Do you want to become a lawyer? This is often one of the most difficult professions to enter due to the high competition and time required obtaining degrees, but it can be one of the most rewarding (and high-paying!) jobs out there. Here are the steps you need to take in order to become a lawyer in the United States.
What To Do In High School And College
- Study hard. Develop and practice very good study habits, communication and reading comprehension skills.
- Participate in your high-school debate or mock trial team. This will help you develop skills that are essential to a career as a lawyer.
- Go to (and graduate from) a 4-year undergraduate college. Every law school will require you to have an undergraduate degree.
- Maintain a high GPA. A minimum 3.0 GPA will be required for almost every law school in the country. Most colleges don’t factor your particular major into the application, so choosing a very difficult subject may be but a disadvantage since your GPA might suffer.
- The exception is for those interested in Intellectually Property law. To sit for the Patent Bar (which is required in addition to the Bar) you will need a degree in a technical science or math. (Biology, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, etc.)
- Become familiar and cordial with a professor or two since you will need their letter of recommendation for law school. Do well in their classes and be an engaging student.
Applying for Graduate School
- Register and study for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
- The LSAT is a half-day standardized test required for admission to all ABA-approved law schools, most Canadian law schools, and many non-ABA-approved law schools. It provides a standard measure of acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools can use as one of several factors in assessing applicants. The test is administered four times a year at hundreds of locations around the world.
- Many students take a preparatory course to prepare them for the LSAT.
- Although the LSAT is not often the best measure of a prospective law student’s performance in law school, many law schools place substantial weight on scores on the LSAT, often approaching the weight given to college GPA. Take the LSAT very seriously. Some schools give more attention to the LSAT than GPA.
- If your GPA isn’t the best, you can score well on the LSAT and it will be heavily taken into account. Scoring higher is also a factor for financial aid with most schools.
- A 180 is a perfect score on the LSAT.
- Many law schools require the LSAT be taken by December for admission the following fall. However, taking the test earlier (June or October) is often advised.
- Apply to several ABA (American Bar Association)-accredited law schools. Many candidates apply to three categories of schools:
- Wish schools (wish I could get in but probably too competitive for my credentials)
- Middle of the road (my credentials are the same as the average student these schools admit)
- Safety (lower tier than I would like, but a safe bet I will get in if other schools don’t come through).
- Choose wisely. Application fees are high. U.S. News and World Report publishes a widely followed ranking of law schools that may be worth consulting before sending applications.
- Resist the urge to apply to every school sending application fee waivers. These do not guarantee admission.
- Unfortunately, some schools are trying to generate a large base of rejected applicants by waiving application fees. Doing so makes their applied vs. accepted number seem higher and their school more selective. Although some schools may actively recruit you, you should apply with common sense.
- Save money and form a plan for survival. Many respected full time law programs will not permit you to work your first year. Even if they allow you to, they will strongly advise against it since your program will essentially be a full-time job.
- If you must work, you should consider a part time program.
- Devote yourself to the program. Expect to spend very large amounts of time reading cases, researching case law, writing detailed briefs, and preparing to answer questions in class. Join a study group with people in your program early on.
- Professional experience. If you have time, get a position at a law firm while you are a student that involves serving as an assistant, messenger or file clerk. At the very least, do a summer internship program. This is a great way to gain experience and build contacts for when you do graduates.
- Research the jurisdiction where you hope to practice. While in law school, research the requirements for bar admittance in the jurisdiction where you want to practice and fulfill those requirements. Most jurisdictions also require the Professional Responsibility Exam.
Finding Work As A Lawyer
- Pass a state bar exam. Typically, you take and pass the bar exam the summer after you graduate from law school. Once you pass the exam, you become a certified lawyer!
- Get a job. Finding a position is the most difficult part of the process since the nation is flooded with attorneys. You will find this step much easier if you have made yourself known at a law firm by having worked or interned there, as mentioned above, and graduate with excellent grades.
- Decide what position you want. Be aware that those who do well in law school and attend better law schools have more opportunities. Competition is intense for the best grades and best jobs.
- Larger firms hire associates and will require extremely long hours and dedication from them.
- Large and multi-national corporations usually recruit from the top graduates.
- Working as a judge’s law clerk or research attorney is often desirable. Judges are very selective in whom they hire.
- If your grades were below average, you may consider a career as a paralegal.
- Maintain High Ethical Standards. History has taught that great opportunities and stellar reputations belong to those individuals who observe the highest of ethical standards. It is important to always abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Never compromise your integrity.
- Find a Great Mentor. To become a great name in the legal profession, you need a mentor whose integrity matches your own personal values and with whom you can establish a rapport.
- Have a Genuine Concern For Your Clients. As any great lawyer will tell you, your clients should be treated with the greatest respect.
- Maintain Flexibility. A flexible mindset will enable you to schematically address the turns and twists you may encounter in the legal profession.
- Stay Up to Date. Keeping up to speed with the latest laws and changes in technological approaches will give you an edge and elevate your chances of success as a lawyer.
- Look for schools in your state to avoid out-of-state tuition costs.
- Schools sometimes consider soft factors such as experience, hobbies or number of others applying from your state to enhance the diversity of their class. It’s a factor, but don’t rely on it.
- You will need to sign up with the Law School Admissions Council, which will coordinate your scores, paperwork and recommendation letters for the application process. You must go through this agency. It isn’t an option.
- Research other sites and find out which students with grades and LSAT’s similar to yours are getting accepted.
- Law school is extremely stressful and time consuming. Make sure you have a good support system in place and can balance the requirements.
- Stay out of trouble. Although a misdemeanor or a felony does not automatically prevent you from becoming a lawyer in most states, a criminal record will severely hinder your career.
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There is a community, a shared culture, of expert programmers and networking wizards that traces its history back through decades to the first time-sharing minicomputers and the earliest ARPAnet experiments. The members of this culture originated the term ‘hacker.’
There is another group of people who loudly call themselves hackers, but aren't. These are people who get a kick out of breaking into computers and phreaking the phone system. Real hackers call these people ‘crackers’ and want nothing to do with them. Real hackers object that being able to break security doesn't make you a hacker any more than being able to hotwire cars makes you an automotive engineer.
There are people who apply the true hacker attitude to other things, like electronics or music — but in the rest of this article we will focus the skills and attitudes of software hackers, and the traditions of the shared culture that originated the term ‘hacker.'
