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How to Get the Interview

Lesson 18 from: FAST CLASS: A Brand Called You

Debbie Millman

How to Get the Interview

Lesson 18 from: FAST CLASS: A Brand Called You

Debbie Millman

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Lesson Info

18. How to Get the Interview

Lesson Info

How to Get the Interview

So you have to do essentially, four things. You have to make the calls. You have to write the letters. You have to create the promotions and you have to attend the events. And everything needs to be measured. So I want to start first with the notion now of calling. When you call someone, you're essentially asking for something. So what we are doing when we are looking for jobs is asking for things. We're asking for this job. Most people hate to be asked for anything. First of all, humans don't like to say no. We'd rather have that artificial harmony. And second of all, asking somebody for something then requires them to make an effort, which most people also don't wanna do because they're too busy doing other things. So we're not in a particularly good place when we have to start searching for something that may not have existed before, this particular job that you want. So you need to identify who you're going to call and why. So the first thing you need to do is have more than one dr...

eam job. You need to have about 10. I want you to have 10 dream jobs. Yeah, you might love to work for Sagmeister. But you know what? You might not get the job at Sagmeister. That doesn't mean that a dream job wouldn't be amazing if you got to work at Pentagram, but they might not want you either. So that means that a dream job might be amazing at Siegel and Gale or Carbone Smolan. There are lots of opportunities to create dream jobs out there. You need to start with at least a list of 10. And you should always at any given time have a list of 10. And if you can't find a list of 10, you're not doing enough work to find dream jobs. Because there are a lot of dream jobs out there. You need to find them. They're not gonna find you. So first you need to have a list of the top 10 people you want to work with. And then you have to decide, how am I going to go about asking them for opportunities? They may or may not have a dream job available for me. They might not have the dream job that you've been waiting for on monster.com. So you have to go about creating an opportunity for yourself. And that means being in touch with somebody at that organization, to be able to get in the door, to be able to show your work. So let's talk about making phone calls. How many people here got more than three phone calls today? No one. Okay, how many got two? Okay, four or five people. How many got one? Okay, another four or five people. How many got none? Okay, what happens now when the phone rings? (audience mumbles) You're ever so slightly more amazed at the fact that somebody is actually calling you. (laughter) Right? Because what we do now is text and email. Now in the old days, back when Jim and I were doing rubylith and drafting tables, you would call somebody and maybe the assistant answered or more than likely it just went to voicemail. It was impossible to reach anybody via phone. There were guard dogs up everywhere. Now, it's a little bit easier. I suggest that you bring back the art of cold calling. And this is terrifying. Most people have what is called massive call reluctance. They will rather do anything than cold call somebody on the telephone. They would rather do anything than cold call. But you have to, because you want something from someone and you need to ask them. And there's no way to avoid that. And the fastest quickest way to a yes or no is by actually calling somebody directly. You're going to be very clear, very quick, and very honest about what you want. You're going to say, "Hi, my name is Debbie Millman. "And I was wondering if it would be possible "to get a few minutes of Michael Beirut's time." Michael Beirut is now going to kill me for doing this. (laughter) And she's going to say, "For what purpose?" And you're going to say very, very succinctly, very clearly with a lot of honesty and joy in your voice, "I'd love to be able to show him my portfolio "if he has a few moments." That's it. No big, long thing. If you've recently graduated, a great thing to say is, "I just graduated from the School of Visual Arts. "Would it be possible to show Mr. Beirut my portfolio?" That's it. That's it. You do not want to go on and on and on about the reasons why you would like to show your portfolio. Most of the time, you're going to get an answer such as "Will you please send us your work?" And I'll talk about that in a moment. We'll get to what happens when they say that. If Michael Beirut answers directly, you say the same thing. "Hi, my name is Debbie Millman. "I'm a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts." Or, "I am currently working at Carbone Smolan "and I was wondering if it would be possible for me "to come in and show you my portfolio." That's it. One sentence, two max. That is it. No fawning over how much you love their work. Try not to stammer. Try not to blather on like an idiot. Just one or two really simple, straight to the point sentences that introduces you and states your intention. You want to be able to have either a yes or no answer. Yes, no, or maybe if you have to. Yes, we'll talk about that in a minute. No, very