Wednesday, December 4, 2013
How to network at a talent agency
L writes: I'm a floater at a large talent agency in New York. How do I network - and how can I eventually transfer to the LA office?
The best thing to do is perform well at your job as a floater (which, for those who don't know, is a person who doesn't have a permanent assistant job but fills in when other assistants are out sick). Once you prove that you can be a good assistant, the agents start to remember you and request you to work for them. This does take some practice - but don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. Then when desks open up, you'll be considered for those assistant positions. Remember that even though you want to be working your way up (and maybe transferring to a different office/job/company/profession), that's not what you've been hired to do; you've been hired to be a floater. Moving your way up requires ambition but also a little patience. That said, make sure that whoever is in charge of the floater program (probably an HR person?) knows your goals and which department you'd like to end up in. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity because nobody knows you'd be interested.
I think it's going to be hard to transfer to LA because all the LA floaters and assistants will have an advantage over you - they'll be known by the agents there, and will be available more quickly (generally, no one is going to wait a month for you to pack up your life in NY if a job in LA opens up), but transferring is not unheard of. Make sure that the HR people know you'd be interested in going to LA, too. And when you're filling in on a desk, if you ever find yourself emailing or talking on the phone with assistants from the LA office, try to be friendly and get to know them, if you can.
It's also good to eat lunch with the other assistants and floaters so you can make friends and hear about gossip, desk openings, etc. I found that this came pretty naturally when I worked at the agency since we all hung out in the same areas and had a lot of down time (plus things in common). There was also a lot of turnover, so we were always training and getting to know new people.
What's funny is how many of my fellow agency comrades from 2007-2009 aren't even in the industry anymore...