Thinking Like a Hacker
- Adopt the mindset of a hacker. Hackers solve problems and build things, and they believe in freedom and voluntary mutual help. To be accepted as a hacker, you have to behave as though you have this kind of attitude yourself. And to behave as though you have the attitude, you have to really believe the attitude. So, if you want to be a hacker, repeat the following things until you believe them:
- The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved. Successful athletes get their motivation from a kind of physical delight in making their bodies perform, in pushing themselves past their own physical limits. Similarly, you have to get a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence.
- No problem should ever have to be solved twice. The thinking time of other hackers is precious — so much so that it’s almost a moral duty for you to share information, solve problems and then give the solutions away just so other hackers can solve new problems instead of having to perpetually re-address old ones.
- Boredom and drudgery are evil. When hackers are bored or have to drudge at stupid repetitive work, they aren’t doing what only they can do — solve new problems. To behave like a hacker, you have to want to automate away the boring bits as much as possible.
- Freedom is good. The authoritarian attitude has to be fought wherever you find it, lest it smother you and other hackers. Not all authority figures are authoritarian. However, authoritarians thrive on censorship and secrecy, and they distrust voluntary cooperation and information-sharing.
- Attitude is no substitute for competence. Hackers won’t let posers waste their time, but they recognize competence — especially competence at hacking, but competence at anything is valued. Competence at demanding skills that few can master is especially good, and competence at demanding skills that involve mental acuteness, craft, and concentration is best.
- Earn respect as a hacker. Like most cultures without a monetary economy, hackerdom runs on reputation. You’re trying to solve interesting problems, but how interesting they are, and whether your solutions are really good, is something that only your technical peers or superiors are normally equipped to judge. This is why you aren’t really a hacker until other hackers consistently call you one. Specifically, hackerdom is what anthropologists call a “gift culture.” You gain status and reputation in it not by dominating other people, nor by being beautiful, nor by having things other people want, but rather by giving things away: your time, your creativity, and the results of your skill.
- Write open-source software. Write programs that other hackers think are fun or useful, and give the program sources away to the whole hacker culture to use. Hackerdom’s most revered demigods are people who have written large, capable programs that met a widespread need and given them away, so that now everyone uses them.
- Help test and debug open-source software. Any open-source author who’s thinking will tell you that good beta-testers (who know how to describe symptoms clearly, localize problems well, can tolerate bugs in a quickie release, and are willing to apply a few simple diagnostic routines) are worth their weight in rubies. Try to find a program under development that you’re interested in and be a good beta-tester. There’s a natural progression from helping test programs to helping debug them to helping modify them. You’ll learn a lot this way, and generate good karma with people who will help you later on.
- Publish useful information. Another good thing is to collect and filter useful and interesting information into web pages or documents like Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) lists, and make those generally available. Maintainers of major technical FAQs get almost as much respect as open-source authors.
- Help keep the infrastructure working. The hacker culture (and the engineering development of the Internet, for that matter) is run by volunteers. There’s a lot of necessary but unglamorous work that needs done to keep it going — administering mailing lists, moderating newsgroups, maintaining large software archive sites, developing RFCs and other technical standards. People who do this sort of thing well get a lot of respect, because everybody knows these jobs are huge time sinks and not as much fun as playing with code. Doing them shows dedication.
- Serve the hacker culture itself. This is not something you’ll be positioned to do until you’ve been around for a while and become well-known for one of the four previous items. The hacker culture doesn’t have leaders, exactly, but it does have culture heroes and tribal elders and historians and spokespeople. When you’ve been in the trenches long enough, you may grow into one of these. Beware: hackers distrust blatant ego in their tribal elders, so visibly reaching for this kind of fame is dangerous. Rather than striving for it, you have to sort of position yourself so it drops in your lap, and then be modest and gracious about your status.
- Learn how to program. The best way to learn is to read some stuff written by masters of the form, write some things yourself, read a lot more, write a little more, read a lot more, write some more, and repeat until your writing begins to develop the kind of strength and economy you see in your models. To be a real hacker, however, you need to get to the point where you can learn a new language in days by relating what’s in the manual to what you already know. This means you should learn several very different languages. Besides being the most important hacking languages, the following represent very different approaches to programming, and each will educate you in valuable ways:
- Python is a good language to start off with because it’s cleanly designed, well documented, and relatively kind to beginners. Despite being a good first language, it is not just a toy; it is very powerful and flexible and well-suited for large projects. Java is an alternative, but its value as a first programming language has been questioned.
- If you get into serious programming, you will have to learn C, the core language of Unix (C++ is very closely related to C; if you know one, learning the other will not be difficult). C is very efficient with your machine’s resources, but will soak up huge amounts of your time on debugging and is often avoided for that reason (unless machine efficiency is essential).
- Perl is worth learning for practical reasons; it’s very widely used for active web pages and system administration, so that even if you never write Perl you should learn to read it. Many people use Perl to avoid C programming on jobs that don’t require C’s machine efficiency.
- LISP is worth learning for a different reason — the profound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it. That experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, even if you never actually use LISP itself a lot. You can get some beginning experience with LISP fairly easily by writing and modifying editing modes for the Emacs text editor, or Script-Fu plugins for the GIMP.
Familiarizing Yourself With Unix
- Get one of the open-source Unixes and learn to use and run it. Unix is the operating system of the Internet. While you can learn to use the Internet without knowing Unix, you can’t be an Internet hacker without understanding Unix. For this reason, the hacker culture today is pretty strongly Unix-centered. So, bring up a Unix (like Linux but there are other ways and yes, you can run both Linux and Microsoft Windows on the same machine). Learn it. Run it. Tinker with it. Talk to the Internet with it. Read the code. Modify the code.
- There are other operating systems in the world besides Unix. But they’re distributed in binary — you can’t read the code, and you can’t modify it. Trying to learn to hack on a Microsoft Windows machine or under any other closed-source system is like trying to learn to dance while wearing a body cast. Under Mac OS X it’s possible, but only part of the system is open source — you’re likely to hit a lot of walls, and you have to be careful not to develop the bad habit of depending on Apple’s proprietary code.
- Download Linux online or (better idea) find a local Linux user group to help you with installation.
- While other distros have their own areas of strength, Ubuntu is far and away the most accessible to Linux newbies.
- A good way to dip your toes in the water is to boot up what Linux fans call a live CD, a distribution that runs entirely off a CD without having to modify your hard disk. This is a way to get a look at the possibilities without having to do anything drastic.
- Learn how to use the World Wide Web and write HTML. Most of the things the hacker culture has built do their work out of sight, helping run factories and offices and universities without any obvious impact on how non-hackers live. The Web is the one big exception, the huge shiny hacker toy that even politicians admit has changed the world. For this reason alone (and a lot of other good ones as well) you need to learn how to work the Web. This doesn’t just mean learning how to drive a browser (anyone can do that), but learning how to write HTML, the Web’s markup language. If you don’t know how to program, writing HTML will teach you some mental habits that will help you learn. So build a home page. Try to stick to XHTML, which is a cleaner language than classic HTML.
The author of the original source of this page discusses accomplishments of hackers and the merits of the open source movement in an interview.
- Stick to one thing at a time. Do not try to learn everything at once. A lot of wannabe hackers make this mistake. By learning a category, then moving to another one, you’ll be more efficient.
- You don’t have to believe that you’re obligated to give all your creative product away, though the hackers that do are the ones that get most respect from other hackers. It’s consistent with hacker values to sell enough of it to keep you in food and rent and computers. It’s fine to use your hacking skills to support a family or even get rich, as long as you don’t forget your loyalty to your art and your fellow hackers while doing it.
- Don’t be content with a narrow range of skills. Though most hackers describe themselves as programmers, they are very likely to be more than competent in several related skills — system administration, Web design, and PC hardware troubleshooting are common ones. Hackers don’t do things by halves; if they invest in a skill at all, they tend to get very good at it.
- Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a nerd to be a hacker. It does help, however, and many hackers are in fact nerds. Being something of a social outcast helps you stay concentrated on the really important things, like thinking and hacking. If you can manage to concentrate enough on hacking to be good at it and still have a life, that’s fine. Mainstream culture is much friendlier to techno-nerds now.
- Work as intensely as you play, and play as intensely as you work. For true hackers, the boundaries between “play,” “work,” “science,” and “art” all tend to disappear, or to merge into a high-level creative playfulness.
- If you don’t speak English, it might be a good idea to learn it. English is the working language of the hacker culture and the Internet, and you might need to know it to function in the hacker community. Translations of technical books written in English are often unsatisfactory (when they get done at all). Being a native English-speaker does not guarantee that you have language skills good enough to function as a hacker. If your writing is semi-literate, ungrammatical, and riddled with misspellings, many hackers will tend to ignore you.
- Read older pieces, such as the Jargon File or Hacker Manifesto by The Mentor. They may be out of date, but the attitude and spirit come through very clearly.
- To be a hacker, you have to enter the hacker mindset, and there are some things you can do when you’re not at a computer that seem to help. They’re not substitutes for hacking (nothing is) but many hackers do them, and feel that they connect in some basic way with the essence of hacking (hackers need to be able to both reason logically and step outside the apparent logic of a problem at a moment’s notice).
- Write your native language well. Though it’s a common stereotype that programmers can’t write, a surprising number of hackers are very able writers.
- Read science fiction. Go to science fiction conventions (a good way to meet hackers and proto-hackers).
- Train in a martial art. The kind of mental discipline required for martial arts seems to be similar in important ways to what hackers do. The most hacker-ly martial arts are those which emphasize mental discipline, relaxed awareness, and control, rather than raw strength, athleticism, or physical toughness. Tai Chi is a good martial art for hackers.
- Study an actual meditation discipline. The perennial favorite among hackers is Zen (importantly, it is possible to benefit from Zen without acquiring a religion or discarding one you already have).
- Develop an analytical ear for music. Learn to appreciate peculiar kinds of music, and to play some musical instrument well, or how to sing.
- Develop your appreciation for puns and wordplay.
- Master creative thinking. The hacker mentality is driven by creatively solving problems. This creativity gives you the ability to solve problems others see as unsolvable.
- Don’t use your hacking skills to do bad things. You might get used to it and get caught, ending up punished.
- Doing any of the following will earn you a bad reputation in the hacker community. Hackers have long memories — it could take you years to live your early blunders down enough to be accepted. And also, what’s on the Internet stays on the Internet. Don’t think nobody will stumble across what you did three years ago.
- Don’t use a silly, grandiose user ID or screen name.
- Don’t get in flame wars on Usenet (or anywhere else).
- Don’t call yourself a ‘cyberpunk,’ and don’t waste your time on anybody who does.
- Don’t post or email writing that’s full of spelling errors and bad grammar.
- Don’t blindly believe the advice given here or anywhere online is true and the only path to embracing the mindset of a hacker.
- Cracking is an illegal activity which can result in major penalties. It is a major offense and is punishable under the law.
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- How to Become a Hacker – Original source. Condensed version shared with permission. Additional resources and FAQs can be found in the original.
Occupational therapists work with injured and ailing patients in order to minimize pain, increase motion, and increase strength. The career requires a considerable amount of training, and practitioners must also keep their training updated on a regular basis. Here are the essential steps one must take in order to become an occupational therapist.
Part One: Educational and Licensing Requirements
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree. Every occupational therapy program has different requirements, but most will require you to have coursework in biology and physiology in order to apply.
- Biology, psychology, and sociology are among the most common undergraduate majors to have for those planning to enter an occupational therapy program.
- Verify the requirements for your occupational therapy program of choice before you finish your undergraduate work. That way, you can be sure to complete all the preliminaries you need by the time you earn your bachelor’s degree.
- Consider doing an internship. Many occupational therapy programs require incoming students to complete an undergraduate internship, referred to as Level I Fieldwork, prior to acceptance.
- Internships are easier to come by if performed during your undergraduate schooling, rather than after you obtain your bachelor’s degree. Many colleges even have departments specifically designed to help students find internship opportunities.
- Complete an accredited occupational therapy program. Most programs are two years in length and result in a master’s degree, but longer, more extensive doctoral programs are also available.
- The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., has a complete list of accredited occupational therapy programs. This list is available on their website.
- Note that some schools offer dual programs that result in the simultaneous completion of a bachelor’s and master’s degree. These programs usually take five years to complete. These programs are available at St. Catherine University in Minnesota, Dominican College in New York, Concordia University in Wisconsin, and Salem University in Massachusetts.
- Prepare to perform supervised fieldwork. Both master’s and doctoral degree programs will require Level II Fieldwork. This fieldwork is supervised and usually lasts for roughly 24 weeks.
