Friday, March 13, 2009

Are You LinkedIn Hollywood?

While seemingly everyone around you is either "tweeting" or "Facebooking", your interest right now is finding a job. Pure and simple. The acting and production gigs are few to none or you foresee the next executive layoff being you. No, I'm not psychic, just living--thus the blog name. And while searching your email inbox for a potential new boss to contact, "You've been invited to LinkedIn" pops up for the upteenth time.

Before you send that missive to its death, let me school you as to why getting "LinkedIn" is a good thing for this business of show. Unlike the other "let's be friends" sites, LinkedIn requires a more conservative approach. So there are no typical celebrity pages nor cutesy applications that allow defenseless animals to be thrown at you. It's about sharing resources, resources that write visible glowing recommendations and are connected to other like-minded business professionals that could be your next boss, client, or executive producer of your independent film.

Access to the right people is always key, and with LinkedIn you can literally see the degrees of separation between you and that Hollywood exec, assistant, or power player you've been trying to meet for some time. Or better yet see, you can see who the employees are at say, Hulu, that may have pertinent insights to share about the company or a position there.

So how do you best utilize the free tools the site has to offer? And I stress free because you can upgrade for a monthly fee. In a talk with LinkedIn Video Production Manager, Rob Getzchman, I received a wealth of answers. Here's a few tips to get you started. (THANKS ROB!)

  • Use Your Legal Name. As creatives, you may have different names or monikers which you go by. For LinkedIn purposes use the one your mamma gave you to set up your profile unless you've legally changed it. Stage or stripper names are not appropriate. Don't laugh, strippers often have "regular" jobs too. Should you have websites or videos displaying your stage names and creative talents, and you want them known, LinkedIn provides ways to display them within your profile through links and applications that are not distracting.

  • Get a 100% Profile Status Reading. To do this you need at least 3 previous work experiences. So put your best ones forward. You also need a pic or some image you want associated with you. However, leave the sexy shot of your tattoo on Myspace or Facebook. The only "sleeves" LinkedIn is interested in have real buttons or cuff links. It ain't that type of party there unless you want to be hired as a tattoo artist. Thirdly, get ye 3 glowing recommendations from former co-workers, clients, or bosses that speak to the kind of work you do or looking for.
  • Import Email Contact Lists. Just like Hollywood itself, LinkedIn is about who you know, and better yet, who knows you. So don't be afraid to import your connection-rich email accounts. LinkedIn WILL NOT spam them. You'll probably find that many of your associates and friends are LinkedIn already. So go for who you know first.
  • Start Connecting Wisely. Your profile is your business card so send out connection invitations carefully--only to those you desire to do business with. Then as more people accept your invitation, browse their connection list. However, not everybody likes to share and you have that option as well. But if they do share and you see a name or company your interested in contacting, send that person or business an InMail. You can also also ask for an introduced by a mutual connection.
  • Be Observant. As your network grows take notice of your updates. See what groups your connections are joining and join too. Valuable information is shared within those discussions that may very well lead you to new employment or business partner.
  • Check in Frequently. Jobs and positions are changing quickly, especially lately. So check in to your LinkedIn account often. If you're seeking work, I would suggest 3 times a week or daily. LinkedIn is over 35 million strong and growing by the second. So read the company blog and its Find Answers page for information and company updates.
With those tips you're off to a good start. I really hope it helps you. Before I close, special shout out to The Actors Fund on Wilshire Boulevard. The folks there are doing a fantastic job in providing human services and resources, for those that work in the entertainment industry. Their invaluable information inspired this post.

1 comment:

T Renee said...

The information is valuable. As a result, I have become more active on LinkedIn. It is a great resource.