Friday, September 07, 2007

DT Applications: 10 tips

Okay...so we'll try a pictureless version of this and see how it goes. Here are ten tips I tell folks when applying to law school, applying for jobs and cause this is the way I view it, I think it applies for design team try outs also. I'm by no means a pro. But I've been blessed with more than my fair share of success (and failure--see tip #1) in my scrapping journey. So here it goes!

#10. You can't make the team if you don't show up to try outs. Simply put, be on time. If you're auditioning for the softball team, you don't show up the day after try outs and ask them to make an exception to let you try out for the "team". There is no "i" in team (you know, you know....) but there IS an "i" in exception. If you're expecting one, you're setting a tone you don't want to set that says "I'm a dIva" (yes capital "I") and I expect you to accomodate me.

#9. You won't make the dance team if you show up to auditions without your game face on. Okay...this is going back to high school dance team (I'm from TX) but every girl knew you didn't go to try out day without perfect hair and perfect makeup. Same with DTs. Make sure your submission is flawless. Check your spelling (almost all teams now want some sort of brief writing sample--ie a bio). Make sure your photos are photographed/scanned/copied well.

#8. You won't get most jobs if you don't fill out the whole application. That means don't forget your supply lists. It doesn't have to be as rigid and detailed as in a mag, but at the very least, for each submission sample, give a brief 1-2 line summary. That summary should include the title, if the piece has been published or is going to be published, what was the purpose of the piece and at least a couple notes on obvious/noticable materials. And yes, if you're applying to a DT and you're not trying to niche yourself into the one or two "fresh face" spots, then your work leading up to that application should have a "purpose" beyond scrapping just for you. Remember...you're applying for a job and that job is to market product. That takes many forms from getting published to doing work for tradeshows to creating work for others (even if it is "just" a gift for someone--it has a purpose).

#7. Most jobs require a resume. Personalize and keep your's up to date. No...I'm not talking a "scrapbook resume" from that site, although I do have one there myself. But with Blogger nowadays, you can do something very similar for free. Essentially, have an easy to read running balance of all you are doing. On my resume I did some really simple formatting. If you're struggling because you think "I have no pubs, I'm not on any teams...I just need to catch a break." well read on to number 6.

#6. Give yourself a break. Most folks get frustrated with all the same people making design teams. They make teams because they have a consistent body of work that people can go to and say "I need x by then" and it happens. Get yourself your own break by seeking out opportunities to work under deadlines and consistently produce under other people's parameters. There are lots of challenge blogs, online message board contests, ezines and the likes out there. Try some of those out. As you start getting "published" in the zines (I only say it like that because I'm old school and it took some hard convincing for me to embrace this, but I think of publication more traditionally as "in paper"), you build up a body of work and have info for your resume. If you have NOTHING on your resume, you really may not be ready to try for a particular kind of DT (ie Memory Makers Masters or Scenic Route...one of the "huge showing" calls) at this moment. Doesn't mean you'll NEVER be or that you shouldn't even try. But just go into it knowing that it is a long shot unless you really have and can convey #5. In the meantime, you might be better served beefing up your own resume (instead of fretting other's) by trying for online dt's...etc.

#5. Be passionate, not fake. Be passionate about a company, site, blog BEFORE the design team call goes out and (most importantly in the eyes of authenticity) AFTER the team is announced and you're not on it. If you really love a product, site or blog, it will show in your actions, not your words. You'll be active on the boards (if possible/applicable) well before the call is announced and you'll stay put after the call ends. You'll use their products in your layouts before and after the call. If you are passionate and not fake, it really shows and can make that difference between two equally talented scrapbookers vying for that last shot on the team.

#4. Sell yourself. Well...not like that. But really focus on what it is the team needs (almost every call puts pretty clearly what will be expected of team members) and outline how you can fulfill their needs in detail. I tend to go line by line--must be able to post layouts in online forums...I mention that I'm active (and give them links where they can easily see my gallery and info on my activity) on specific message boards. Go line by line. Match your skill set to their needs. That is key--THEIR needs, YOUR skill set. Match them together with concrete examples beyond "I can fulfill your DT needs."

#3. You sure are talented...so is she. Just remember it isn't (more times than not) about the talent. So you shouldn't necessarily submit your three-five best/favorite pieces. You should pick the 3-5 that best convey a sense of what you can do on the team. While I'm all for getting product specific, if the call does not SPECIFICALLY tell you to use just their materials, use what you like and are GOOD AT but also take time to push yourself. That means starting well before the deadline. More specifically, I'm saying if they want 3-5 examples of your work and they are a company that sells paper, embies, stamps and pens and you only have some of their paper, dont' submit 5 examples using just their paper. Submit 1 or 2 to showcase your use of their product, but then use the stamps you DO have to show what you can do with stamps. Use the other embies you DO have to show what unique ways you can use similar embies. If you truly want to push yourself for a bigger team, understanding the requirements of the team can easily be replicated in real time--just make sure to create all new layouts for the call and maybe even go hunting for that obscure object that you're supposed to use on a page but somehow can no longer find. That will go a long way to pushing you to "experience" what life will be like on the actual team (tight deadlines, not executing just as you thought that idea would and so having to go out and find another set of buttons to retry your idea...etc.) and if you're ready to do that.