- Pass the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapists exam. All states require occupational therapists to have a license, and prospective therapists must have certification from the NBCOT in order to obtain a license.
- Fill out an online or paper exam application to take the NBCOT exam.
- As of 2012, applying for the NBCOT exam online cost $ 500 and applying by paper cost $ 540. Score reports cost $ 40 each.
- Apply for a license in your state and pay any necessary fees. Specific requirements and fees vary by state and may change from year to year, so you should look up the requirements from the occupational therapy licensure board for the state you plan to work in.
- Some states only require prospective occupational therapists to pay a fee and complete the NBCOT exam, as well as the prerequisites necessary to take the exam. For instance, in New York, you must have completed an accredited Occupational Therapist Program earning an entry-level master’s degree or post-baccalaureate certificate, finished at least six months of supervised field work, and passed the NBCOT with a score of 450 or higher.
- Other states require prospective occupational therapists to pay a fee, complete the NBCOT, and pass a state-specific written exam or questionairre. First-time license applicants in Texas, for example, take an online, open-book Jurisprudence Exam that covers rules and regulations specific to the state.
- A few states also grant leeway to applicants who were previously licensed in another state. Occupational therapists must still apply for a new state license before working in a new state, but some states permit previously licensed applicants to work under limited conditions while the application process progresses. In California, applicants can work in association with a California-licensed therapist up to 60 days after applying for a state license. In New York, applicants can work under the same conditions up to one year.
- Fees vary by state, but first-time applicants usually end up paying a couple hundred dollars. In Texas, the fee as of 2012 was $ 140, but in New York, the fee was $ 294.
Part Two: Choosing a Career Path
- Work through a government agency. Occupational therapy jobs can be found in the public sector at the federal, state, and local levels, but these jobs are most common at the state and local levels.
- Use an online database of government positions. Do a search for “occupational therapist” positions and browse through the results until you find one located in a state that you can practice in or wish to practice in.
- Contact local and state agencies directly. If there is a specific agency you wish to work at, call your local branch and inquire about current or future positions.
- The most common government agencies and offices in need of occupational therapists are state hospitals, state nursing homes, branches of the military, offices of veterans’ affairs, and public schools.
- Work through a non-profit. Most therapy-oriented non-profits are charities run for those who cannot otherwise afford proper care. These charities usually work with patients to relieve pain and evaluate future needs.
- Search in the phone book or online for charitable occupational therapy opportunities in your area. You can find job openings using most major job search websites or by searching through the Yellow Pages for existing occupational therapist offices or charities.
- Consider a career with children. Most non-profit occupational therapy jobs involve working with children, especially when those children have chronic and costly medical conditions or come from low-income families.
- Prepare to make home visits. While many non-profits work from a centralized location, some also offer home visitation services for patients who must struggle in order to leave the house.
- Set up your own private practice. Occupational therapists often operate as doctors do, working in their own private practices through private hospitals or from an independent medical office.
- Take business courses. You do not need a business degree, but having one wouldn’t hurt, either. At the very least, you should take a few entrepreneurial courses and business finance or accounting classes to gain an understanding of the business side of things. Essentially, you’ll be running your own business, so you need to have a thorough understanding of what that entails.
- Find out about state and local regulations. Aside from needing to be licensed as an occupational therapist, you will also need to meet zoning regulations, building codes, and various health and safety codes.
- Determine your field of specialty. A general occupational therapist will work with patients of all ages and backgrounds, but you can also specialize in pediatric or geriatric care.
- Get the word out. Once you start your practice, you will need to attract patients. One of the best ways to do so is by forming professional relationships with area doctors who may be willing to refer in-need patients to your office.
Part Three: Maintaining Your License
- Know how often you need to renew your license. Regulations can vary by state, but most states will require occupational therapists to renew their licenses every two years.
- In Texas, therapists must renew their licenses every two years after the year the license was first issued.
- In California, a license must be renewed every two years based on the holder’s year of birth. Someone born in an even year will always renew in an even year, but someone born in an odd year will always renewe in an odd year.
- In Pennsylvania, licenses awlays expire in odd-numbered years. Similarly, in Virginia, licenses always expire in even-numbered years.
- States will usually send out notifications to let you know that your license needs to be renewed, but you will be responsible for renewing it even if the notice does not arrive.
- Continue your education. Each state has its own requirements for continuing education. Usually, renewal of a license requires a therapist to complete a certain number of Professional Development Units (PDUs).
- In California, practitioners must complete 24 PDUs. These PDUs usually involve things like performing professional services, attending workshops and classes, making presentations, doing fieldwork supervision, and publishing academically.
- In Texas, continued education must include 30 credit hours of courses and practical experience that goes beyond standard practice. Practitioners must also retake to Jurisprudence Exam.
- Pay the necessary fee. Renewal fees vary by state. You can look up the renewal fees for your state online or by contacting the division of professional licensing for your state via telephone.
- In Texas, renewal fees total $ 242. In California, the fee is only $ 150. Some fees are even lower, however. For instance, Pennsylvania only charges a $ 55 fee for renewal.
- Know which character traits you will be expected to demonstrate. In general, you must be empathetic, compassionate, and in possession of strong communication skills. You must also have a strong work ethic and be able to problem-solve. Oftentimes, you will need to demonstrate certain traits before being licensed by a state, and you may lose your license if you commit a serious infraction against those traits.
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Want to be part of a world-wide, $ 500-billion industry?  If you’re great with people, detail-oriented, budget-conscious and creative, you might want to explore a career as an event planner. Read on to learn how to make a go of it in this on-the-go field.
Building Training and Experience
- Get a hospitality degree. A bachelor’s degree in hospitality can set you firmly on the path for a career as an event planner. In fact, some hospitality degree programs offer concentrations in event planning, so research each school’s offerings closely.
- Other degrees, such as communications or public relations, can be a good basis for a career in event planning. One of the strongest skills an event planner must have is communication, so this kind of background can be a wonderful foundation.
- While a bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete, there are also shorter, two-year associates degree programs in hospitality, travel and tourism and event planning that can be a good starting point in your training.
- Even if you don’t have a degree that’s directly related, you can complete an event planning and management certificate program to transition into this field. Some of these programs allow students to specialize and focus on areas such as wedding, sports or entertainment planning.
- The kinds of classes you can expect to take as part of your training may include special events marketing, facilities operations, media relations, cost control strategies, event coordination, risk management, economics and professional ethics.
