be accepted, but once you are in, you will see job postings come through frequently, often directly from the source!
Facebook groups make networking easy. The most active Facebook groups usually have multiple posts added per day, not just job postings. Often, people post to source a key piece of information or a contact, announce a big achievement, vent about an industry issue, or simply ask for advice. As a result, members have an opportunity to engage with each other in a very natural way. If you are in one of these groups, get active! Like and comment on posts, especially those where you feel you can offer support or advice. The more your name pops up in the group, the more of a reputation you will build for yourself as an informed member of the community. And this could lead to some offline relationships as well. But the nice thing about it is that you don’t have to get all dressed up and meet someone for drinks. It’s a way to stay on top of what’s going on, learn new things, and help out your peers, and this will only help you with your long term job prospects.
Facebook makes it easier to maintain professional relationships. Much like LinkedIn, it’s a good idea to friend your professional contacts on Facebook. But because people use Facebook differently than LinkedIn, Facebook provides an opportunity for you to get a glimpse of your contacts’ personal lives and connect on a separate level. The more you engage with the content they post (in a non-creepy, genuine way), the easier it will be to connect more overtly when you have business (like a referral for a job!) to discuss.
Facebook is a good platform for self-promotion. Your contacts are probably equally curious about what you're up to, and sharing your professional achievements on Facebook can be a great way to help them keep track of you! Plus, the platform is designed to promote major life events, like a new job. You can also share new project announcements, interviews, articles, and anything that features good news about you or your company. It gives people a reason to reach out to you and can keep you top of mind for a long-ago contact or friend who's hiring. This is a great way to get noticed for a job without even searching for openings yourself.
All of this said, if you want to use Facebook professionally, make sure your account looks professional, isn't too polarizing or political, and any photos are appropriate.
-- Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan
You’ve heard that your resume should be more than a list of responsibilities -- it's a story that explains why you’d be great for the job you’re applying for. But a lot of our clients struggle with what belongs in that story, especially when they're trying to convey results and accomplishments. Should you craft a bullet point about the time you saved the production $25K by switching to off-brand snacks for crafty? What about the new spreadsheet you designed to make reporting more effective, because your boss was using post-its to track everything instead of Excel? Is it relevant that you rolled calls for three bosses, one of whom had a serious temper? How much information is too much information?
We often see candidates make the mistake of listing their key skills and illustrating them with overly specific highlights like the detailed anecdotes above. Doing so often makes your resume harder for a hiring manager to parse through and may feel redundant. You'd do best to save some of this more nuanced information for the interview.
On your resume, you should focus on the big picture -- what are the key takeaways that will match the skills listed in the job posting? In the above examples, you might say “Managed production budgets and implemented cost-saving solutions,” “Created new tracking system,” or "Supported three executives." Or you can take it a step further by including top-level results: "Implemented cost-saving solutions that saved $25K." Alternatively, you may want to add a little more context about how you did something: "Created new system for tracking project submissions using Excel." But you'd want to avoid: "Converted supervisor's post-it reminder system into an Excel submissions tracking system to increase departmental efficiency." See the difference? Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. It's a waste of valuable resume space and makes you sound silly.
But don't discount all of these great stories and accomplishments -- even if they don't belong on your resume, they're still very important! Save them for the interview. When you're asked about an achievement you’re particularly proud of, your biggest strengths, or how you managed a challenging situation, use these anecdotes as examples to bolster your argument.
It can be frustrating to look at your resume and not see the full picture of who you are as a worker. No one wants to be boiled down to a one-page document that relies on bullet points and white space! But it’s important to remember that your resume is step 1 of your job application. You can supplement it somewhat with a cover letter, but the real moment to shine is the interview. Your resume should be simple, concise, and effectively communicate that you would succeed at the job you're applying for -- the last thing you want is for a hiring manager to get overwhelmed by the details and miss the bigger picture of your capabilities.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
In Hollywood, your network is your key to success. The best way to find jobs is through referrals, and even once you're in a job, your network will help you generate new business. If you're worried you don't have a strong network, we have great news for you: Your network is bigger than you think it is, and growing it can even be fun! Here are six ways you can go about cultivating your network:
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
The best way to get your resume from the bottom of the stack into the "must interview" pile is to highlight the right skills the hiring manager is looking for. While there's no one-size-fits-all resume that will work for all roles within the entertainment industry, there are some skills that many Hollywood jobs require, regardless of the position. You should always match your resume to the job posting to make sure you're reflecting the appropriate skills and verbiage, but there are a few basic elements you'll likely want to include on your resume in some form or another, and these differ based on your experience level. Here's a breakdown of what you should highlight at various stages of your Hollywood career:
For an intern, most hiring managers want someone who is smart, reliable, and eager to learn, and this can be conveyed in many different ways on a resume. But once you’re ready for an assistant position, your resume needs to change -- there are some very specific skills that should be on your resume if you want to get an interview. In particular, administrative duties like answering phones and scheduling must be included. Although they seem like menial and easy tasks, they will be the core of your job as an assistant, and your potential boss will want to know he's going to be covered if he hires you. It’s all about proving that you know how to manage a desk. If you’re going for PA roles, phones won’t matter as much, but ordering lunches, going on runs, and setting up equipment are going to be important. There’s a good chance you’ve acquired those skills during college or an internship – don’t leave them off. Even if you've developed more advanced skills through campus leadership, other work experience, or student film productions, make sure the primary focus is on your ability to handle administrative duties and organizational tasks, so your boss knows you'll be committed to the job at hand and not immediately looking to jump into a higher-level role.
Obviously, mid-level roles are a lot more varied and specific than entry-level roles, but there are a few things to pinpoint that pretty much all hiring managers will want to see. The main ones fall under the category of communication skills – showing your ability to cultivate relationships and manage projects by interfacing with a wide range of stakeholders is key. You'll also want to highlight the moments when you took initiative and your achievements. Make sure you call out the big projects you've worked on (or better, led), clients you've brought on, shows you've sold, or workflows you've implemented to provide evidence of your successes. To land those mid-level jobs, show that you will be able to keep projects running smoothly but will also bring added value to the company.
If you’re looking for VP and department head positions, our advice for mid-level jobs still applies, but on top of that, you’ve got to prove your management and leadership skills. Part of that is supervising teams – often, you’ll develop those skills in mid-level roles, but now is the time to show that you have mastered it. But beyond people management, you have to think about cultivating and implementing the overall vision for the department, project, or company. What projects in your past have forced you to think strategically and from a big-picture POV? You’ll also need to note if you’ve managed budgets, since most senior-level roles involve managing project budgets, salaries, and vendor contracts. As long as you aren’t breaking confidentiality agreements, it can be good to reference budget ranges on your resume when they are relevant to the job you are applying for. Additionally, senior leaders are often the face of the company during both internal meetings and externally. If you have a way to showcase public speaking skills or that you’ve represented your company at pitch meetings with high level buyers, these are good things to include on your resume.
Please note that this is simply a general guide to get you thinking about what types of things might go on your resume -- it's up to you to get specific and tailor the resume to the posting at hand. And remember, it's impossible to encapsulate the entirety of your career on a one or two page resume, so it's best to highlight the skills that are going to be valued most. Then, when you’re ready to level up, you’ll need to overhaul your resume again – for instance, you'll want to lose the assistant skills on your mid-level resume and likely remove those work experiences altogether for your senior-level resume. Think of your resume as a working document that will change frequently to help you get the specific job you’re applying for, and you'll get hired soon enough!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan