A question that often bears heavy on the mind of many new voice overs is, how long does it take to break into the industry. Most new voice overs are eager to get going and hit the studio to start recording their first professional jobs from the day they cut their demo. From years of experience working within the world of marketing and copy writing, I can say genuinely say that there is no definitive answer to this question.
During my time in the industry I've met some fresh new talent who managed to get work within days of getting themselves out there. Others have taken weeks. Some take months and some, years. For new voice overs, it can be really disheartening when they go through a big effort to send out a tonne of emails in a self marketing campaign, only to have to sit and wait for the phone to ring. We estimate from past experience that, if you are not established in the industry, it could take anything up to a year to land your first job. We say this because it can be quite difficult for advertising agencies to try out a new voice. It's high risk and potentially very expensive, especially if the voice over does not work out. So more often than not, they need to get used to seeing or hearing you out there.
Thankfully, most voice overs get a job in far less than one year, but too many voice overs beat themselves up if the phone's not hopping. Just because the phone is not hopping immediately, that does not mean that you do not have great talent. And when you're starting out a large part has to do with lady luck, but because some times she can be a bit of a cow you can not count on her alone to help you out. Here's a check-list of things that are directly in your control. Look at other people's online profiles and be critical of how they are presenting themselves in comparison to how you're presenting yourself.
For example, have a listen to their demo's and decide if they're of a much higher standard than yours. Do they have clear and attractive profile picture which can be essential to attract employees attention by presenting the voice over in a personable way? Look at your voice description. Does it stand out? What about your acting biography, does it include irrelevant personal details? This space should be used to describe your voice and your professionalism. Have you made that extra effort to collect testimonials from people who can vouch for you and your potential? This can even be the person who cut your demo, or your acting teacher.
If you have a great demo and a good profile page you should really get something within a year. If not, you need to look at your demo and decide whether or not it's good enough. Also consider your own personal circumstances. For example, if you have a very niche accent or style of voice that could have affected the type of jobs you can contract. Just because you've been waiting for a couple of months without work does not mean you're flogging the dead donkey! Please keep your head up, stay positive and do your best to study the industry.