Okay, you’ve worked in the industry and made your mark. A few years go by and things shift in your company, now things aren’t so rosy. Now the word everyone dreads, “Layoffs” is uttered. Or maybe you are ready for a change or new challenge? Time to spread your wings.
Both require the same response, “How do you get your next gig?”
There’s the obvious; gather your latest work, send our resume, demo reels, etc. Something I wanted to touch upon is who do you reach out to? Casting out a large net or selecting a specific sector that you want to work for next.
You need to research who you want to work for next and what projects interest you, where do you want your career to go? Looking at the companies that match your wants with their needs, and consider the pay scale they may or may not be able to afford. Then move forward with a plan of attack.
The timeline from leaving your workplace to actually starting at a new company cane vary greatly. It could be a month or several. This is where having an emergency cash stockpile can help you. Most experts say to have at least 6 months to a year of a reserve. I know this sounds impossible, but having some buffer to help through unemployment is imperative. The only difference if you leave your job or you are laid off is unemployment, and it only pays so much. Have this cash reserve can greatly reduce your stress of finding the right new job.
You want to begin (hopefully continue) using Social Media avenues. Drum up fellow co-workers and old co-workers. Ask how things are at other companies? If the company is out of the US, how is the exchange rate and housing costs? Grow your LinkedIn account. Try finding HR contacts at those companies. Cultivate relationships ahead of your leaving your employment, so that whenever that day does come you aren’t cold calling anyone. It will be continuing a relationship and seeing if they are interested in talking.
If the industry is slow at the time of a layoff or it’s between cycles, look at other similar industries. If you work in VFX Film, maybe look at Animation, Games, VFX TV or VR; and vice versa. Take interviews within these other sectors even if your heart is not in it. You never know if you may actually really enjoy working in a different arena. Worse case you are growing your circle of contacts (people move around from company to company). Someone who works for Games today may work for VFX tomorrow.
Look at long term job opportunities and short term. Taking a job at another place for a short gig can be invaluable. You will get to know how the pace is, who the people are, and level of work they are looking for; while only taking up a few months of your time.
Maybe, you need a sabbatical? If you have savings, you use the time to train up new skills, work in new demo reels samples, or look at other career possibilities? Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to work on, new software or techniques, or an new avenue that has peaked your curiosity. It may not seem at first, but there are endless options for you if you take the time to look over it all.