As the wave of job cuts takes its toll on every industry, it’s not just those relatively new to the workforce who are being thrust into the job market, but those who haven’t had to look for employment since Mary Kate and Ashley Olson were primetime staples.
The environment for job seekers in 2009 is dramatically different from even a decade ago as technology has changed the landscape and opened up the market in an unrecognizable way.
“If you are going into entertainment, you are competing against everyone in America … from New York to Wichita, and anyone in the world who can get a work permit,” says Larry Kaplan, executive director of Workplace Hollywood, a training and employment advice firm.
Modern technology and old-fashioned internships are the key to getting an edge.
It’s undeniable that internships are the best way to get a foot in the door in any profession, providing knowledge of a specific business, networking opportunities and, best of all, experience.
“We have noticed a large number of companies in every industry looking for interns to compensate for the layoffs in hopes of sourcing students who can later turn into employees,” says Kathy Sims, director of the UCLA Career Center.
Of course, seasoned free labor is a boon to companies but those older interns are also benefiting, especially those who are pursuing new career paths.
Older job seekers can often turn to the career centers at their university alma maters for help.
“In the last year or so many alumni have been utilizing our services,” says Sims. “Not all are desperate for a job, but rather allowing themselves the opportunity for other employment should they be let go.”
But how to deal with the digital age? Resumes on paper are pretty much a relic, say HR experts, and show that the candidate is out of touch with the 21st century.
Even harsher, an email address can be an interview killer. Cutesy email addresses are a turnoff, as are AOL addresses (most recruiters think they are outdated and show a candidate isn’t keeping up with technology).
Keep it simple, as the average recruiter has 30 seconds to look over a resume, and in that time “they need to know who you are, what you have done, and what you are looking for in your next step,” says Daniela Beyrouti, founder of Beyrouti Executive Search and Training.
The experts agree that Internet employment services are usually the first stop for employers, but not all online job boards are created equal. Big boards such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com are not the first stops for showbiz recruiters — entertainment industry job hunters need to target sites specific to the biz, such as TK AND TK AND TK and make sure to note the date of postings. And almost every media company has a job openings page on its website.
Besides the skills listed on your resume, employers want to know what else you can bring to the table, according to Paul Buss, president of Showbizjobs.com. Do you have a vision of what you can do for the company? What’s your take on the company’s future?
Online networking sites such as Linkedin, Facebook and Plaxo are also valuable, and can open up doors and lead to promising connections, but they are no substitute for the real thing, especially in Hollywood.
“Facebook and Linkedin is great, so that people who are interested will find you if they want to find you,” Beyrouti says. “But it’s really (about) your personal professional network.”