Posted 23 May 2019

When’s the best time to send an email? Advice on starting out from Charlotte Heal

When you’re just starting to take your first steps into industry, there’s often a lot to consider. From knowing who to email and when, to simply maintaining a positive mindset and persevering when things are slow. Here, we revisit some of the advice that creative director Charlotte Heal shared with us at the start of Lecture in Progress’ very own journey.

Do your homework
Starting out is a lonely business and not easy if you’ve enjoyed the bubble of study and a conceptual education. So, before you leave college, try to spend time working out the what studios or clients you might want to approach.

Run an evaluation of yourself: What are your strengths? Which direction do you want to go in? Don’t just blitz a list of the cool current studios – instead, work out what you would benefit from, where you’re likely to be most creative (e.g. a small or large studio environment) and what you might want to add to your skillset. An honest considered approach will stand you in good stead if you get a foot in the door and an interview, assuming you are looking for employment.

Don’t panic!
It’s very easy to feel disheartened when you see your friends start to pick up placements or work. But as long as you are proactive, and a little stubborn, it will pay off. If you can’t get in to see studios, don’t be afraid to contact clients directly and begin building an initial body of work.

Every studio (if you’re seeking employment) is looking for those with initiative. Showing you have the confidence and ability to go after work directly is a positive thing.

“It’s not cool receiving emails late into the night or on the weekend.”

Get savvy with your money
Be organised when it comes to number crunching. Know your worth and work out your day and hourly rate: What do you expect to earn in the first year? In my view, the business studies element is sadly not discussed enough within arts education and can leave recent graduates floundering. But there are a lot of forums online now so it’s worth trawling through, and discussing this with your peers and tutors. Don’t feel awkward for bringing up the topic of fees – this is what we do for a living, even if we happen to enjoy it too.

Most things start with an email
From my own experience of receiving emails from those starting out, I like to see a web link, as well as a bespoke PDF attachment. I tend to lose the emails sent at certain times of the day – especially on a Friday afternoon or in the middle of a busy day. Personally, early morning suits as the day may not have begun in earnest for that prospective employer.

This applies to working with clients generally; it’s not cool receiving emails late into the night or on the weekend. You need to set boundaries. By all means formulate things at the weekend if needs be, but be sure to send only during work hours.

Get stuck in and trust your gut
Lastly – use your gut instincts, be friendly and curious, provide a firm handshake, be presentable (but comfortable) and don’t be shy – we all learn the most by getting stuck in.


See more from Charlotte on her website here.

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