Wednesday 1 June 2011

Tips for the Design Team-curious. 5: Finding out about DT opportunities

Hi, hi, hi.
If Parts 3 + 4 did their job in inspiring you to pick up the Design Team gauntlet then the next thing you're going to need to know where to find those vacancies ... so read on ...

Uncovering the opportunities

They are out there ... trust me ... you just need to know where to look, so let's drop by the most obvious place first:

[1] Blogs:The majority of companies, stores, challenge sites and so on will make an announcement about searching for new Design Team members on their own blog before anything else. In fact, they'll probably even announce a 'teaser' about it a few days in advance of releasing the actual details.

If you've spotted a DT call on a blog then you're already likely to be a fan of the brand etc and the work of their existing DT as you were tuning in to their blog in the first place. And all of this should stand you in good stead when it comes to working out if that team could be the right fit for you.
However ...

.... call me psychic if you will, but while I know you follow a lot of blogs ... I doubt that you follow them all.

So you're going to miss out on the opportunities from within all those teams you've never even heard of.
Which is where the Scrapbook Calls blog comes in so very useful!
Scrapbook Calls is fantastic resource [I'm not affiliated to it in any way ... I just think it's really useful!].

Manufacturers, publications, online stores, challenge blogs and more ... can all submit the details of their DT calls, online crops, challenges, contests and events which then appear on the Scrapbook Calls blog for all to see.

It really is a one-stop-shop for you to be introduced to many new blogs and lots of new opportunities.
Just a note: many of the calls are from sites within the USA and not all of them accept international entries to their DT. This isn't a majority by any means, but I just thought I'd mention it before you sprint over there full steam ahead.

[2] Social Media:
Increasingly any manufacturer / online store / challenge site who has a blog is also likely to be involved on Facebook or Twitter too. As soon as they're ready to announce their call ... chances are you'll see it there first.

So if you're not already signed up to one or both of those sites ... you might want to give that some thought. 

As with everything I've covered so far in this series - developing social media skills are not something I'm broadly advising everyone to do 'just because'. 

However, if your specific aim is to get on a Design Team, especially the better known ones, as I covered in Part 2 'Balancing Expectations' many  recruiters now include the use of social media as one of their DT requirements.

But don't panic, it's not as big a task as you might fear! As some of you may already know ... when it comes to Twitter ... I've got your back!
Earlier this year I delivered 'Tips for the Twitter-curious' a class which talks you through the ins and outs of having and effectively using a Twitter account. 

I know that it's worked for many people ... because they've tweeted me to tell me so! So, if you're still on the Twitter fence ... give my series a read ... and see where it leads you. 
If you're already using Twitter:
  • Firstly, make sure you're following all of the manufacturers / stores / blogs who you'd be interesting in seeing a DT call from.
Then ...

Save your searches

Use the 'Saved Searches' function on Twitter to help you find out about all the DT calls from teams you didn't know existed!
  • Enter some search words into the search box at the top;
  • Try things such as 'Design Team call' or 'DT call' then hit the search button.
  • Twitter will then return all the tweets it finds which mention those terms.
Here you'll get to see any call from anyone right across Twitter! And your chances of finding a DT opportunity then expand even further.
  • Now click 'Save this Search'.
  • Next time you'll only need to go to the 'Searches' tab on your Home page and select 'Design Team Calls' from the list of searches you've saved.
  • Twitter will do all the seeking for you. 
Similarly, if you're following me over there [I'm @notesonpaper] I often Retweet DT calls I discover, as do others involved in the industry.

So it's definitely a good place to hang around if you're looking for up-to-the-minute DT opportunities.

  • Check out Scrapbook Calls, subscribe to their blog; I think they even have an email newsletter too.
  • If you don't use social media already ... consider it ... soon; 
  • Refer to online tutorials - like my Tips for the Twitter-curious class - to help you with your first steps;
  • If you're already using Twitter, use the Saved Searches function to assist you.
  • Even if you're not interested in the DT element of the Scrapbook Calls blog, it's still worth you having a look at the contests, crops and other events advertised on there.
  • Also - if you click to their Scrapcalls Challenge Blogs button you can see their extensive list of challenge blogs which you might want to work your way through.
  • Entering all those challenges should keep you out of mischief - and keep your blog filled with new projects for a while!
  • It's not only opportunites and vacancies related to the crafts industry which are advertised on Twitter - I've seen many, many job opportunites / expressions of interest / 'can anyone help out' type tweets on there.
  • If you're job hunting make sure to follow any local agencies, business leaders/groups/networks etc plus any establishments you'd ideally like to work for;
  • This way you'll not only be there when they mention a new opportunity - you can get to know what's important to them, what they're engaged in, who else they connect with too. All useful information to have when seeking that new position.

Before I go I'd like to sneak in a quick mention for a Guest Designing spot I have throughout June. It's for  Crafty Templates and I've been working with their latest Quirky Kit, the first project from which I've  blogged about over there today:
Click image to visit the full post.
But you see ... the interesting thing is ... designing with the Quirky Kits was my first ever Design Team experience!  Leo [who owns Crafty Templates] had emailed me to ask if I'd design for her kits after seeing my scrapbook papges in the UKScrappers gallery. I accepted and went on to design for her for 2 years.

I remember being speechless when I read that first message; amazed that someone liked what I did enough to ask me to help promote her new kits. Now, almost 3 years to the day, here we are again ...
  • Leo emailed to ask if I'd like to be a Guest Designer for a month;
  • I accept and then realise what else I'm doing that month ...
  • Why, I'm slap-bang in the middle of delivering a series in which I get to pass on to you everything I learned from that first DT experience onward!
A nice, entirely coincidental, but truly full-circle piece of timing ... wouldn't you say?

Julie x
p.s: see you soon for Part 6 'Making it work for you' where we'll look at surviving your DT experiences ... it is possible ... because look! I'm still here!
Please note: During the 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 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.


  1. I had no idea you could save Twitter searches. Can . . . worms . . . wide open. Saved searches, ho!

    Thank you, favourite font of not-at-all-trivial information. ;)

  2. Oooh - awesome tips! And how cute is your page?! :) Love it!

  3. How kind of you to share! Love love love your new blog look(? I haven't been around for a while). Is this another tutorial you can share with us?


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