As a professional actress of six years, I have had the opportunity to continuously develop my skill set of acting, singing, dancing, and perhaps, most importantly and least expected, job hunting. In fact, if I’ve mastered any of these, it’s probably the latter.
A career in acting is practically synonymous with full time job searching, both in the entertainment industry and out. I’ve secured work in fields I am totally qualified for, and some, I’ve had no formal training in whatsoever. For example, I have a degree in Theatre and Psychology and I now get paid to write about money.
So, as a self-proclaimed job hunting pro, let me share some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up in my experience.
Be prepared for anything. Limiting yourself to an idea of what you think you’re capable of or qualified for is just that, limiting. While you should be prepared to showcase your experience and expertise in an up to date resume, know that general competence is applicable across the board. If you can exhibit things like initiative, ambition, critical thinking skills, and problem solving ability in your cover letter or interview, you’ll often be able to more than make up for gaps in experience.
Get online. Job search engines are a great place to start. They consolidate all the information for you and give you the option to filter by location, field, even job title. You can also research the projected salary, schedule, benefits, etc of a given job before you even apply, which is a great time saver.
Utilize social media. Make sure all of your social media profiles are up to date and job search ready. It’s not just Linkedin that can help (or harm) you in the job search. You want your online persona to showcase the best of who you are, both work wise and as a person. People like to know that you’re not just competent in the office but a nice and interesting person to be around. So if you have a tendency to pour your negativity into facebook statuses, consider finding another outlet.
Get personal. Having links on your personal page to a professional body of work can be tremendously effective. If I’ve learned one thing in these last few years, it’s that you never know where the next opportunity will come from. So be open about what you have to offer, even in casual settings, it can pay off big time when the right connection comes along. I’ve gotten gigs from facebook – no joke.
Do good work. I know it sounds obvious, but the prevalence of unprofessionalism in every field I’ve worked is mind-boggling. If you get an opportunity, be it a job or even a volunteer position, be ready to blow expectations out of the water. When you over deliver and add that kind of value, you automatically become a resource. Even if the people you’re helping out can’t afford to give you a full time gig, you better believe they’ll recommend you when the opportunity arises. My single greatest source of employment opportunities have come from recommendations.
What are your top job search tips?