- Find a mentor. A mentor is someone who can teach, encourage and guide you in your career. Mentorship often develops from a relationship you already have in place or establish with someone you admire.
- Think about what you want in a mentor. Do you need someone to model professional behavior? Do your financial management skills need work? Are you looking to become a more effective communicator? Approach people you already know who can share their knowledge with you. It may not necessarily be someone in your field; what’s important is that you get what you need from the relationship.
- You may gravitate toward someone as a mentor because he or she is successful, which also means they’re busy. Before you ask someone to spend time helping you, think about how you can help them. Offer to pitch in on a project, organize their calendar, run errands–give something of value so that you can get something of value in return.
- Consider peer-to-peer mentoring. You can find support and encouragement from others who have goals similar to yours. Start a Meetup group or create a club on campus where you can join with like-minded people to share information, accountability and successes.
- Broaden your search. Alumni groups, networking events and professional organization meetings are all good places to get to know potential mentors.
- Practice your skills. Chances are your interest in this field stems from skills you already have when it comes to putting together parties and organizing events. Step up now and volunteer to plan birthday parties, housewarmings, weddings and other get-togethers for family and friends.
- Tons of volunteer organizations have annual events–runs, walks, fundraising dinners–that need to be planned. Reach out to volunteer agencies in your community to find out their needs and offer to take a leading role in putting together their event.
- Document your practice. Take photos of place settings and decorations to put in your portfolio for later. Make copies of budgets and timelines, menus and invoices. Hold on to everything that shows the work that went into making the event a success.
- Get feedback. After an event, ask participants for their feedback by having them complete a short (key: short) survey.
- Make your survey part of your initial agreement. Consider your clients’ feedback as compensation for your hard work and have them agree to answer a few questions at the conclusion of the event. Their comments–positive and negative–can be a valuable part of your learning process.
- Eavesdrop. Listen to what people at the event are saying to one another in conversation. Make note of what people seem to enjoy (“This food is delicious.” “The flowers are stunning.”) as well as areas of disappointment (“Why isn’t there a place for coats?” “We had to park so far away!”)
Finding a Job
- Put together a portfolio. Having concrete examples of your work to show prospective employers lends you credibility and supports the impression that you are someone with knowledge and experience.
- Keep records of any events you helped to plan. Hold on to photographs, sample invitations and professional references from clients and vendors attesting to your reliability and expertise. Put these in a professional-looking binder or case. If possible, scan them and have them available to send to prospective employers via email.
- Prepare a professional resume on which you include your experience and education. Be sure to list volunteer assignments and professional and student organizations you are a part of.
- Write an individualized cover letter for each job opening. There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” cover letter. Customize you letter in a way that addresses the specific needs of the organization and how you can meet them.
- Start networking. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for work and ask them to pass on any leads. You never know who someone else might know or what they might hear about a job opening.
- Create a LinkedIn account. This social media site allows you to set up an account where you can post your resume, join industry groups and network with others in your field.
- Keep track of classmates. If someone who was in your program lands a job, ask them how they did it and if there are more openings available at their new place of employment.
- Have business cards made and keep them with you at all times. Business cards are relatively inexpensive and good to have on hand because you never know where or when you might run in to someone who can help you find a job.
- Tap into the internet. So much job hunting is done online these days, that it’s essential that you visit popular job sites. Also, certain professional organizations or specialty sites list jobs postings in the event management field, which allows you to use to focus your job-hunting efforts.
- Monster.com, HotJobs.com and CareerBuilder.com are popular pages to check for jobs; narrow your search by using key terms such as “event planner,” “event management,” “wedding planner,” “event coordinator,” or “hospitality.”
- The Meeting Professionals International website has an online Career Center where you can search for jobs (careers.mpiweb.org). Also check out specialeventsite.com and careers.nace.net (the job site for the National Association of Catering Executives).
- Pound the pavement. Research the event planning companies in your area and stop by to drop off your resume. Sometimes a personal approach–especially in this very people-oriented field–can make a difference.
- Look your best and be professional when you visit. Be sure you know the name of the person in charge so that you can ask for a quick meeting with him or her. If a meeting isn’t possible at that time, politely leave your resume and cover letter with the receptionist and plan to followup with a phone call in a few days.
- Carry your portfolio with you in case you are successful in getting in to meet with someone who could hire you.
- Consider working freelance or opening your own business. These may be steps you want to take after spending a few years working in the field, or you may be someone who already knows he or she would prefer to work for themselves.
- Research the competition. See what event planning companies already exist in your area and what they specialize in. If you’re able to distinguish yourself from the pack in some way, it can be an advantage in getting established and getting clients.
- Talk to other freelancers or business owners. There’s no need to learn everything the hard way. Tap into the experience of others who can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can come with working on your own.
- Keep trying. Finding a job in any field is difficult work. Persistence does pay off, so stay positive and keep at it.
- Form a support group with friends who are also job hunting. Surrounding yourself with people who are in the same boat as you can lessen your feelings of isolation and disappointment during this process.
- Celebrate small victories. An interview, a query, a callback–these are all positive things. Even if they don’t lead to a job at the moment, they let you know you’re on the right path and there’s interest out there in who you are and what you have to offer.
- Apply for certification with reputable event planning associations. You do not have to become certified to work as an event planner. But having that designation could open doors for you and certainly puts you in touch with other professionals who value high standards in the field.
- A certification is a professional designation given by a trade organization and can only be obtained after you have a proven track record of professional experience and have successfully passed the organization’s tests.
- The most recognized certifications are those offered by the Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) offered by ISES; the Certified Meeting Professional (CIC), and the Certified Meeting Planner (MPI).
- Each program varies in the level of professional experience required, so you’ll need to contact the organizations individually to find out if you meet the requirements.
- Consider membership in a relevant trade organization as well; the benefit of belonging to trade organizations is that you’ll meet many contacts and find job opportunities through networking and resources only available to members.
- If you plan to specialize, look for specific trade organizations that focus on your area of expertise. For example, a wedding planner may want to check out a group such as the Association of Bridal Consultants and Weddings Beautiful Worldwide.
- If you are or have been a student in a recognized event planning course, ask about possible membership discounts, as memberships can be pricey when you’re first starting out.
Defining Your Brand
- Decide what you want to be known for. When you brand yourself, you’re choosing how you want to been seen by others in the work world. Your brand incorporates what you do best and who you are.
