How to approach people in your industry

Are you a student that recently graduated or just looking for some assistance when trying to get into an industry? Well, I have some #cool tips for you. I used to hire and train interns at one point in my career and had to encounter quite a few hopeful candidates.  I’ve also approached people in my industry for insight and guidance, with really positive results.

In the last three years, I’ve had people try and approach me about work, internships and general assistance when I was hiring.

So here’s a few tips that may help you.

(Sidenote: these tips are targeted towards someone who has pretty regular internet access and is an avid social media user. I wrote this with the potential interns/graduates I encountered in mind.)

Update your CV and cover letter

If you stay ready, you don’t need to get ready. Before you approach someone in your industry, try and get your CV  or portfolio in order. That way, if you’re asked to send it through at short notice, you’re prepared. Struggling to find nice CV templates? You can check out Canva.com or just use Google to find other resources that will work for you. Try and save your document as a PDF so it looks more professional to your potential employers.

Pro-tip: do NOT put your ID number on your CV! People scam all the damn time and you’re putting yourself at risk of identity fraud.  

Approach someone through proper communication channels

In 2018,  most young graduates are online and following their would-be mentors on as much social media platforms as possible. The access is there and honestly, if you have WiFi, your world is an open book.

Chances are, you’ve found someone you admire in your field and want to know how they got started. If you have, try and approach them properly. Check their social media for an  email address or DM them to ask if they have one for queries. Why? Asking someone to assist you for free is labour on their part. The least you can do is use the channels they’re comfortable with. You’re more likely to get all the information you need and more. Secondly, emails are a easily accessible paper trail, where documents can be sent.

Pro-tip: Make sure your social media bio and avi is updated (and clearly shows who you are). People like to know who they’re engaging with.

Do your research

So, you’ve found their email address and want to reach out? Try and do a bit of research about a) them and b) the topic you want to ask about. Essentially, you want to get their insight about the industry or a particular topic. It helps to know what you’re talking about because you’re more likely to get a positive response. The other point is that this helps you, as learning about the industry can only be beneficial in the future.

Pro-tip: DON’T LIE. People check references and if you don’t have a particular skill-set, most people will be able to tell.

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Be upfront and not pushy 

When you trying to get hold of someone, state your intentions clearly. There’s nothing worse than a rambling email that doesn’t get to the point. Ask for you want concisely, don’t subject someone to an essay. Being aggressive and overly familiar is usually not a good move because they don’t know you personally. It’s important to note how you’re coming across because your tone will greatly impact the response you get.

People also talk about and share their experiences with someone, you don’t want to make a terrible impression.

You’re also more likely to get some helpful information if you’re able to assess what you need.

Hope this helps and if you have any queries, you can email me on alyxcarolus@gmail.com

 

-A

 

 

 

 

 

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