As a film student, I signed up for Mandy and Staff Me Up's free versions. When I started getting serious about getting film and TV jobs, I signed up for the upgraded paid versions of Staff Me Up and Mandy to apply to more Production Assistant jobs and use all of their features. Here is my review on both services and the results I got from them.
Staff Me Up
Staff Me Up is a production hiring site that I’ve heard many people use from back in Arizona to here in Los Angeles. It’s one of the top websites to use to find production-related jobs from editing, cinematography, to casting and producing. They have entry-level job posts and very experienced job posts as well. You can search or browse through jobs by state, city, position, and department. There are 3 different versions of Staff Me Up that are: FREE, $9.99/month, and $13.33/month.
Job posting includes the name of the production company, the location, the type of shoot when the job starts and for how long.
This post specifically is a PA job in LA for a reality show on the History channel that starts on July 5th and goes on for 9 weeks. All this information is super important to know and is all viewable before even clicking on the job post and looking at the description.
The interface is very simple and you can start using a free version right away. It allows you to create a profile with your job experience and immediately connects you with people who worked for the same productions as you. You are allowed to apply to 5 jobs in a month and you can keep track of the jobs you’ve applied to.
While some people might think that the only way to get jobs is to upgrade and pay for Staff Me Up, I disagree. I was hired on 4 jobs in Arizona with the free version.
Employers can also message you and reach out to you directly if they are looking to hire people in your area - which is how I got my first Staff Me Up job.
I started using the free version of Staff Me Up back in 2016 in Arizona when I had just graduated from film school. I definitely recommend signing up for Staff Me Up during film school if you are attending, to get real-world experience and start building your professional network.
I created an account but when I started grad school, I didn’t really go on it. A few months after creating my profile, I was messaged by a Production Company that was filming “The Great Christmas Light Fight” an ABC Christmas themed show. They were stopping by Phoenix to film part of an episode and needed some Production Assistants. I honestly didn’t have that much Production Assistant experience and had never worked on a TV show, but they messaged me and asked if I was available and interested. I jumped on the opportunity and had a really great time working on this show. They ended up coming back to Phoenix a month later and asked me to PA again, which I did. -- All on the free account, having never applied to a job post!
After grad school, I applied to a few more jobs and was hired to work on a Live Celebrity Fight (lol) and to help cast Family Feud. I did a whole video on how I got my first job in LA that is directly related to this Family Feud job if you’re interested.
There are 2 paid versions of Staff Me Up and I jumped from the free version to the 13.33/month version because it seemed to be worth it. So with this version, there is A LOT more you can do, including apply to as many jobs as you want, promote your application, add a resume and cover letter, track your job status, and receive job alerts when a job is posted that you’re interested in.
I think the most powerful tool/feature of the paid versions is the ability to write a cover letter. With the free version, you only have 100 characters to explain why you are fit for the job. With the paid versions, you have that and space for a cover letter.
Many times jobs will include in their job post to include references and if you have experience doing XYZ. You can’t include all that in 100 characters so having the cover letter feature is crucial.
With the paid version, I’ve applied to SO MANY jobs since moving to LA and have been interviewed and hired on a handful of jobs. The paid tools lets you see what jobs you’ve applied to and the status of your application.
Many times I’ve gotten alerts that my application has been moved to “Consider” or that my application has been reviewed. Those alerts are so helpful and something that helps organize your thoughts when applying to jobs.
You can also set work alerts where you set specific alerts to be sent to you via email or push notification when a job is posted that matches your specifications.
These work alerts are helpful to be one of the first people to apply to a job which increases your odds of your application being seen and ultimately being hired.
Another great feature with the paid version is that you can actually see how many people have applied to a job and where you might land in the applicant pool according to your profile.
This specific job has 33 applicants ( it was posted 38 mins ago) and Staff Me Up thinks I rank in the top 50% because I have PA experience and have 13 mutual connections to the job poster.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that my application won’t be seen or I won’t get the job, but it’s just an interesting way to view how my application matches up to others.
