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Question time : How to get a placement

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
— Arthur Ashe
placementprep

So I know that when I was looking to get a placement, I had a lot of questions. I spent a lot of time asking different people their opinions, so here are some of the answers to the questions I had when I first started looking.

How do I approach a company?

There's plenty of ways to get a companies attention, but there were three different approaches I was told about when I was trying to get a companies attention. But before you even think about contact a company, you need to do your research. What kind of work do they do? Do they have any long standing clients? Who is the boss? Who is the best person in the company for you to contact? These are all questions you need to have answers to before you start communications. 

Once you know who the best person is to contact (usually a studio manager or director), you can start thinking about how to talk to them. I started trying to get on a companies radar by tweeting to them, be it their company account or their personal account. I usually try and ask that person a question, people are more likely to answer you if you are asking for advice. This means when you send a follow up email, they might remember you. In terms of email, there's a few important things you need to remember: 

  1. Do not use 'dear sir/madam'. An email to a company needs to be personalised, you need to know the name of the person you are addressing. 
  2. Flattery goes a long way - make sure in the email you compliment them on a particular piece of work they have done that you like. It shows you have done your research, and it's not just a copy and pasted email you send to everyone. 
  3. Introduce yourself, who you are, what you do, what your interested in and what you want from them.
  4. Keep the language professional, you don't want to be speaking to a company director or manager as if they are a good friend you've known for a long time. 
  5. Lastly, keep it short and sweet, people are busy, and they are likely to ignore a lengthy email because they won't have time to read it, one or two paragraphs maximum.

What format do I send my portfolio in?

When I first started sending my portfolio out to companies, I sent a link to my Behance page. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, I did get some work experience from doing that. However there are better ways for you to show your portfolio. The first option is to send a PDF of your portfolio, a lot of companies actually request you send a PDF if you are applying for a job, usually under 10MB. So make sure if you choose this option, it's really well designed. Check my previous posts for ideas/help. The other option is to set up a website for yourself, there's a lot of great templates out there if your not a web designer, and gives you a really professional look. Just make sure any imagery you use is really well done. 

Lastly, practice makes perfect. If you have a top list of companies, don't make them the first people you contact. Find some other companies you like and talk to them first, the more you write emails and tweets etc, the easier it will come. You will also learn what does and doesn't work from whether you get replies or not.

I hope these answers help to shed some light, if anyone has any questions they want answering, send them over to beccyfisk@gmail.com. I'm going to make this a regular post, and hopefully get some interviews done with some different companies so you can find out what they like to see in an applicant.