- Brainstorm a list of words that describe you–your persona, your outlook, your expertise. Use these to form the basis of your marketing and advertising programs.
- Establish an online presence. People will be searching for the kinds of services you offer, so you want to make sure you’re online in a way that’s professional and helpful.
- Create a Facebook page for your business. Post a professional-looking photo of yourself and post regularly about projects you are working on. Include photos of your events as well. (Be sure to get permission before posting any pictures that feature clients or guests.)
- Start a blog. A blog can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Post small “how-to” articles to help readers, talk about events you’ve been working on, trends you’ve noticed and news from your field.
- Open a Twitter account. Start discussions, voice your expert opinion, made predictions about what’ll be hot this season–keep it interesting and upbeat.
- Network. If you want people to know who you are and what you do, you have to put yourself out there. Join professional organizations, attend trade shows and take part in continuing education seminars. These are all great ways to make connections and to spread the word about your services.
- Consider forming alliances with others in related fields. Ran into an amazing florist? Met a great photographer? Be sure to let them know what you do and stay in touch–they may have business they can send your way and vice versa.
- Keep chasing new ideas. Some of the basics of event planning never change–you have to be a great communicator, experienced budget planner and flawless with details. But styles change and trends need to be followed so that you can keep the look of projects current and fresh.
- Keep updating. Read trade magazines to find out what’s hot and take new classes and workshops to refresh your skills.
- Follow fashion. Look at fashion, decorating and food magazines to learn what’s in style. See what’s popular on Pinterest. Staying up-to-date will help you avoid producing events that feel dated or stale.
- It can be very helpful to be bilingual, such as having Spanish and English. If you are planning for diplomatic events, even more languages is a great advantage.
- Experience in catering is very useful and highly transferable to event planning.
- Get help choosing a legitimate formal event planning study program. Check with Meeting Professionals International before enrolling in any formal program. They can tell you whether the program offers the kind of education and training you’ll need to become certified.
- The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has suggested that planners with degrees and certification will do better than those without professional credentials. The BLS found that the median annual salary for event and meeting planners in 2008 was $ 44,260, with those being paid the most living in areas with large concentrations of business and government, such as New York and the District of Columbia and Maryland.
- Be very careful with online certificates. Some of them may be nothing more than a “certificate mill”, teaching you little and rewarding you with a certificate that has little or no standing in the event planning world. Do your research beforehand to check the authenticity and reputation of the online study.
- Learn early on how to have back-up plans. Having Plans B and C will save you from a lot of embarrassment and frustration when things inevitably don’t go according to plan. Use “thinking on the spot” skills regularly.
- This is not a 9 to 5 job; you need to be very flexible, and available for weekdays, weeknights and weekends. This can be difficult if you’re raising a young family or don’t like being up late.
Edit Things You’ll Need
- Suitable training and qualifications
- Business start-up funds if running your own event planning business
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Judges preside over courts at the local, state, and national levels. They are responsible for making sure that the established laws are upheld, and that individual rights are protected. Judges start out as lawyers, and they typically practice law for a number of years before being appointed or elected as a judge. This article describes the path to obtaining a judgeship in the US.
Part One: Meeting the Educational Requirements
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year university. To prepare yourself for getting into a top-notch law school, attend the best university possible. Ivy league schools such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton will prepare you well for law school and give you a leg up when it’s time to apply.
- While there is no specific major requirement, most law school applicants have bachelor of arts (BA) degrees in subjects like political science, sociology, history, business and economics. These are the areas of knowledge that are most applicable to your future role as a judge. 
- Your performance in college will determine whether you’re accepted into law school, so get the highest grades possible. Complete assignments promptly, keep up with your reading, and study adequately for exams.
- Get real-world experience by completing an internship at a law firm during your undergraduate years. The sooner you get familiar with the legal world, the better.
- Apply to law school. It takes many years to work your way to a judgeship, so you may want to attend law school as soon as you graduate from college. Apply to top law schools in areas where you might want to eventually practice law.
- Ace the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). It’s important to score as highly as possible. Competition for getting into law school is notoriously high, and even more so at the best law schools in the country. People who go on to be judges are usually top scorers.
- Consider signing up for an LSAT preparatory course or hiring a private tutor to help you excel and receive a top score.
- If you are dissatisfied with your LSAT score, you can take the test again before applying to law school. 
- Write intelligent, interesting personal statements. The ability to research, write and think analytically are key in law school. Show that you’re a top candidate by putting a lot of time and thought into your personal statements and writing samples.
- Complete law school. Most law schools offer a 3-year program, and upon completion you receive a Juris Doctor degree. Don’t let up on your commitment to getting good grades and being at the top of your class now; you’ll need to stand out from your classmates as one of the best if you want to land a prestigious job after school. 
- During the first year of law school, students learn the fundamentals of law, such as civil procedure, contracts, and torts. In the next two years, elective courses in specialized fields of law such as family law and tax law are offered.
- It’s essential that you get experience working with lawyers while you’re in law school. Set up a meeting with the career services office at your school to find out about internship opportunities in your area.
- Pass a bar exam. The bar exam is a test designed by the American Bar Association to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in his or her jurisdiction. Each state has its own bar exam, and you will need to pass the exam in the state where you wish to practice. Bar exams in different states vary in their level of difficulty and pass/fail rates.
- Enroll in a bar preparatory course. There are a few different programs for bar review, the most popular of which are Barbri and Kaplan.
- Take the bar as soon as possible after graduating law school so that the information is fresh. If you don’t pass the bar the first time you take it, you can try again.
Part Two: Gaining Experience
- Work as an attorney. Judges must work as attorneys prior to attaining a judgeship. Attorneys represent clients before a court and in other legal proceedings to resolve disputes and protect their clients’ interests.
- There are a variety of fields that a lawyer can specialize in, including immigration law, corporate law, tax law, civil rights law, environmental law, and intellectual property law. Choose a field that you are passionate about.
- When you are first starting out, apply for entry-level law positions at law firms and offices in your state.
- Spend a lot of time in the courtroom. Being a prosecutor or government attorney offers a unique chance to become intimately familiar with the way the bench operates. If you’re drawn to this setting and prefer to spend your time in front of a judge rather than doing legal research, pursuing a position as a judge may be the right choice for you.
- It isn’t mandatory to be a prosecutor to become a judge, but the majority of people who apply and are appointed to judgeships have a plenty of prosecutorial experience.
