Shooting your shot as we may know it, is being interested in someone you like and pursuing them by either sliding in their DM’s to get to know them or by approaching them in person. Now, shooting your ‘career shot’ is exactly the same, but instead relates to pursuing your dream career opportunity. In doing so, you try your luck at approaching your career crush, someone who has the potential to offer you exciting and unique exposure to the industry. But, like many people, you probably haven’t mustered up the courage to pop up in their inbox or figured out other ways to grab their attention. If you’ve been overthinking it for weeks or months even, it’s finally time to put your mind to rest! We’ve compiled a few tips on how to shoot your career shot. So, put your big girl or boy pants on and aim high!
Observe and do your research on your crush
Before going on a romantic date with a crush, you would typically do your research by checking out their social media platforms to gauge what type of person they are (aka giving them a ‘casual stalk’). The same rules apply with your #careercrush or the company you’re eyeing.
Start by researching your person of interest and their company intensively. Gain knowledge about their accomplishments, career timeline, improvements they’ve made in their career or any project they worked on that you loved. Always try to find something that stands out and shows you’ve been paying attention and following their journey. For instance, mention an article you have read about them or an interview that impacted you. Observe their journey, where they started and how they landed where they are.
I personally have a few women I look up to in the fashion and editorial industry such as Elaine Welteroth and L’oreal Blackett. I’ve even emailed one of them for a coffee date and got a ‘yes’. I prepared questions for her and she willingly answered them and also gave me advice about the industry. As well as taking the time to meet, she introduced me to several of her fashion contacts. The key lessons I’ve learned from all their journeys is that they all interned at the beginning of their journeys and built their portfolios by writing for different publications, which is something I’ve applied in my career trajectory.
Attend similar events and network
The same way you could potentially ‘bump’ into your crush at a social event is the same way you could have the perfect opportunity to network and be in the same room as your role models and your career crush at a conference or career event. Go to events with the intent to network and build professional relationships. Always be prepared by carrying business cards with you and taking notes.
Before I asked my career crush out on a ‘date’, I first met her at an event. I introduced myself and sparked up a conversation. During our chat, I plucked up the courage and asked for her contact details. We exchanged business cards and I promised her that I would be in touch; ensuring not to take too much of her time at the event by keeping our conversation brief. Had I not shot my shot on the spot, I don’t think it would’ve been easy to successfully secure a coffee date with her. Shooting your shot at events is a good way to leave a lasting impression and often has the strongest influence on whether someone will respond to your emails and subsequently meet you or not.
Have your elevator pitch ready
Now that you’re in the same room as your career crush, take this opportunity to introduce yourself. Don’t corner them or be intrusive. Introduce yourself briefly, articulate yourself well and make a lasting impression. An elevator pitch is a quick summary of yourself and should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20-30 seconds, hence the name. A captivating elevator pitch is persuasive, short, concise, comes across as natural and has a call to action at the end. Examples of call to actions can include asking for a meeting, expressing an interest in a job or exchanging contact details.
Remember to practice your elevator pitch in the mirror at home. Get really comfortable and make it conversational, as opposed to a salesman pitch.
Think about what you’re bringing to the table
When you have a crush on someone you typically think about what you can offer them and what makes you unique and irresistible. Think about the skills, experiences and qualifications you have that could be useful to them. Tap into your USP and use what you have as leverage. Ask yourself these questions:
– What can I do for the company?
– Why do you want to work for them?
– What makes you unique?
Slide in their emails
Sliding in your romantic crushes DM’s is daunting but the worst thing that could happen is not getting a response. Doing the same thing with career crush can be just as daunting but always apply the same tips you learned from the elevator pitch. Firstly, always aim for emails as opposed to DM’s. Have a clear and concise subject line, keep your email short but detailed and always conclude with a call to action that’s convenient for them, such as mentioning that you’re willing to pop into their office at a time/date that suits their diary. You could also attach your polished CV in the email. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive a response immediately, people are busy and in most cases, it’s not intentional. If there’s no response after a week or two, make sure to follow-up but don’t be too forward in your email.
You may not feel like it, but with the tips above, trust me – you’re ready to shoot your career shot! Push through the risk of failure, smash a longtime goal and secure a bag while you’re at it! What will your first step be? Have a look on eventbrite and book yourself into an event your crush is speaking at. Don’t forget to let us know how it goes.
Words by Wandi Lee