Another feature you get with Staff Me Up's paid versions is the ability to promote your application. Before submitting your application, you'll have the option to "Promote" it to the Job Poster so it shows up at the top of their applicant list. Staff Me Up gives you the ability to promote your application a set number of times in one month, and if you run out of promotions, you can buy more.
All of these tools and features are things that I use all the time and love about Staff Me Up. They make applying to jobs easier and allows me to see if my application has been seen, reviewed, and considered. I can also see if the job has been given to another applicant, so I know that I shouldn’t hold my breath.
Mandy is another big production platform and was highly recommended to me by some of my professors. It wasn’t quite recommended by my peers and other colleagues and after paying for Mandy, I started to see why. Mandy was the main production job site several years ago but now I don’t think many people have success on the site.
I created my account along with Staff Me Up, back in 2016. You can create a profile for free and add credits, education, interests, and links to other profiles.
With the free version, you get to create a profile and see job postings under Latest Jobs. But you can’t apply to them and you can’t see all of the job information.
This is part of a job post on Mandy and to read the rest of the details of the job post, you have to upgrade.
The only thing you can do is look at and apply to Opportunities, which are the low paying and no paying jobs. Mandy explains that the Opportunities board is to meet like-minded people and work on creative projects.
If you are starting out and want to build your resume and/or a portfolio, this could be a good option for you, but most of the time when signing up for a Job Site it’s because you want to get paid - so, unfortunately, you have to pay to do that.
If you do have more experience and want to show off your credits on your profile, Mandy requires you to verify your credits. While I think this is to add legitimacy to profiles and prove that you actually did the work you are saying you did, it is tedious and can be annoying to your previous employers.
I personally never verified my credits on Mandy because I didn’t want to pester people I used to work with and especially people I haven’t talk to in a long time. Imagine getting an email asking you to verify the work of someone you worked with 7 months ago! The introvert in me is not about that life. But if you don’t mind that, then more power to you. I just see this as a negative aspect of Mandy and made it more difficult for me to get jobs on Mandy since my credits weren’t verified.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I decided to pay for Mandy to be able to apply to those locked jobs and hopefully get hired. With the paid version you can apply to any jobs you want and can see the full descriptions.
When upgrading, it says that you’ll have boosted applications but I’m not really sure what that means since the free version doesn’t allow you to apply. If all of the paid memberships get boosted, doesn’t that mean all applications are boosted?
For two months I paid $14.95/month for the premium version of Mandy and I applied to 9 jobs. I know that is not a lot, but I ended up getting frustrated with the interface and felt like I was getting more success with Staff Me Up and canceled it.
I felt like the jobs being posted on Mandy were not quality jobs or were jobs from huge companies that were posted on several other job sites as well. There seemed to be no benefit to having Mandy because the jobs weren’t exclusive and most of the time, the job applications were off of the Mandy site and I had to enter all of my credentials into a different site. It’s similar to going job searching on Indeed and having to apply on the Employers own site.
The tracking of the applications submitted was also not comparable to Staff Me Up. Most of the time because the application had to be submitted off-site, there was no way of tracking it unless you went to each individual site each time.
The quality of job postings, the verification process, and the lack of use for the free site are all reasons why I canceled my subscription to Mandy.com. Almost all of my colleagues use Staff Me Up and have said that Mandy is no longer a viable resource - and I agree.
Staff Me Up has much better features on both the free and paid versions. More independent companies post on Staff Me Up, meaning you aren’t competing with people across the country trying to get a job with over 1,000 applications. But also large companies post jobs on Staff Me Up if you’re interested as well. No matter what, you can always see exactly where you are in the race with a paid account.
I don’t see myself downgrading or canceling my Staff Me Up account in the future ( unless I get a job that is full-time and long-term). If you are starting out and don’t necessarily have the funds to pay for multiple accounts, I definitely recommend Staff Me Up.