- Spending time in the courtroom is also beneficial because it gives standing judges and other people whose support you may later need the chance to get to know you. Do your best to become a regular, high-profile presence in your local court system.
- Prepare yourself to be a good judge. The path to obtaining a judgeship is about more than networking your way to the top. It’s just as important to hone and display traits that you will need to take on the authority and honor of having the power to make tough legal decisions.
- Be respectful toward judicial assistants, court reporters, and the opposing council. Your job as an attorney is to advance justice, not disrupt court proceeding for the sake of advancing your own career.
- Display dignity and patience under stress. If you lose your temper or reveal an unfair bias during a heated moment, you won’t be taken as seriously as a judicial candidate when the time comes to apply.
- Develop empathy for a broad range of people. As a judge, you will need to be a good listener to people from all walks of life. Every person deserves the same thoughtful, balanced, legally-accurate and just consideration, and it’s your responsibility to deliver that.
Part Three: Pursuing a Judgeship
- Apply for a judgeship in your state. Candidates apply for judgeships through a judicial nominating commission, or can be recommended by senators or other politicians. Either way, candidates must go through a lengthy application process. At the end of the process, they may be elected or appointed to work as judges, depending on the jurisdiction.
- Federal, state, and local judges have fixed or renewable terms of office, while some federal judges are appointed to life-long terms.
- Be ready to disclose personal information in your application. A judge’s past mistakes are always revealed, and sometimes they are rehashed in the press. You will be asked about your involvement in past lawsuits, treatment or counseling you have received for substance abuse, and so on.
- Send an application to bar associations. In addition to applying for a judgeship through the state supreme court, it’s necessary to be evaluated by bar associations that may be influential judicial decision-making. Bar associations have the power to either recommend or choose not to recommend you for a judgeship, so these applications should be taken seriously.
- Apply more than once. Most people don’t obtain a judgeship on the first try. In fact, failing the first time is almost considered to be a prerequisite for eventually getting a judgeship. Go through the application process again, continuing to garner support from judges and show your talent and qualifications in the courtroom.
- Get to know the judges in your district. Aside from having a thorough, well written application, the best thing you can do to enhance your chance of obtaining a judgeship is to get to know the judges. They will be more likely to support a candidate whom they know and respect.
- Continue appearing in court so that judges get used to your presence. Argue motions and try cases as often as possible.
- Attend conferences, meetings, and other events where you have the chance to speak one-on-one with judges.
- Support other people, so they’ll support you. Don’t expect to win people’s support without putting in effort to help them succeed, too.
- Win an election. Depending on what judgeship you’re pursuing, you may have to be elected, rather than appointed, for the role. In some cases you may win a temporary appointment with the understanding you will run for the position as a sitting judge. In any case, you must act as part of a political party and run a campaign to get or keep the seat.
- Be a people person. Running for an elective judicial office is like running for other political offices; you must have an appealing public persona that makes people want to vote for you.
- Raise money. All campaigns involve raising enough money to make you a viable contender. This isn’t easy to do, but it’s absolutely necessary.
- Complete the necessary training. Once you have been elected or appointed, you will need to complete certain introductory training programs or seminars before you can start practicing as a judge. Trainees may participate in court trials, review legal publications, and complete online exercises. Trainings may continue throughout your career to ensure you’re informed about the latest changes to the law.
- The expected job growth rate for judges between 2010 and 2020 is 7%.
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Most dentists are general practitioners who diagnose and treat problems with teeth and gums, although some become orthodontists or other types of specialists. The majority of dentists work as sole proprietors who must hire, train and oversee staff. In addition to 8 years of education, there are other requirements to become a dentist.
- Determine whether you possess general characteristics to become a dentist, such as an aptitude for science as well as good manual dexterity, communication skills and business sense.
- Take relevant courses in high school, such as chemistry, biology, physics, math and health.
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree that includes the required science coursework to apply for dental school. Many undergraduate students choose a science major.
- Pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Taking the test requires paying a fee and scheduling a date to take the test at a Prometric Test Center. See the ADA (American Dental Association) website for more information at http://www.ada.org/dat.aspx.
- Apply for admission to a dental school. To find a quality school, make sure it’s accredited by the ADA’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. Your undergraduate grades, score on the DAT, recommendations and interviews are considered in the admission process.
- Attend dental school for approximately 4 years. You will continue to study anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry and physiology in the classroom and lab.
- Get a job, working under the supervision of a dentist, during the last 2 years of dental school. This allows you to gain experience treating patients.
- Graduate with a degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
- Complete your state’s requirements for obtaining a license to practice as a dentist. This typically requires passing practical tests and the written National Board Dental Examinations. Contact your state’s dental board for up-to-date information about licensure requirements,
- Pursue a license in one of 9 specialties, if you so choose. Becoming an orthodontist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon are the two most prevalent specialties, but other types include: pediatric dentists, endodontists (perform root canals), periodontists (treat bones and gums in the mouth); prosthodontists (replace missing teeth with dentures, crowns or bridges), oral and maxillofacial radiologists (examine the head and neck to diagnose diseases), dental public health specialists (provide community education and assistance to prevent dental diseases) and oral pathologists (specialize in the diagnosis of oral diseases). Becoming a specialist requires completing the following requirements:
- Continue with post graduate education for at least 2 years.
- Complete a postgraduate residency, for up to 2 years, if required in your state.
- Begin work as a dentist in a private practice or partnership. Starting a private practice requires leasing an office space, obtaining the necessary equipment and supplies, and hiring dental assistants, hygienists, lab technicians and receptionists. When starting a private practice, you may need to work more hours and accept appointments in the evening to build a clientele.
- Some dental schools will accept you with only 2 or 3 years of undergraduate coursework and allow you to complete a bachelor’s degree during dental school.
- Dental school acceptance is very competitive
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Professional photography is an excellent career choice for anyone who wants to get paid for using their creative talents. Photography is where reality meets memories. It’s one of the few fields where age and college degrees aren’t as important as a good eye, a quality product, and self discipline. Photography is a competitive field, however; so be prepared to start small, while you perfect your craft and build a portfolio of your best work. The tips below should help get you started.
Deciding If It’s for You
- Start out by speaking to other professionals in the field. Many people already working as professional photographers will be willing to give advice to individuals interested in their field. It’s important to ask direct questions about a career you’re possibly interested in––this can help you to decide from the outset if you’re going to enjoy the work and if you’re a good fit. By speaking to the right people they will be able to tell you about the pitfalls and upsides right from the start.
