Landing a job in Los Angeles before you move is more difficult than in other parts of the country; LA is a highly competitive city, with hoards of dreamers, just like you, who are determined to make their mark there. Without an address in LA and a local phone number, your resume is likely to be ignored, and most jobs expect you to start immediately (i.e. yesterday). This makes the long-distance job hunt somewhat of a challenge. But, don’t you just love a good challenge? If you’ve got what it takes to make it in LA, you probably do.
Here are few tips to help you begin your career in LA:
Start where you are
If your dream is to be a part of the entertainment industry, there’s no need to wait until you’re in LA to start working in entertainment. Organize a film festival, run a movie theatre, work on local TV or radio – you will learn the ropes and make valuable connections while saving and preparing for your move to LA. Same goes for any other industry- start where you are, and make the most of what you’ve got!
It’s all about connections
Finding work in LA is all about who you know. Dig deep, and try to find as many connections in LA as you possibly can. Follow up on new connections, keep in touch with acquaintances, and do your best to impress. The key here is that (unless you’re some big executive’s son, daughter, or first cousin) mere connections aren’t enough. Your connections should also have a sufficiently high regard for you, your skills, and your potential. Put your best foot forward and nurture the relationship.
Your connections might throw some work your way, and if and when they do, you need to be prepared to move immediately. If you’re seriously thinking about moving to LA and reaching out to connections there for work, make sure you’re not obligated to anything in your current city that you cannot leave on very short notice. If a job opportunity materializes and you’re not free to grab it, you might easily burn your LA connection and fall out with your current employers.
Get Your Resume Considered
Get a PO-box in Los Angeles and a cell phone with a local number. This way your resume won’t get passed over at first glance. Again, if you apply and land the job, be ready to whisk yourself off to Los Angeles ASAP.
Research Job Search Sites
Major career sites like Career Builder, Indeed, Simply Hired, and Monster are a good place to start looking for employment in LA. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, or the jobs don’t pan out, you still learn a lot about what jobs are available and what you can expect when you finally move. Industry-specific websites are also a good place to start looking for work in your field.
Go to the Source
If you are interested in working for a specific company based in LA, head directly to their website and explore available positions. Most companies post job openings on their site, and you can easily find the HR or recruiter’s email. Sending your resume and cover letter to the right people in the company might seem like a long shot, but taking that initiative could benefit you.
Use Social Media
Making a good impression and keeping in touch with important connections is key to securing work in Los Angeles before or upon moving. Don’t you just wish there was an easy and accessible platform on which you could express yourself, display your professional and personal skills, maintain social connections, and look at photos of cats for free? Oh, wait a minute… Yes, your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts can prove invaluable to your job search. Start tapping into that potential by carefully choosing what content to share, joining relevant groups, and actively cultivating online relationships with key connections.
Promote your Personal Brand
Depending on your industry, you may be able to build your personal brand and use it to leverage your job search in LA before actually moving. Writing a blog, creating a website, and maintaining a professional presence on social media could open many doors for you. If you persist, your following will grow, and you’ll get more attention from people in your industry, which may lead to offers and new opportunities. This is not an overnight solution, though, so if you think this is a good strategy for you, plan for the long haul.
Meetup.com is a great place to find groups of like-minded people in your area. They have groups that get together for every purpose imaginable, from cooking to painting to rollerblading, and there are a plethora of professional groups as well. Research Meetup.com to find professionals’ groups in your industry so you can get to know new people in your field even before you move.
Any tips to add to this list? Share your experiences with us in the comments!