Thursday, July 7, 2011

When will I hear about my job application?

Nimat writes: I've been living in L.A. for a few days now and luckily, I have a friend who has been able to forward me available job openings. I sent out my personal cover letter/email along with my resume but I haven't heard back from anyone yet. When you sent out your emails and got interviews, how long before they got back to you? Should I just assume they aren't interested and ask my friend for another email with more job openings?

There is no hard and fast rule with any of this stuff, but you will probably never hear back at all. I think there may have been a time in which hiring managers confirmed that they received your application and told you when someone was hired as a courtesy. Perhaps this still exists in other industries, but for the vast majority of Hollywood assistant gigs, you will never hear anything unless you're brought in for an interview. Why? Because people get bombarded with dozens of resumes. Because people suck. I don't know. You may get a "thanks! Will pass along!" email if someone is collecting for a friend of a friend. But in many cases, you may not be submitting your stuff directly to the person who's hiring and won't be able to follow up with that person.

Sometimes job postings stay within a trusted group of 5 or 10 colleagues/friends, and in those cases, you may have more personal contact. But often, postings appear on tracking boards with hundreds of members, and all those members are forwarding to even more friends. What may seem very "insider" might end up as widely read as the UTA joblist.

If you DO hear back, it might be within hours or a day. I once interviewed for a job on a Thursday that would have started the following Monday.  If the people hiring are a bit more flexible, it might be a week or two. After three weeks, I think it's safe to assume that you're not getting an interview.

Don't take this as a huge discouragement; just remember that there is a LOT of competition for jobs, and you may have to apply to a ton of them before you get any bites.

As someone who has sorted through emails and resumes, I recommend that you keep your cover email very short and be sure to follow the specific instructions in each posting.

More info on the topic:
Cover letter and email style for job and internship applications
Your resume

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Scott said...

Adding to this:

Speaking as someone who has been a reviewer of resumes in the past, the vast majority of hiring for low level positions is not going to be done by a "hiring manager" at all. Such a thing for the most part does not exist. Hiring of this kind is really going to be done by some assistant or executive who is already swamped and doesn't have much time to devote to the grueling process of reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. And if it is a job that gets posted anywhere - from craigslist right down to a private tracking board, this person will surely get inundated with more resumes than they can eat. That's a long way of saying, don't take it personally. They just don't have time to be nice. Once you've sent off your resume that's all you can do. Don't get your hopes up, just assume nobody is going to call you and move on to the next one.

Also don't be fooled by the UTA job list. If there is a paying job posted there, it is already filled by the time you are reading it.

Amanda said...

Thanks, Scott. Forgot to mention that yes, it's usually assistants who are screening for new assistants - and they already have full time jobs to do.

Nimat said...

Thanks guys! I'll keep hustlin' until something comes through :-)