On My Radar: U.S. Economy & You Looking For A J.O.B.
– image by TW Collins on Flickr
The number of unemployed people looking for work is now the highest it’s been in six years.
Every week I receive emails from friends looking for work and it’s becoming more and more difficult to to find ways to help them. People just aren’t hiring. Recently I had to pass on a part time job (TV related) and felt extremely guilty about it – not only because I tend to be a workaholic and feel like I have to be working 247 but because I didn’t have a friend who I could suggest for the position, as it required specific skills. I felt bad for being in a position where I could pass on a job, while others are struggling just to find one.
The blessing and the curse of work in the entertainment industry is that there is this illusion of job security. Even when people are broke, they still go to the movies, watch TV and buy music (yes, even those who illegally download). This need for entertainment keeps people like me employed and companies in business. Even during the Great Depression, 60-70 million Americans still packed into theaters each week.
I don’t have any more answers than the next person. The reality is that it’s extremely difficult to get a job right now, including in the entertainment industry. There are many factors involved including experience and skill level, departmental budgets, who you know and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to progress in your career.
If you are not familiar with these entertainment jobs sites and resources, you should check them out. This list is specifically directed to those in the NY area but can be applied to other locations as well.
Cynthia’s Cynopsis – a must read for broadcasters, producers and television advertisers that also includes daily job listings. Subscribe to receive their daily, international and digital edition emails.
There is also a podcast version but I prefer the daily email.
Mandy.com – Film TV Broadcast Production resource: film television production jobs, casting calls, facilities listed by territory, equipment classified ads, film sales.
There was a time when I used to check this several times a day. You just have to be vigilant and don’t let dead ends, negative responses or no responses at all get you down.
Entertainmentcareers.net – Entertainment jobs and internships listings at Studios, Networks, ProductionCompanies, Record Companies, TV and Radio Stations.
I found my first paid P.A. position on this site. I don’t recommend you pay the fee to have access to all listings, just include this site with your other resources and check it as often as possible.
Craigslist NY tv/film/radio jobs – Ahh, good ole’ Craigslist. Don’t forget about it and check it often. Utilize the RSS feed so that you can be updated as often as possible with what you are looking for. Most of the positions that are posted are often for smaller indie companies or short term projects, but don’t let that discourage you. Established companies post here as well, and often these short term projects can lead to something more long term. Don’t discount CL.
Mediabistro – a website connecting journalists and new media professionals to jobs and each other.
“The Biz” on Variety.com – It’s like monster.com, but for creative positions. Worth checking it out.
These are just a few (fairly) reputable places to get started. I don’t recommend paying any service to help you find a job.
There are also temp agencies specifically serving the entertainment industry, but I never used them. I do know people who had success with temp agencies so it’s something to look into.
It doesn’t hurt to check the website for specific companies as well. Like this one. They often list jobs, but usually the list is outdated. At the very least, there will be an HR contact and you can follow up with that person to find out if they are hiring and to get your resume on file.
Don’t forget to follow up with everyone you contact – EVERYONE. EVER. FOREVER (jk, until you get a job, but even after that it never hurts to stay in touch).
When I moved to NY in 2004 I had zero contacts in the industry. I had to make my own connections through internships (legitimate and shady), volunteered at film festivals and other media events and took certain crappy jobs because I knew I could make a better job contact at that crappy job and ditch it in a few weeks (which I often did).
Looking for work sucks. It’s a fact of life for many stressed out people of all ages (particularly those just leaving college or transitioning from one career to the next) and the best thing you can do it to be smart about your job hunt.
* DON’T mass email everyone you know blasting that you are broke and jobless, but DO individually contact those who are working in something related to what you want and ask them for suggestions or referrals. Follow up, be considerate. You’re stressed but you don’t want to be a user.
* DO keep a database of your job lead contacts. Don’t lose them. This can be a Google doc, an excel spreadsheet or a big piece of paper that you keep somewhere safe. Just because someone says no now doesn’t mean they will say no forever.
* DON’T send generic cover letters. EVER.
* DO make it easy for employers to find you online. They are googling you, so why not control what they see? Do you want them to find your official website first with relevant job links or that video of you puking on YouTube? You decide.
* If you somehow get yourself into an industry related function (not a “must do” but certainly doesn’t hurt) DO NOT avoid talking to people.
Why are you even there? You could be at home searching job sites. You don’t have to be the alpha social butterfly, but if you are going to take advantage of a room full of people with jobs and the power to give you one, the least you can do is introduce yourself. The worst that they can say is fuck off, and you can use that as an introductory joke when you meet someone else.
That’s all for now. If you have any other links or suggestions, post a comment and I will add it to the list.