Getting Socially Experiential

19 Jan

Promotional work is a staple of most actors incomes. From street corners to shopping centres; handing out leaflets to demo-ing the latest devices – 9 times out of 10 that person is an actor and it all comes under the umbrella of experiential marketing. Actors make the perfect exuberant and dynamic vehicles to deliver facts and figures in a open and engaging way, they’re also flexible enough to be on-call for when jobs come along.
As a method of direct marketing it’s fantastic. Using armies of well trained brand ambassadors experiential agencies are able to actively engage specifically targeted groups of people and deliver a message through the most efficient means possible, word-of-mouth. We’re social animals and one-on-one interaction is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to flogging a product.
I’ve been working in experiential marketing for a few years, first as a brand ambassador and now as an event manager. It’s infrequent work, well paid, but infrequent. My hope is to make the transition in-house to actually be someone who helps run the campaigns and hopefully using my field experience to benefit an agency.
Experiential marketing has always had one major flaw, limited audience. It’s relied solely on footfall and attendees for years to put it’s message across. However, more than most sectors, it has real potential to expand it’s reach with social media. By incorporating the internet and social media experiential campaigns have the ability to reach far greater audiences. From something as simple as tagging someone in a branded picture that picture can be viewed by hundreds. And all it takes is another person to simply like the image and you begin to see the potential for exponential viral growth.
It’ll be interesting to see where it leads, but suddenly these once niche campaigns have the potential to match audience reach equivalent to traditional mass media.


The great job search

13 Jan

One of the trickiest things I’ve had to do is finding what it is I want to do. There is a world of job opportunities out there, and so many fantastic directions to go off in that it’s almost bewildering.

As a career changer I’ve a relatively successful career behind me, but now I’m looking for something more to get my teeth into, something that offers me a more structured career path. Where to start?  I recently read a brilliant quote:

“Quite often, we are simply unaware of the opportunities that surround us because we are too focused on looking for something else.” Richard Wiseman: The Luck Factor 

So I set my self a challenge to broaden my search and not to write off other potential careers.  I looked at a major job site like Guardian Jobs and TotalJobs and did a broad base search on jobs within a certain pay bracket. Grabbed a spreadsheet – I do love a bit of Excel – and then job by job and rate it each potential career:

1  Dream Job
2  Exciting Career
3  Acceptable job
4  Never

Then using the power of Excel, sort your list.  Suddenly I’ve found a bunch of jobs, which I’d’ have never considered. Essentially I’m looking at fulfilling my objective that is: To begin a new career in a full time position.

My focus can now be on jobs rating 1-2, glimpse at 3 but disregard anything in 4.

As an actor it was always important to define objectives and super-objectives. As a career changer I’m finding it just as important.

2012 – A year of new possibilities

11 Jan

11 days in and 2012 is shaping up quite nicely.  I’ve got a little bit of freelance events management work with a Nokia roadshow which will tie me over financially nicely till February.

Cash flow is always a major struggle as freelancer looking for permanent work, in trying break out of acting I’ve needed to stop taking acting jobs. Thankfully I’ve developed a solid freelance career in experiential marketing as an event manager which will effectively supports me whilst I search for my elusive dream job.

Recruitment wise there seem to be more jobs and roles coming up in 2012, and I’ve already scored 2 interviews. Early days yet but I’m generally feeling a little more positive.  In the meantime I’m still sending out the CVs and cover letters and busily applying for every appropriate and available job!

Cover Letters – Finding a voice

20 Dec

As a disclaimer, I’m not an expert on bagging the perfect job.  I’m simply blogging from the point of view of a person, who has spent a large proportion of my working life as an actor…

Cover letters…

I actually have a little bit of experience in recruitment and I have read dozens and dozens of cover letters and statements as a recruitment assessor.  (It was one of my random in-between-acting-jobs jobs).

The thing I remember from assessing is that I wanted to do my job quickly and efficiently, especially when I dealt with large volumes of applications. When assessing, anything that sped up the process, allowed me to reject an application, and move on to the next, was a bonus. This included:

Spelling and grammar. One thing I could never get my head around is: why, in a world filled with spell checkers, would you screw up your spellings? Seriously, those squiggly red lines under your words are there for a reason!

Write in a professional tone. The letter had to be appropriate to the audience; therefore it had to be written in way that sold the applicant as a professional person capable of performing the job to the highest standards.

Word limits – I love a good read, but seriously when the limit was ‘50 words’ – it was exactly that.

Well, I know what not to do. Now to: marketing me. How do I sell ‘me’ to a potential employer? This is where I want to introduce a bit of individuality.  I have my personal skills and I need to show how these will benefit the company. From great admin abilities to strong presentation and communication skills, where does this apply to the potential position?

So far it all feels a little dry, and what I want to do is find is my voice. I’m a career changer with several years of professional experience behind me. Because I am arriving from an unconventional working background, I should market that in a fresh, professional and interesting manner to my potential employers. I’m not suggesting I quote Shakespeare in my letter, but maybe, just maybe, I can add a flavour of personality to present a human face in my cover letter.

All this is easier said than done, but it’s a fun little challenge to set myself.


Can an actor change his jobs

16 Dec

I made the choice to leave acting, stepped into the fresh air of a brave new world and thought… hang-on, seriously what can I do?

For any arts professional there is a disconnection between the world we inhabit and the 9-5 world of those around us.  Actors have an amazing coping mechanism and an ‘all in this together’ attitude to get through the harsh periods without work. We struggle to sustain a career that to the outside world can only look like madness! At times it seems just as mad to those on the inside.  But actors must be tenacious by nature, and that is one of the many qualities any employer should be excited by.

Trying to quantify your skills to fit the real world is tricky.  I began by looking at the ‘real’ jobs I’ve worked in the past – and found skills in MS Office, computer proficiency, and making good cups of tea.  I then looked at my acting resume – well I’m confident at public speaking, have a strong command of the English language, and do a lovely turn in animal characters…

Last year I started blogging, and much to my surprise those skills, alongside SEO and social media, are in demand. So I’ve thrown my perfect CV out to the winds and tried to find a career in marketing and digital media.  Why marketing? Well it’s creative, it’s varied, it’s got good career opportunities, and it’s always looking at where to find its next audience.  It’s almost like acting for grownups!

The CV so far…

15 Dec

Over the last few months I’ve been busy, editing my CV over and over again! I’ve edited, nipped, tucked and re-written this summary of my working life dozens of times.

What I know is that there is no definitive way to write your CV.  Recruiters are always banging on about what they want to see in your CV.  More detail about the jobs you’ve done, less information about your experience, bullet points now seem to be all the rage, maybe tomorrow it’ll be a pictorial representation of your working life so far.

Of course once you have completed your perfect CV, you look at it on screen,  you admire this great work of art sitting on the screen in front of you.  This finely crafted, potted history, of your journey, from newspaper delivery boy to the middle management exec you are now. It sits there as a testament to your ability to condense your achievements, to display personal pride with just the right sprinkling of modesty.  It’s your key to the gateway that leads towards the inner-sanctum of the company you want to work for. The foot in the door that leads to your next interview.

Oh yes, and then someone sticks an application form in your face. An so you’re back to square one… Write it all out….over and over and over again…