You polished your resume and sent it to the right person, along with a stellar cover letter. You got a call. You aced the interview. You were brought back in—twice! You sent thank you notes after each interview, to each interviewer. Your follow-up was polite and appropriate. You were told you were a finalist. The HR person thought it was looking good for you…yet, they gave the job to someone else.
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An elevator pitch is an abbreviated introduction that tells someone about you in the amount of time it takes to ride up a few floors in an elevator with them. Related: 4 Steps For Developing A Winning Elevator Pitch What you say varies a bit depending upon the context, but in general, it should cover who you are and enough about your career or career goal so the person you are talking to knows how to help you, if they feel inclined, or engage with you in some way that might forward your career. So, let’s say you are a Production Assistant dropping someone off at Creative Artists Agency for your boss. You get in the elevator and a guy in an expensive suit is in there already. He says, “Hi, I’m Bob.” You say, “Hi, Bob. I’m Chris.” “So, what’s your story, Chris?” In his expensive suit and riding the elevator at CAA, Bob is probably an agent, studio executive, or lawyer. You say, “I just graduated from BU. I won a couple of directing awards and I’m working as a PA while I try to break into TV directing.” You’ve just given Bob everything he needs to know to progress the relationship forward. He knows you are a recent grad, a PA, a budding director with enough talent to win an award. As the elevator doors open, Bob hands you his card and says, “Call my assistant Jeff and tell him I said to get in touch.” This could be for another PA job or it could be that Jeff is about to become a Junior Agent in the lit department and needs director clients. It doesn’t matter. The point is, you made contact and now you have Bob’s card. What would you have said in that elevator? Would you have gotten Bob’s card? This post was originally published at an earlier date.
It’s an age-old story. You’ve graduated from college and moved to a new city, ready to start your professional life. You’re short on cash, anxious, and a stranger in a strange town. Of course, you’ve read all the networking advice. You know what you are supposed to do. But how are you supposed to meet successful industry professionals when the average cost of a martini in Los Angeles is $18 bucks? Related: 10 Tips For People Who Hate Networking Here are a few inexpensive ways to network in a new city.
Living in the modern world, one’s online presence is a key part of their identity - especially in the entertainment business. When someone’s name is mentioned in conversation, people turn to the Internet to find out more about that person. Who are they? What have they done? They are looking for answers and usually those answers are attainable by making a few clicks on the keyboard. Related: 10 Ways To Build Your Brand Reputation Online So, what’s your online identity? Are you having any of these problems with your online presence? You can implement these solutions TODAY!
If you’re entering an established industry as a new person and looking at where you will get the most traction, it is wise to be strategic about it. It’s traction that leads to progress. Progress leads to the coveted freelance gig, the hot club’s stage, the entry-level position with serious growth potential, and eventually to the corner office (or the awards podium or to whatever else is your ultimate goal). Related: What's My Brand? Why It's Important To Know The entertainment industry is particularly conscious of branding. Whether referring to performers or the people behind the scenes, having a defined identity makes it easier for people to understand you and figure out where you fit into the business. Yes, you might be a multifaceted creator, performer, or professional – or simply complicated human being – but for the purposes of career growth, being definable streamlines your path to success. Talent agents are especially known for wanting to narrowly brand their clients. They want you to write six sex comedy spec screenplays so they can say, “She writes hilarious, raunchy comedy.” If you write one script in every genre, what can they say about you? “She’s a great… writer.” While that might be true, it’s not much of a pitch for your Bob at CAA to use when trying to get you writing assignments.
I have this conversation frequently these days. It’s usually with people who’ve called me to talk about my resume-writing service, so they know something is up. RELATED: Need some resume tips? Watch these tutorials! But this topic also comes up with friends and business associates. One of two things usually brings it up:
In order to move ahead in your career, you have to generate a lot of energy. Sometimes you can get stagnant and out of practice at making things happen. Related: How To Get Ahead Without Becoming A Workaholic Here is a simple five-minute/three-step way to get back on track:
Even though it is not literally a person, your resume speaks. Loudly. It tells people everything they need to know about potentially hiring you. Related: Why Everyone Needs A Resume – Even YOU Say one of these four things and the answer is likely to be “no:”