Ok, so we know you’re thinking about moving to Los Angeles, but what if you’re more so wanting to take a “behind the scenes” approach to the “lights, camera, action,” with regards to your career. What if you don’t want to be an actor, singer, or even a dancer like most other transplants contemplating a move to LA? Maybe you have a desire to work within the business sector of entertainment, or maybe entertainment isn’t even the reason you want to move to LA at all.
Regardless of whatever motivates you to join the rest of the ambitious population and say, “I’m moving to LA,” you should know there is an abundance of career opportunities in Los Angeles; however, we all have to start somewhere.
It’s not what you know, but who you know
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” I’m here to tell you, that I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt (yes it’s that serious), that LA is truly a city where it’s all about who you know. Sure, there is a slim possibility that someone can come to the city without knowing anyone, walk into a company for an interview, and receive a call-back that same day with a “Congratulations, you’re hired!” However, that is not the case for the majority of the transplants to Los Angeles (I can certainly vouch for that).
So I’m sure you’re wondering, “Where do I even start?” One of the most important initial steps is to look at yourself as a product with many capabilities of fulfilling a company‘s needs. Think about how you can best “sell yourself” and add value, while increasing your visibility with whatever tool (i.e. cover letter, resume, etc.) you are putting into the hands of those who have a say in whether or not to hire you (typically Recruiters or Hiring Managers). Once you’ve refined the tool by which you will be marketing yourself for potential opportunities, it’s time then to get your name out there and get noticed, in order to build your network and secure employment. I recommend pointing your browser to two main sites, which are losangeles.craigslist.org (I found my current job and another part-time job here) and entertainmentcareers.net. Both websites are great resources (always use your discretion), which break down a variety of careers by category and location, and are user friendly. These sites allow you to review job postings and apply via e-mail, without the hassle of filling out a long profile and being dumped into an immense candidate pool like that of Career Builder or Monster (my response rate was quite low from sites like these).
Now that you know how to begin marketing yourself, it’s important to leverage those key contacts you make within whatever industry you choose to pursue, by always leaving a lasting impression after each interview (always send a personalized “thank you” note/e-mail). I can honestly say that when I first came to LA, I received several “we appreciate you interviewing with us; however, we have decided to move forward with another applicant who more closely matches our specific requirements…blah, blah, blah” statements. However, I did manage to make several key industry contacts, who were able to get me into the doors of Warner Bros. for a second time and Paramount Studios.