#2. Your looks will only get you so far. That said, I think 99.9% of life is in the presentation. Pay as much attention to your presentation as the layouts themselves. I promise the extra time is absolutely worth it especially if there are bigger calls with a bigger turnout where you really need to be able to stand out from the crowd.

#1. Keep trying. Only you can decide this but I have a threshold where I say something along the lines of "I need to 'make' x number out of the y number of things I try for." I use the threshold as a gauge of where my "talent" fits into the field at the moment. I do this by adjusting the teams/contests/etc. I try for to make sure I hit those x and y numbers. For example, if my threshold is that I need to make good on 1 out of every 3 things I try for, then I apply accordingly. Meaning, if I've tried for 2 whatevers and not made it, my third try is NOT going to be for Hall of Fame or Memory Makers Master. I make my own determinations (as you should with your's) in regards to what is "not likely" on an individual basis. But for me, I wouldn't try HOF on a third. Some folks would, could, should and have it like that. I don't. My parameters. Dig deep in your soul for own.

29 comments:

Stephanie Jedlicka said...

This is AWESOME! I am totally saving this! Thank you so much. :)

Peg Graham said...

B....thanks for posting this.
You rock!!!

hugs-Peg

Cricket said...

Bernadette, these are FABULOUS tips!!

Smiles,

RiNNE said...

OMG...Thank you so much! You've opened my eyes because I was totally down about not making this one DT call, but you are right! This is a business!! Do not take it so personally! And present yourself well!! You're awesome!

RiNNE said...

Oh, and I linked to you on my blog today...hope you don't mind :).

Sarah said...

Thank you so much. Great tips.

Laurie said...

You are so spot on! Love it! This is absolutely great advice! Thank you so much for sharing it! :)

Cindy said...

Great tips. Love this.

aimee said...

B- you are the best for sharing all of this. Thanks for the reminders that really are common sense- those are the easiest to forget!
--aimee

shawnna said...

I am so LOVING this!!!
I have tried for 2 spots
one an online DT and another was a manufacturer (though I knew my chances were slim to none on that one ;) ) anyway I was HEART BROKEN over the online DT call- I want to submit more I just haven't worked up the nerve

Thank You -

Trina said...

VERY GOOD TIPS!!!!!

Lori Gentile said...

Thank you! Your advice is fantastic!

KimC said...

B- thanks for the great info! I hope you're doing great :)
~pursejunkie~

Fiona (aka Erisindevon) said...

I really enjoyed reading your tips. I'm not currently in the DT race, but if i was, i'd be workinh through these pointers one by one. Thanks for sharing.

Brigitte said...

Cool !! Thanks for sharing all these !! :)

Lusi Austin said...

Fantastic tips!
Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience with us :)
Lusi x

Trish said...

Wow. Really, really well said. I just had a DT call for my monthly kit club, and the folks that were selected were the whole package--and you are on the money.

And there were several gals who did great work (and I had a tough time making decisions, honestly)--but a lot of the work looked similar to someone else's (lots of "trendy" pages--white space, etc.) The decision then came to their application/presentation.

Thanks for posting this!!!

Trish

dana said...

Thanks Bernadette!! Very informative--I read it all. And True! :)

milkcan said...

Awesome post!

Ady said...

Great ideas. Thanks. I thought I wasn't ready to try out for a DT but after reading this I know I can do this. Thanks for all the wonderful tips.

Julie O. said...

Wow, Bernadette! You really took some time with this! I want you to know it is appreciated and I think it will help and encourage a lot of people (including myself!)

Melissa McCarthy said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this. It was inspirational!

Staci said...

This is awesome advice Bernadette! Thanks for sharing it.

BarbG said...

I am REALLY ENJOYING your layouts! Keep up the 'Great' work!!! You are one really talented girl, and I hope all your dreams come true...like the cruise and having your very own scrapbook line :-)
Happy weekend!!!

liannallama said...

great advice--thanks!

PS--my mom's name is Bernadette--not very many of you around, LOL! She goes by Bunny!

Silvitanova said...

Thank you!

Maureen said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips

Michelle LaPoint Rydell said...

Thank you so much for writing this post! I am saving it so I can refer to it again and again! Great advice!

xo
Michelle (aka ravenea)

natasha said...

Thank you so much. It is so refreshing to see someone successful giving back to a "fresh face" like me! Hope to be in those shoes one day and give back myself! Thank you!!

natasha