rare that people actually say no. Again, artificial harmony. People don't like to actually intentionally hurt people's feelings. So what you're most likely going to hear is, "Can you please send us your work?" Now here's where you want to push back a little bit. And you can say things like, "I would really love to be able to show the work in person. "It looks much better that way." Which is true. You have to be very careful with how much you're going to push to try to get into that scenario. You also could say, "Would it be possible for me "to just drop off my portfolio "rather than send something in the mail?" That's very old school. That's the way we used to do things. Anybody that's working in a big agency with a big reputation likely has had to do that as they were coming up through the ranks. And that would be what I recommend. You also get the opportunity to drop it off. So to see what's going on and see and feel the energy of the studio and then potentially pick it up as well. I doubt that they're going to mail it back to you. So you want, at all costs, to try to just get the portfolio into their hands. And then if it's beautiful as I expect it is, 'cause there's nothing you have to apologize about with your portfolio, you're hopeful at that point that you will indeed get a call back. The opportune thing is to try to actually get the face-to-face. That might take time. They might say, "Please drop off the portfolio "or please send the portfolio." If you're speaking to an assistant, you need to make that assistant your best pal. Now you're also going to try to focus when you're making these calls on the goal. The goal isn't a job offer. The goal is to get in front of someone. The goal is to have an opportunity to meet someone so that when you're in their presence, you can charm them and you can create a mutuality and you can show them how much passion and energy you have for the idea of being able to work for them. So when you're making these calls, you have to focus on your goals. And you have to do even more preparation. I've already talked a little bit about what to say. You want to be very, very pithy. Short, fast, sweet, not too sweet, just genuine with a clear goal in mind. And the goal is, I'd like to make a connection on the phone with someone. I want to make a connection on the phone with an assistant or with the actual person. Now, if you get the actual person and they say, "No, I'm sorry, there's no opportunities at this moment." You thank them for their time. You thank them for being able to even talk to you. And then you write them a handwritten note and thank them for talking to you. And then they go on your list that you are going to follow, people that you're going to follow up with. And they're going to go on a list of people that are going to start receiving your promotions, which I'm going to talk about in a minute. So just because they say no now doesn't mean they're going to say no forever. So a couple of other phone tricks to get people to give you an opportunity. If you live in New York, tell people that you live in New York if they have studios in New York. You could say, "I live in New York." "Would it be possible?" So you're not making a big trek to see them. And they realize that this is something that isn't actually requiring you buying a plane ticket. If you are living in New York, but the studio that you want to work in is in Berlin or in San Francisco, then consider going to Berlin or San Francisco and calling those agencies and saying, "I'm actually going to be in Berlin. "Would it be possible to see you while I'm here?" "Would it be possible to see you when I'm in San Francisco?" People are also much more willing to allow you to come in to see them if they know that you don't live there and are making the trip to be there as long as it's not for them. People don't ever want to feel like you're doing something that is going to require them to owe you something. So do it because you want to be there anyway, and then hope that you can see them while you're there. Another thing that often helps if you're just trying to reach anybody in an organization is just call a random number using their main number. So if their main number ends in 2000, call two one two three. (laughter) See who answers. Tell him that you're a designer and you're looking to reach the design department.

Ratings and Reviews

Hilary Larson
 

I was not expecting to get so much out of this accelerated class! Debbie is a captivating speaker who manages to get her points across directly while maintaining a strong sense of relatability with her audience. I really look forward to taking what I have learned here with me as I move forward in my career as a visual artist. Highly recommended.

Michelle
 

This class is for a specific audience - young or new-to-the-field designers. It is NOT a branding class for the regular person. The class description is misleading. However, there are bits and tips that anyone can benefit from, but you have to sit through the entire presentation to get those bits and tips. I am not a designer. Because I had the all-access pass, I dipped in and out of different classes, speeding up and skipping as needed. I found enough value in this Fast Class: A Brand Called You to watch it, rather than the long one. I can see how this would benefit new designers as they job hunt.

Matías Obando Ruiz
 

Debbie the OG

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