Ready For Your Entertainment Job Search? Better Do This First

entertainment job searchNobody has ever said job searching is fun.

It could be exciting, it could be important and it should be a learning experience…but I’ve never heard anyone say that it’s fun.

And before you start imagining this blog post is about, ‘The secret to having fun in your job search’, it is not, because no one can work that miracle.

Job searches are often frustrating, demoralizing, emotional, embarrassing and anxiety-inducing. But the ending is worth it, because finding a job you love makes life better.

Fact.

Now that we’ve established the pain-points of job searching, and acknowledged we can’t really make it fun… let’s talk about what we can do. We can make it easier, with an easily executable plan to minimize the stress of the entertainment job search process.

You are at the precipice of your job search, ready to jump in, but before you do, take one step back from the edge and execute this 6-step plan.

A 6-step plan for getting ready for your entertainment job search Click To Tweet

1: Contact all of Your References

I have had this exact scenario play out three times in my career (which says something about my own intelligence, but that’s another story):

  • Get interview
  • Nail the interview
  • Get asked to provide references
  • Think, no problem, I’ve got plenty of people that will speak on my behalf
  • Return home to find out I have outdated numbers, emails or employment information for them
  • Scramble through panic-induced sweats to find their proper information

There is a better way.

Reach out to all of your references before you apply for a single job – let them know you are going to be looking for a new career and make sure they are still comfortable being a reference.

Unless you ran over their cat recently, this shouldn’t be hard to ask.

Matter of fact, sometimes just by letting your trusted references know that you are looking for a new career opportunity, you could bypass the entire job search process because they might know of an opportunity that suits you. Winner!

2: Update all of your Social Media Profiles (i.e. Get Rid of You Being Dumb)

The first thing hiring mangers or recruiters do if you pass their resume eyeball test is to check you out on social media.  Social media has made hiring so much easier, because many people are morons and basically advertise they are not worth hiring.

Your social media profiles are your advertisements, they are not fun toys to play with your friends, they are virtual, unfiltered resumes.

Post moronic things and you won’t get jobs. Post pictures of you doing keg stands at tailgate parties you won’t get jobs. Have a timeline full of racist comments, even if they were meant as humor between friends, you won’t get hired.

Simple.

Also in addition to your social media profiles, make sure you have a professional email address included on your resume. “Clever” ideas like 420alldaybaby@yourdomain.com are not very clever when you are still living at home with mom and dad sending out 20 resumes a day but never getting any responses. Hmmm.

If you do one thing from this post, do this: make sure your LinkedIn profile looks incredible. (And join our Entertainment Careers group)

3: Prepare for THE Question

I just read an article on Inc.com written by Lou Alder an executive recruiter for the last 36 years. Alder has been trying to identify the one interview question that would immediately determine a hire/no hire response from any and all recruiters.

entertainment job search

Seriously, do people look like this when interviewing?

After 10 years of research he believes he found it, and after spending some time thinking about it I think he’s spot on:

What single project or task would you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career to date?

As I sat back and thought about it from a personal standpoint, I was amazed at how deep this question dug and allowed you to either go in great directions if you are qualified or hold on for dear life if you aren’t.

Before you go on a single interview, ask yourself Alder’s question.

Answer it honestly; explore yourself and your accomplishments. And realize even if it never gets asked, it will prepare you for countless other inquiries which will be asked.

A big part of the interview process if knowing yourself very, very well.

4: Stimulate your Network

I’m a LinkedIn freak – I love it.

It’s professional, so I see less pictures of people’s cats, but also allows for just about any personality type to shine through.

One of my huge LinkedIn pet peeves is when someone approaching a job search sends out a blast to their entire set of connections and says something like, “If you know anyone searching for a talented, hard-working, enthusiastic (insert dream job) please connect me with them, because I know I can fill whatever role they have!”

Let me explain why this drives me nuts:

  • You have created this impersonal barrier between you and your network
  • You have made people feel bad for you, rather than inspired to help you
  • You seem desperate

Try this instead:

  • Search through your contacts and identify the influencers and the connectors
  • Reach out to them individually
  • Write them a personal correspondence
  • Ask for advice, not jobs or leads

People are more likely to help the less pressure is applied. And if they have a job opening they think you are qualified for, they’ll mention it without you asking.

No form letters, no blasts, an actual human conversation.  It’s more work, but by giving it a personal touch you’ve sent the message that they are worthy of your time and effort and that you could use their help, not just any help.

5: Know Who You Are Online

This relates to step 2, but is in fact different.

entertainment job search

Know how your name appears on Google, or get ready for negative consequences

Have you searched for your name online? Of course you have, everyone has, don’t be ashamed…you should! You have to know how you are represented out there, because you can’t afford to be dismissed for a job without cause because some fool shares your name.

Perfect example – if you search my name you discover a steroid dealer from Texas, who ran sites named Steroids.com, RoidStore.com and BuySteroids.com and I believe was arrested on multiple occasions.

Um, that’s not me.

But, I have on my resume that I have launched multiple sports websites…a lazy hiring manager could have put two and two together and assumed I was that guy.

You have to assume hiring managers have stacks and stacks of resumes for each job opening, depressing I know, but true. Now imagine they are looking for an easy way to filter people out, and shorten the stack. When they search your name online and come up with questionable results you may be filtered out for something that you haven’t even done!

