- Get networking
This might sound obvious but if nobody knows you are free and amazing then no one is going to hire you. So throw yourself into a networking frenzy. If there are formal and informal networking events get yourself signed up. These will be online for the immediate future but this can work in your favour as you will often have 10 minutes of someone’s time, uninterrupted so use that time wisely. If that sounds like the scariest thing imaginable then take a few deep breaths and think of it as a two way conversation. You should also be used to zoom chats by now anyway. Have interesting conversations with people, talk about what you’ve done and what you want to do without bombarding them and making it a monologue and not a two way conversation. A nice chat could lead to a new job in a new company. Find the balance between being apologetic about what you’ve done, “oh I’ve just worked a bit here, it was nothing really” and arrogant “Everyone thought that I was the best”. The easiest way to do this is talk about what you enjoyed and the tasks you loved and people will immediately see your passion. Try to find the positive in everything, even if the experiences weren’t great and don’t bad mouth anyone. It’s a small world and bitching can create a bad impression of yourself.
So look on twitter, your facebook groups or simply get back in touch with old colleagues. It can all help.
- Spruce up your CV
We can get too busy to update our CV, but when we don’t and we send an old one to a potential employer that’s not updated or our talent manager profile has not been updated since 2016, it looks sloppy. So dig out the CV and keep it updated regularly. After every gig and before you send it to any employer make sure it’s up to date. Get someone else to look over it and ask them if it all makes sense. Make factual statements and give context behind the roles. You may presume one runner or researcher role is the same but really think of achievements and what makes you stand out. Then get your CV out there. If you are applying for jobs online or from facebook groups make sure you read the advert and you have the necessary skills.. It is really frustrating as an employer if people haven’t read the outline of the job or feel they can wing it without the relevant skills. Don’t feel like you have to rush up the ladder as you’ll soon get found out if you don’t have the right experience.
- Look at past achievements
New Year is often about a time of reflection. We keep ourselves so busy and focused on what we haven’t yet done and what we need to do that we often neglect to see how far we’ve come. Take time to appreciate your journey. Using a journal is a great way to do this, but simply sometimes just looking at where you were this time last year can help you appreciate your journey. If you feel that you haven’t come as far as you like or feel as if you are still in the same place start thinking about what you have done and also what you could have done differently. Try and be as objective as possible and think about your actions rather than blaming other people or being overly harsh on yourself. Just be rational and try and ask yourself honestly, “ have I done all I can to get to where I want to be?”
- What new skills do you want to gain this year
Do you find yourself stuck in a bit of a rut, but can’t quite figure out why nothing is shifting? Are you so stuck in your comfort zone that you are scared to try anything new? Or do you know exactly what you want to be doing but don’t know how that would seem possible? Well first of all ask yourself what new skills do I need to get me to the next level and what can I do right now to help me on that path. It may be that you want to improve your camera skills or your writing experience or it may be that you want to change genre and get more studio experience or more drama experience. Ask yourself is this truly what you need and if it is, who do you know that can help you on that path. If there isn’t anyone then what can you do yourself.. can I make my own film, can I volunteer on a shoot, or can I ask someone for help. Sometimes we get too proud to do this, but if you choose the right moment and you are clear about how you want your career to progress, people are generally open to helping you out.
- Manage your time better
Are you making up excuses about never having time to do the things that you want to do but secretly you know you’ve spent the weekend binge watching that Netflix series or listened to the woes of your best friends relationship over a bottle of wine. Both are perfectly acceptable but are you filling your time with stuff and not focusing on your goals? By just setting an hour or even half an hour a day to look at your goals or do one thing to get nearer to them can really help. We all think we need to do a massive change to get where we want to go but actually small steps can lead us in the right path. So think about your time and are you spending it doing things that will make you happier, make you closer to the career you want and make you feel more fulfilled.
- If it’s not working try something different
Sometimes we repeat the same patterns and then are shocked when we get the same results. Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit and find a different way to do things. So if you are just sending out your CV and that’s not working, then get yourself to a networking event, contact the SP from your favourite show and ask them how they got to where they are. If there are no networking events then maybe set up your own, or your own TV facebook page. I know a few people that have done this and it’s proven to be really successful for them.
- Catch up with old colleagues
Meet up online, over the phone and on email with people you’ve worked with before and let them know you are free or simply chat to them about your career. Hopefully in 2021 you’ll be able to do this in person but that shouldn’t stop you trying to chat online. Ask for advice and also pay it forward, meet people and give them advice about your own experiences. It’s often from those chats that someone can say, “actually let me introduce you to Sue, she’d be a good person for you to know”. It can feel silly or pushy but I am sure you have done the same for other people and be persistent and keen but don’t stray into impatience and rudeness, nobody wants that. Even speak to old lecturers or old uni mates about life and career and explore their networks as well. If you do all this in a really positive way then I am sure it will reap it’s rewards.
- Change your surroundings
Is television really where you want to be, it’s not for everyone and if you feel like you’ve had enough then there is no shame in that either. There also a multitude of jobs in television that are not directly involved in production and maybe one of them is where your heart lies. If you can then maybe a change of scenery could work. You don’t have to be in London to have a good career in television and it may be that you need to explore other options in different cities. Sometimes a new company can restore your faith in the industry or maybe a side step into another industry can work wonders. Don’t be too focused on putting all your eggs in one basket, give yourself options. You always have time to achieve your goals and they may take longer than you initially thought but keep focused and you’ll get there.
- Focus on the positive
January can be a time of renewal but it can also be a time where we look at ourselves and see our perceived failures and look at what we don’t have rather than what we do have. It’s cold and dark outside, everyone is skint and on a diet and we can have an overwhelming need to nest and shut out the world. Trapped in our flat due to the pandemic with a leftover selection box and that new box set that we have to get through. Try and right down something positive from each day and set yourself little goals that will increase your positivity and help you with your career. Treat each setback as a challenge and develop a bit of an”F you” attitude to keep you motivated, get what you want and prove people wrong.
- Be kind to yourself
Ultimately be kind to yourself, practice self-care, take breaks and remember you are only human. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t happen immediately or if you don’t get that job, keep on keeping on, and always have something to hear back from. Persistence and positivity are the key things here. Create good relationships, be a great person to work with and do your job well and you are half way there.