I thought I would put together this blog as I don't think I see it talked about much and I find it extremely important. It is so great that we are all able to connect so easily through the internet and students are able to contact professionals directly. When it comes to dealing with people, first impressions always go a long way and can be hard to change whether it be good or bad. I get messaged daily from people asking for feedback or just generally trying to talk to me so I thought I would put together a "what to do" and "what not to do". This is just my personal opinion after dealing with quite a decent amount of people that have reached out to me. Other people tackle this differently but overall remember to be professional and be polite.
Adding Professionals on Social Media
This entirely depends on the person but a lot of people are fine with letting other people they don't know add them on Facebook. I myself usually accept people if I see some art related thing on their profile. It can be a cool way of interacting with and keeping up to date with other artists. If the person doesn't accept you though don't take it personally. They might simply just not like to add people they don't know in person.
If they do accept you, DON'T go back through their whole profile liking every single thing they posted over 3 months giving them 30 notifications from you. It is definitely one way to get yourself noticed but also a good way to get yourself removed.
This is a big NO, Just because a professional has accepted you. Don't go through their friends list and start adding all of their friends too. The amount of times my friends have asked me who this random person is and I am the only mutual connection. Some times the friend wasn't even in the industry. Definitely DO NOT go and add the professionals significant other either, its just creepy and inappropriate.
The most important thing to keep in mind when messaging a person is that the whole world doesn't revolve around you. Other people have their own busy lives and priorities. If you do message someone just be polite and to the point. Keep it simple and clear what you are after. Something simple like.
"Hey I am a big fan of your work. I know you are busy but I would be very grateful if you could give me your opinion of my work when you had the time"
To the point and polite while being understanding that they may be busy and can get back to you later. No pressure.
If the person doesn't respond or you see that they have "seen" but not responded. Don't take it personally. There has been so many times I have seen a message while walking to work but I want to have a proper look at their folio. I will usually wait until I am free because I want to give them legitimate feedback, This could be that night or might even be a few days later if I forget. As I mentioned above, people have their own lives.
If the person doesn't respond wait a few days and just give them a polite nudge, something along the lines of "Hello I was wondering if you got my message". DON'T message back immediately after you see they have "seen" your message and go "Why didn't you respond to me" (its happened a few times). This is not going to make the professional want to help you at all.
Like I said above people could simply forget or get preoccupied with something else and a gentle nudge reminds them. If the person doesn't respond after the nudge just leave it at that, its done. No point trying to push or hassle the person anymore. The main thing to keep in mind is this person doesn't owe you anything. If they don't want to respond they don't have to.
Asking for and Receiving Feedback
This is a pretty touchy topic for both the professional and whoever is asking for the feedback. If the professional has agreed to look at your work, awesome, be grateful for their time because as said above, they don't owe you anything and are taking time out of their day to help you.
The first thing is you are asking them for their opinion because hopefully you respect them. I would suggest taking on board their criticism or at least not fighting them about it. Don't take it personally if they are ripping apart your work. It is nothing personal and this is something you will have to deal with on day to day basis when you yourself are a professional. They are trying to help you. There is no point sugar coating or lying to someone that is trying to learn to just not hurt their feelings. What you are asking the professional for is legitimate feedback so expect legitimate feedback, Not gushing praise, unless your work is amazing.
What you decide to do with this new information is up to you. You can take on board what they are saying or just completely ignore it.
If you take on the feedback and hit it quickly while showing you have understood and applied their points immediately, this goes a long way. It is extremely satisfying to see a student that has clearly shown they respects you by applying what you have said. This will make the professional want to help you more in the future and could build a bond between the 2 people. The student also grows a lot faster because they have a stream of good consistent feedback and direction. Who knows one day the professional might even get this person a job. There are a few people I would recommend who have contacted me in the past because I could see they took criticism well and learned fast.
If you do ignore it however don't ask them for feedback again in the future. There is nothing more frustrating than having a student constantly ignore your feedback and keep showing you new work over and over that has nothing to do with what you said. A well known professional could get messaged daily by people asking for feedback and if it starts to appear like their time is wasted. You might not only get no feedback anymore but that connection could be broken. Your reputation could even be tarnished in their eyes.
Possibly one of the most insulting things you can do is to not even respond to them at all after they go to great lengths to give you feedback. Even if you don't agree with it, always thank them for their time. It is incredibly frustrating to write paragraphs trying to help someone and they don't even say thank you. Sometimes never even respond at all when they themselves were the one who sought the feedback.
Dealing with Recruiters on Linkedin
If there is anyone you should be professional to, its a recruiter.
These people are the gate keepers to studios and Linkedin above all should be a professional space. Don't post pictures with your cat or motivational quotes on Linkedin.
Firstly I see a lot of recruiters post a specific job they are looking for "We need a Senior compositor for our Montreal office ASAP, must be Canadian or PR". Don't comment in the same thread. "Hey I'm a Jr Texture artist in Australia, do you have any spots open in your London office" Its probably not even the same recruiter by the way.
Just find out who the recruiters are for the studio location you are looking for and add them on Linkedin, recruiters will accept everyone. When dealing with recruiters they are way busier than professionals so here you definitely need to be to the point. Just send a polite private message to the person.
" Hello ________
I am a Jr texture artist with x years of experience in Australia. I was wondering if you had any upcoming positions in your London office. My portfolio can be found here _______
Thank you for your time
If the recruiter responds always thank them regardless of the result, you want to keep a positive connection. As said above its very frustrating for a professional to give you their time and it gets ignored. Who knows, this recruiter could contact you in the future if there is currently no spots. If a recruiter doesn't like you because you are rude, You could potentially not be able to work in that studio unless they left. Always be polite online.
It is great the internet has given students the ability to connect directly to professionals they look up to and get life changing feedback. It is something I wish I had done when I was self teaching myself 8 years ago. With that though comes a great responsibility. You MUST act polite and professional when dealing with professionals and recruiters, especially if you don't know them on a personal level. You want to grow as much as you can as a student and to do that you need guidance from those with experience. There is no point shooting yourself in the foot by being rude. Stay nice, be professional and my bad if i don't respond right away.
Ask any questions below