You are probably wondering – what do I do if bad results come up for my name? Glad you asked, I have two ideas:

1: Acknowledge it early in the process. I’ve known for a long time that this steroid guy had my name and was near the top of all Google searches, so I’d bring it up rather than wait for a recruiter to discover it.

I’d blunt the force of each recruiters search by saying, “if you check me out online, just know I am not the steroid dealer from Texas.”

This simple sentence would always lead to a funny interchange and give me a chance to show my personality. By having fun with it, and acknowledging it, I crossed a barrier that could have been harmful.

2: Start guest writing on popular blogs. I won’t get into all the benefits of guest writing, but suffice it to say if you get published on popular blogs chances are you can knock down the bad results quite a bit. And recruiters aren’t doing more than a cursory search on you (i.e. page 1).

Once you’ve been published you can include links to your writing samples on your resume, which is impressive and adds to your skill set. Just remember to include a picture in any guest writer bio so a hiring manger can know who you are, and better yet, who you aren’t.

6: Explore Your Weaknesses

Begin reading job descriptions for the type of entertainment jobs that interest you and learn what skills are required. Once you know what employers are looking for, do an honest assessment of where you stand.

Don’t get too intimidated, job descriptions are ‘pie in the sky’, an ideal picture of what an employer wants. They know realistically they might not get all of it, so don’t let the list of requirements make you hide under the covers.

Once you have an honest assessment of where you are strong and where you are weak, make a plan to improve on your weaknesses.

For example, let’s say you wanted to work in radio, and the majority of the jobs that pique your interest require digital audio editing skills, but you have none.

Take a class!

There are online course on sites like Lynda.com that are relatively inexpensive and yet will get you up-to-date with technology quickly.

You won’t be a master before you start searching for entertainment jobs, but you will show initiative to hiring managers and that is often a differentiator between candidates – who wants it more.

Now you can put that skill on your resume, and in the interview process have the opportunity to say something like: “I noticed many jobs require knowledge of Pro Tools digital audio editing and while I know Cool Edit very well, I took it upon myself to start learning Pro Tools last month.”

That’s the kind of person I want to hire, someone who is proactive.

Take these six steps before you start your entertainment job search and you will have much less stressful experience (again, notice the word fun is not in here).

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

Comments

  1. Kimberly says:

    Your blog has been extremely helpful to me. I am a senior in college graduating this May, and would love to know about when is the most appropriate time to start applying for job?

    • Kimberly, this is a great question, since timing is always important.
      Personally I think you can start now, the job seeking process can take a while so why not start getting your name out there ASAP. Also, when I was a news director at a top market TV station, we assumed it would take 3-4 months to fill an open position… if you are graduating in May that is not all that far away, I don’t think many employers would disqualify you in the application process. Let us know how it goes! – Brian (and don’t forget we have thousands of jobs on our site you can apply to directly! if the blog has been helpful, trust me the job board we offer will be even more so!)

  2. Hi Brian!

    Thank you so much for this blog! I’m a bilingual Broadcast Journalist/ Original Content Producer/Writer/TV Host. I’ve worked for NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNN En Español, I’ve been fortunate to cover both Investigative/Hard Core news AND Entertainment covering the Billboard awards, etc…My point is that is so refreshing to find a platform like your blog where I can keep up learning and evolving! I’m very passionate about my work and I keep reinventing myself. I share your pet peeves with LinkedIn and also understand it’s importance. I get it. I sent you a request on LinkedIn to connect. Thank you for giving such invaluable advice…… and I love the way you write! Your passion comes through….again it’s refreshing!

    • Claudinne – you just made my day! One of the hard parts of being a content producer is you rarely know if you are hitting the mark with your audience. It’s so good to hear that I have provided you with something you like! – please keep reading and commenting – Brian

  3. hi mr Brian Clapp,i want to ask u im jurnalist too..how easier ist to finde someone job on tv in usa…im from greece

  4. Joan Andrews says:

    I helped launch Newsweek Japan as Associate Editor many moons ago. I also worked for the Japanese Ministry of Finance in Washington, where I attended Senate hearings on U.S. -Japan trade and filed reports to Tokyo. I remain conversant in Japanese, French and Spanish, and continue to study Mandarin.
    I’m also a jazz musician with a great ensemble of Grammy-award winning musicians. We’re working hard to keep great American Music alive all around the world. We keep the joint jumping! Call us at 415-261-1035 for further information. Cheers!

  5. Hi Brian,

    It is very refreshing and uplifting to get some real good advise on the job hunt topic. I’ve been a Producer/Project Manager for 15+ years and I love what I do. Unfortunately I have found myself in a predicament like no other where I was laid off for the first time and in the search for another job for over a year. I loved that your article gave me a new perspective, inspired me to use other tactics, and finally fresh pointers to follow and continue my search. Can’t wait to hear more advice and looking forward to your approval to connect via LinkedIn.

    Taking a chance to a fresh start!

    • Mercy, great to hear from you and I am very sorry for your predicament. It’s really hard losing a job you love – the good news is, when you have passion and skill even better things will come. I’m glad the article has helped you even just a little – Best of luck, Brian

  6. Brian,
    Thank you for sharing great advice for ANY job search. As a hiring manager I have been surprised by the many applicants who don’t follow the basic advice of cleaning up their FB profile and checking their references to ensure the contact information is viable.
    Now that I am searching for my perfect writing job, I appreciate your advice on guest blogging to increase my online visibility.
    Keep up the good work and I will keep reading and sharing. Happy New Year!
    –Christy

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