The entertainment business in all its many forms is an exciting but highly competitive industry. It is creative, passionate and high energy. This industry includes film, television, music, and sports. The businesses in this industry are dominated by large integrated corporations like Sony, National Football League, AOL Time Warner, and Walt Disney, which have interests in all segments of the industry. There are also opportunities at smaller, less corporate companies in film and TV production, smaller independent record labels, talent agencies, and management companies. Explore this dynamic industry further by visiting the Career Center.
The most important part of your career development process is understanding your values, interests, skills, personality, motivations, and what you have learned from each of your unique experiences. Each of these pieces provides clues about careers that may fit you best.
A good place to start
- Review the Know Yourself section of our website to begin learning more about your skills, knowledge, and interests.
- You can schedule an appointment with a career adviser to have a conversation about your career questions and ideas.
Contacts are critical in this industry. You can develop relationships through internships, shadowing, and Duke alumni. This industry is extremely competitive and getting in requires tenacity, networking and luck. The recruiting process is less formal because companies tend to promote from within. Internships are your best route to getting into the business.
People are your best resource to discovering opportunities in entertainment and sports careers. The Career Center can help connect you to experienced professionals currently involved in your area of interest. There are a variety of excellent resources on the web to guide in your search as well. While there are endless resources of varying quality available on the web, below are a few recommendations.
It is hard to ignore that the people who are most successful within the realms of sports and entertainment are those who work tirelessly to connect, to learn, and to perform. Employers consistently look for those who can demonstrate that they take initiative and risks, are appropriately driven and persistent, can work independently, show results, and have passion and confidence. Frequently, employers want to see and know about what you can DO for them more than what you KNOW.
Step One: CONNECT
- Seek out and take every opportunity to learn about your area of interest. Attend speakers and events and stick around afterward to ask a question or two. Ask for someone’s card and follow up with a few insightful questions. Attend the Duke Entertainment, Arts, and Media (DEMAN) Weekend event in the fall – this is a must attend event for students interested in media, arts, sports, and entertainment.
- Tell everyone you know about your interests and goals related to your career. You never know who will know someone who knows someone that might be willing to have a conversation about your career. Talk to your family, your supervisor, your professors, your dentist, your seat-mate on an airplane, the Career Center, anyone! If you are genuinely interested in and excited about your next steps it will be contagious.
- Use resources like Duke LinkedIn groups to broaden your connection to Duke alumni in your interest areas.
- Recognize that this might not be easy. That’s OK. Remember, though, that your future employer is looking for someone who demonstrates that they take initiative, have confidence, and seeks out manageable risks.Establishing connections lays a foundation of the qualities that employers seek.
Step Two: LEARN
- Developing a variety of connections provides you an incredibly valuable opportunity to hear from experts. What do you want to know about the person you’re speaking to? What do you want to know about the industry that he or she works in? What insight into job searching does this person have that might help you along?
Questions you might ask someone include:
–What is your favorite part of your job?
–Tell me about the path you took to get to this role - is there advice you can provide based on this?
–In your experience what does someone look for in a successful candidate for an entry level or internship position?
–What could I be doing right now to help prepare for a job within this industry?
–Is there anything that you think I should have asked about that I didn’t?
–Based upon what you’ve learned about me so far, is there anyone else that you recommend that I speak to?
- Consider yourself a professional now! What news do you need to keep up with? What blogs and websites should you read? What industry background knowledge do you need to start to build? What does it take to be successful in these industries? Schedule an appointment at the Career Center (call 919-660-1050) to put together a plan to get and stay informed.
- Do a gut check. Does contemplating this sound like a huge burden or exciting? Do you have areas of interest that you do this for already? Should you fit your plan to your interests, or vice versa?
Step Three: PERFORM
- Reality Check—jobs in this industry are in high demand. You need to provide evidence that you are passionate and competent in a way that is specific to your goals. Local internships and campus organizations (search by industry category) may not be as glamorous as the roles that you ultimately want to fill, but they provide foundation and allow you to DO what you are interested in.
- Use every experience to be a superstar. Are you an intern who stands out above the crowd? Are you initiating new ideas and following through? Are you seeking feedback from others and incorporating it? Do you generate others’ confidence in your success?
- Do you enjoy what you’re doing? Ultimately, if you do, success comes easily because it isn’t work.
Who is interested in Duke students?
It's important to understand that many companies represented at Duke Career Fair and through CareerConnections are not seeking applicants in sports and entertainment because these jobs are usually filled in a just-in-time fashion. This means that companies rarely recruit college students on campus in the fall and hold the position until after graduation but rather, they fill the positions one-at-a-time whenever a position opens. However, a handful of companies do look to Duke each year for job applicants. While they are not as plentiful as other industry sectors, they are great opportunities and should not be overlooked. Companies who recruited new employees through the Duke Career Center in recent years include:
- NBC Universal
- New Line Cinema
- Plum TV
- Sony Pictures Stock