Clearly the criticisms I raised in Part 2 'Finding a balance of expectations' haven't put you off going down the Design Team route. [Either that or you're checking in to see if I've had a meltdown after it ... which I haven't!] No, I'm still here and seeing as how you are too I'm going to get even more demanding now I know you're persistant!
Even if you're not reading this as a DT hopeful today's post [Part 3], along with Parts 4 and 6, contains tips which lots could be useful to anyone wanting to present themselves with more confidence, promote skills which are complimentary to their craft or to generally just polish up their act!
Right, let's get on with it ... notebooks at the ready ...
Right now, right this minute, if a DT call was announced in the next 5 minutes, could you apply with enough confidence to believe you were in with a chance?
If you answered 'No' ... then stay where you are, you're in the right place, because by the end of this session I hope you'll have changed your mind. I'd love it if you were able to reply:
- "Yes I am good enough" or ... at the very least...
- "Oh, OK then, maybe I'm not so useless afterall" or even ...
- "Hell yeah I'm good enough! Now get out of my way - I've got people to impress!"
Until then, let's talk about the awkward subject of talent and if you've actually got what it takes to get on to a DT.
How do I know if I am good enough?
We're often the harshest critics of our own work so it can be hard to decide on what's 'good enough' and what will impress someone who doesn't know you! But, if you're putting together a DT application, or even if you're still just rolling the idea around in your mind, at some point you're going to have to out your creative neck on the line and send your work for scrutiny by others.
Objectively judging your own talents is hard and rather than just hide your crafty-light under a bushel you could try this method:
- select a few of your latest / favourite pieces of work and set them out in front of you;
- open up the blog/gallery of the team you're trying out for;
- compare your work to theirs;
- if you don't think you're quite there yet, maybe take some time to work on new skills, pay attention to small details which add to a more professional feel to projects or try out new techniques.
- if this comparison process surprises you / wakes you up to your own qualities ... then please ... allow yourself a victory for a change!
Am I good enough for WHO?
I don't want to deliver this next part as 'advice' per se. Because, frankly, it's personal preference and I have no evidence that it works! This one is purely my opinion!
Email is your friend!
Being able to introduce myself to people via email means:
- I get to 'speak' at my own pace;
- I have time to select my words carefully;
- I can take breaths in between phrases;
- I can state my case without stumbling.
What happens when someone subsequently meets me in real life is their problem ... ;-)
So, whenever I have this calm, collected, 'virtual' opportunity apply for jobs or DT roles; invite people to guest blog for me; write cover letters and proposals or brazenly introduce myself to people whose work I admire I always aim to be:
- respectful, friendly, polite, open, real.
- awestruck, apologetic, self-deprecating, self-doubting.
- able to represent their brand online ... unmonitored ... unscripted ...
- anxieties about how your work might not be up standard;
- explanations why the photos you sending aren't the best you've ever taken;
- excuses about why your blog isn't up-to-date;
- unneccesary flattery;
- going for the sympathy vote;
- And anything remotely like 'I'm not worthy'!
To save you time and to help you keep a clear, rational head when you hear the perfect DT call for you, then you could:
- have a carefully, confidently, drafted cover letter already saved on your computer;
- edit it once you've read through the particular team's requirements;
- prepare a crafting CV/resume containing your successes or ventures to date;
- consider having this online somewhere - I have my Crafting CV up there ^^ as a page on my blog - as this enables you to send someone a short link, rather than a long document.
- Arranging your projects into sets/folders makes it easier for you put your hand on those favourite projects you would most likely offer up in the event of an application.
- Even when they don't ask for it I include a link to my Flickr gallery in DT applications ... it opens up my entire visual archive to them in one click.
- And if they don't click on it ... I haven't lost anything, it only took me the time to paste a link into an email.
- Don't get disheartened;
- Keep an open mind about the kind of team you want to be on;
- Try to be objective about your work;
- Be confident when applying ... even if you're not. It's all conducted online. Who'll ever know?
- If you've ever wanted to guest blog for a site you think you'd be a good match for - email them - ask!
- Building a loyal blog following is also about finding the right niche for you. Finding those readers who match your attitude, style etc.
- Look around for who you feel comfortable with, leave a comment, visit the blogs of their followers and commenters too.
- We can't all be [insert name of super-super-popular-blogger-here] but that doesn't mean there isn't a place for us and whatever it is we blog about.
- the pre-prepared updated CV, cover-letter, assuming / faking confidence ... it's all taken from real life career's advice anyway!
- On and yes ... there probably is someone - romantically - for everyone ... but I'm not about to add 'match-maker' to that CV ... I'm steering well clear!
Join me for more tips aimed at presentation and getting you selected to a DT in Part 4 and check out the 'Tips for the DT-curious' page where I've added the full list of upcoming topics, so you know what to expect in the next posts.
Thank you to everyone who's already left a comment and who's tweeted me and re-tweeted links to the series. Really ... thank you.
Please note: During this series I do NOT refer in a negative way to any teams or companies by name. I ask that, if you share experiences or opinions in a comment, you stick to this way of doing things too.
Thank you in advance … you can collect yourself an ‘I Play Nice’ sticker for your cardigan on your way out.
© Julie Kirk 2007-2011 The images used throughout the series feature the projects I've made and photographed as part of my Design Team commitments over the last 4 years.