Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Here's how the conversation started on Facebook, and my answer follows...
KB:It's been 5 months since I've worked, came all the way from San Francisco to Louisiana because this is where the industry is right now, and even joined the union, and still can't find work!
Me: When you moved to Louisiana, did you have contacts there who could hire you? Just because there is work in a location doesn't mean that you will get hired, because people have to know you, like you, and trust you before they bring you on to their million dollar set. Their jobs, reputation, and lots of money is on the line. If you don't know the people who can hire you well, and plan to stay there, I would suggest getting a supplemental income job and focusing on building relationships with people who can hire you.
KB: Thank for your quick response. I did not have any connections when I got here 5 months ago, but now I have several. From set medics, Teamsters, sound, and electricians. I teamed up with people that I have certifications and licenses to work with. I'm two weeks away from being voted on to be part of the union, after months of establishing residency and submitting all paperwork. Wow! What a lot of work! I have been maintaining all contacts and trying to network like crazy. I think once I'm in the union, things should start to break. Is there anything else I can do in the mean time?
Okay, the first thing I noticed in the response was the word "several." It's all a numbers game. What you can be doing in the mean time is turning "several" into 50... minimum! I know that may sound like a lot, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. You don't have to be in the union to reach out to Union members, so why wait two weeks. People are going to have to get to know you before they hire you anyway, so you may as well start the process immediately. Have your contacts who are set medics, Teamsters, sound, etc., invite you for set visits so you can meet new crews face to face.
Remember, as you are getting to know people, resist the urge to ask for work when you meet for the first time. Instead, ask questions about the "work climate" and being new in town, smart strategies for generating work in that market. This way people will know you're looking for work without you putting them on the spot or worse... putting them off.
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