If you’re thinking about making a career transition out of entertainment, chances are you fall into one of two camps: either you’re worried you’re not qualified for anything, because all you’ve done is work in entertainment, or you’re super confident that you can switch to any role in any industry, since you’ve successfully navigated years of Hollywood nonsense. However, both of these mindsets can derail your job search.
If you feel under qualified, take a step back and think about the micro-tasks you did over the course of your career. If you had a successful screenwriting career, you did more than just write screenplays – you came up with ideas, drafted pitch materials like decks and treatments, presented your ideas to a room full of executives, developed relationships with key stakeholders across the industry, implemented notes, and adhered to deadlines. You can take those skills to virtually any kind of writing or editing role, like content marketing, communications, or copywriting. Or you can stretch your imagination further, to totally different roles, like research or sales. This holds true for virtually any job – instead of thinking about your work holistically, think about what you actually did day to day and how you might replicate that in another field. You develop professional skills in any role, and your unique perspective may be just what potential employers in the new industry are looking for.
If you fall into the second camp, we applaud you for your confidence! However, there are plenty of jobs out there that require specific expertise, whether that’s training or work experience. Obviously, being a talented production manager doesn’t mean you can be a surgeon. But even though you’re incredibly gifted at drafting budgets and schedules with unattainable parameters and lots of egos and pressure doesn’t mean you can automatically fall into a tech project management role without any upskilling. You’ll probably need to take a course in Agile project management, learn some software, and maybe even learn basic coding principles. You might be able to handle the creative aspects of marketing, but you likely won’t get a job as a brand manager where you’d be dealing with intricate analytics, setting KPIs for campaigns, and driving sales. You could certainly acquire some of these skills with courses – Coursera and LinkedIn learning have great free and paid options – but you’ll waste a lot of time, energy, and confidence applying for roles that are too unrealistic.
The key to making a successful career transition is to clearly establish what you want to do, understand the skills you bring to the table that will resonate with potential employers, and cultivate the necessary additional skills to fill in the gaps. If you know who you are and recognize your value, you’ll be able to communicate a convincing case to potential employers with just the right amount of confidence.