Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Career Couch"

If you're not pulling in jobs on a regular basis, maybe it's time to refocus and adjust.
I've been having a tough time with all the recession talk to pull in work. I've also heard the same from producers and photographers I know. Sometimes the summer can be slow but with the weather in the US (especially in New England) being nice and the daylight lasting longer we all hope to get more jobs.

So I took a step back this weekend and asked myself a few questions (after I read an article in the New York Times). The first was whether I had any beer or wine in the house?... kidding... kind of.

How can I re-energize myself?
I felt like I was losing some of my original momentum and motivation so I wanted to get outside my own head. I wanted to organize and clean up my work space first and foremost. I'm a pretty organized person, art buyers usually have to be and detail oriented as well. So for me the best way to start was there. The next step was to see what needed improvement - what might someone see in my resume, my presence or the way I meet with them? So I'm in the process of making a list of pros and cons including feedback and advice I've received.

How can I ensure that I am standing out to potential clients/employers?
I try and customize each letter to the potential client that I email out. Making sure that any client experience I list in the email matches with the genre of their clients so they know I have knowledge of that field and the potential client needs. I try to describe my experience and personality to match with some of the needs and atmosphere of the agency or client (Don't fib just to make sure there's a match, if there isn't one be true to yourself and your talents.)

How can I network more?
I'm a big proponent for networking (as you can see from previous posts). I don't expect people in my network to automatically give me a job or to help me out but I do try to stay on their radar and when they need advice on something I always do my best to help. I try to ask people I know what they love about their job and how they found that position. Everyone has a different experience and valuable advice. Another Massachusetts art buyer gathers art buyers and photographers in the area for a cocktail party one night a year to mix and mingle. I'm considering borrowing her idea for a summer gathering.

I've had numerous meetings but no offers from those meetings... why not??
It's ok because I'm still getting meetings and they are productive. I'm also trying to switch things up when I speak to people. Instead of me doing a lot of the talking about past experiences I try to bring to the table what I see in portfolios reviews - a dialogue. Questioning the "interviewer" about what they are looking for or if they feel my skills match is also effective. I like having a discussion rather than feeling like I'm talking at them.

Are my expectations and goals unrealistic?
I don't believe so because I love, really love what I do. I also feel the more people I speak to the more of a chance I have to pull in some jobs. I like to set goals for myself whether it's short term or long term because then I feel like I'm accomplishing things. When I'm productive I feel a sense of pride. I have pride in what I do and in myself and I think this is incredibly important in moving forward for anyone.