One of the biggest, and sometimes most daunting, parts of being a creative virtual assistant is applying to jobs. As the industry grows, there is more competition, which is overwhelming! I have worked with over 90 clients in the last four years, so I know a thing or two about standing out and booking dream clients. It’s not just about applying for a job. It’s about standing out! So, today, I am sharing the Do’s and Don’ts of applying to jobs and how you can book those dream clients!
Before applying for any job, or suggesting your services, research that potential client. Before ever hopping on a call, do the research! No two clients will be the same, even in the same industry! Not every wedding photographer has the same needs or has the same ideal client, so don’t treat them like they do.
I don’t just mean clicking around on their website for 2-3 minutes. I mean really diving. Look at their about page: Who are they? How can you relate to them? Do they have kids? Do they have pets? How did they get started? Think of things that you can easily relate to, so you can make that authentic connection.
For example: If you’re a wedding photographer who is looking to help other photographers, mention this! Explain that you have similar backgrounds as each other, and you know what they are going through.
If they are looking for Pinterest graphics, create three graphics off of one of their blog posts. This will show that you did the research AND show off your graphic skills. This is something that might take you 15 minutes, but it can land you a client! If they are looking for a blogger, share a link to an article you have written that is similar in style to what they need. You don’t have to give away free work. Just give insight into what you can do! Think about it: three quick graphics could book you a client worth thousands!
Do not respond to every single posting you see for a #jobopp. Be selective! If they are not your ideal client, don’t offer your services! Plus, this will make it seem you are not specialized in a skill set – which you are! Customize each touchpoint. Don’t just copy and paste a generic response to each and every job opportunity- really make it unique to them.
Always follow the directions! Make sure to look through each job posting thoroughly. As a creative virtual assistant, you need to be detailed oriented! If the person wants you to have a specific subject line in the email, do it. Respond exactly how they ask and include exactly what they want! I can’t tell you how many times I have posted a job listing in both my bridal shop and now, and people did not read the directions. If I asked for a cover letter, certain email subject, and 3 referrals, I would get dozens that did not do a single step. If the person cannot follow directions on a simple email reply, why would I hire them? This means if they do not want you to DM them, do not DM them! If they want it in the comments only, do not email them!
One big mistake I see a lot of creative virtual assistants make is not reading the complete job description before applying to jobs. Make sure it is what you are able to do and the price point you want to be paid. A lot of times, questions you might have on the job listing will be right inside the description! So make sure to read it thoroughly before applying or asking the company questions.
This can be during business hours, of course, but always respond, even if you do more research and it is not the right job for you. Be honest with your skills and what you offer. If you do not have ten years of Illustrator knowledge, don’t say you do! It is okay to say that you are learning new skills and tools.
Remember to follow up – business owners are busy like us! If you haven’t heard back in 3-5 days, it is okay to send a polite follow-up email. I personally follow up with all possible new clients on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I have a consistent schedule.
Offer your discounted services in exchange for portfolio pieces and a testimonial. But remember – don’t do it for free or without a contract! You are still running a business, so make sure to always charge for your work, even if it is discounted. And always have a contract in place, even if it is a friend. Regardless of who it is, friend or family, ALWAYS have a contract in place! Personally, I use Dubsado to create and send contracts. You can use my affiliate link and get a free trial!
I often get asked: what do I do if I have never had a client? If you are just getting started, create mock-up work! Create social media graphics to share as examples of your work. These can be for your brand, or even just a brand you made up! Create five Pinterest graphics based on your brand, to showcase how you make pins.
And start blogging! If you want to offer blogging, write a blog each week, and link to that as an example of your work and writing style. Just make sure to explain that the items listed are not actual client work, but a representation of what you can do.
This is also a time when you can offer a slight discount – offer your services for a discount so it can be part of your portfolio! Or you can ask a friend – maybe they are looking for some work.
These tips are imperative if you want to get those dream clients. It’s so important that you do as much research as possible before applying to jobs. This prepares you for pitching the client and landing that job.