- Ask if you can shadow them around for a day or even a week of work. Don’t make it hard work for them though; offer to do anything from packing equipment to filling out tedious forms in return for their kind favor!
- Explore different types of photography. Professional photographers tend to fare best when they’re not spreading their talent too widely. Important knowledge attaches to specific styles of photography that may be missed by a generalist photographer. For example, you may know how to take fantastic shots of babies but haven’t a clue what to do when confronted by racing vehicles. This doesn’t mean you can’t shift from one genre to another, but it does mean that there will always be much learning between each shift, meaning that it’s best to concentrate on one area of photography at a time rather than spreading yourself too thinly all the time.
- Look into different possible areas of photography, such as photojournalism, documentary photography, commercial photography, fine art photography, portrait taking, etc.
- Be aware that some photography may seem mundane, such as taking school photographs, but it can be a steady stream of income, while high class shots of travel locations can be sporadic in take-up and expensive to obtain. Use your common sense about what is possible at the time.
Putting Together Quality Gear
- Decide what type of camera you’re going to rely on most. These days most professionals use digital SLR cameras at the high end of price and quality. However, the type of camera you start out with doesn’t need to be pricey or even digital; it all depends on the style of photography you want to get involved with and doing your research into finding quality cameras at a price that is currently affordable to you. As you improve and get a bigger client base, you will continue to upgrade your cameras and may even amass various kinds for different styles of photography.
- Do your research into the gear that is available currently and the price ranges you can afford. Purchase the best equipment you can afford. Remember that this is an investment and will make a big difference in your future.
- Try sticking to name brand items to ensure you will have service and parts available when, and if needed.
- Don’t buy a camera that only has automatic focus/exposure/ISO settings. Most higher end digital cameras have both automatic and manual settings.
- See what is available secondhand. Many used cameras and related gear are available through auction sites (online and at specialized auction houses), through camera stores and perhaps even through friends and family. If you do buy secondhand cameras and related gear, know what problems to look for, as well as the good things you’re after, so that you can determine when secondhand gear is either overpriced or possibly damaged.
- Buy a good quality case to protect your investment. Look for one that is lockable so that it won’t get stolen.
- Understand that your biggest investment should be your lens. The lens should be the removable kind that you can put on another camera body if you decide to upgrade later.
- A fancy zoom lens may seem like a good idea but you will learn more about composition with a fixed focal length 50mm lens. Such a lens will also be cheaper and generally sharper. A fixed 50mm lens has a wider aperture like a 1.8, allowing you to shoot in low light plus the ability to create a æsthetic bokeh.
Getting Sufficient Knowledge and Skills
- Consider enrolling in a photography degree program, or taking classes at an art school. As well as learning specific techniques and tricks of the trade from lecturers who are thoroughly familiar with photography, you’ll make connections and get advice and critiques.
- Study how-to photography books. Lighting and composition can either make or break a photograph, and there are many excellent step-by-step study guides that will teach you the techniques the pros use. Much of this information can also be found by using search engines (e.g: Google).
- Practice to get experience. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Always having your camera handy will enable you to take photos in different places and of different subjects.
- Be business savvy. As a professional photographer, unless you’re employed by a newspaper or publishing firm, you’ll be working freelance. And that means you’re running your own small business, a fact that requires you to know how to make a success of the invoicing, accounting, profit and loss statements, etc.
- Take courses on small business management if you’re considering opening a studio or running a freelance operation. There’s a lot to learn up front so that you don’t make costly mistakes down the road.
- Learn how to keep good records of your expenses. You will need them for your tax returns. You may also be able to deduct certain expenses (like your camera, PC, etc) and receive a rebate.
Finding and Displaying Your Own Unique Style
- Strive for originality. Photo editors appreciate pros who can give an old subject a fresh look, so don’t be afraid to experiment. When trying to take a great photo, you can sometimes take up to 100 or even more shots experimenting before taking the one you really want. Fortunately, digital photography has opened up a lot of space for experimentation and trying again and again. Be patient and don’t give up.
- Shoot .RAW files. This gives you more wiggle room in your correcting exposure mistakes. It also makes adjusting the white balance in Camera Raw a snap.
- Evaluate each photograph you take. Ask others to critique your work. Put your questionable shots in a separate file, so that you can go back later and correct any mistakes on your photo editing software. Many pros will tell you that they hardly ever take a 100 percent perfect photo.
- It’s not the photo equipment, but your “eye” (really, your creativity and mind), that makes for a great photographer. With re-usable memory card, the expense of shooting with a digital camera is minimal (your time and storage medium) after the initial purchase. So shoot away! Analyzing your photographs will teach you how to be a better photographer.
- Look at magazines/photo websites/the work of professionals constantly. Don’t copy but do learn from their examples.
- Look critically at your own work and run your best shots past friends and mentors who are more accomplished. The more critical your eye, the better your own photographs.
- Programs like Photoshop and/or Corel Photo Paint will always be handy when making a good photo great. Helpfully, knowing what to enhance by playing around with these programs will actually improve your understanding of what makes for a better photograph, helping you to frame your images better, etc. when you take them.
- Build a quality portfolio. Buy a good quality leather or quality cardboard ring binder for holding your photographs. Select a handful of your best prints and put them inside acid-free plastic sleeves. Label each one with your name, address and phone number, so when a client asks to see samples, you’re prepared.
- Maintain a good online portfolio. This will allow you to send potential clients to your website or page to see the full range of your abilities. Put client testimonials there as well, as soon as you start getting them (remember to ask for some at the outset).
- Consider having digital copies ready to email to potential clients. Always include a watermark to prevent copying without your permission.
- Invest in a photography marketing guide. This is an all-encompassing guide that most pros would use to market their work. The best guides give the complete contact information of relevant magazine, greeting card, and book publishers.
- Enter photography contests. This is an excellent way to start building a resume of credits, especially if you win. Be sure to read the rules of the competition closely though––some rules allow for touch-ups, others for none at all and if you fall foul of this, it can affect your reputation.
- Ask small businesses in your area if they would feature a small exhibition of your work in return for occasional photographic services. This can be an excellent way of getting your work noticed in all sorts of different situations in return for very little input and gaining more experience!
- Make CDs of all your work. This is especially important for digital photographers. Many clients nowadays actually prefer viewing photos on CDs.
Keeping Your Work Yours
- Copyright your work. You can fit hundreds of low resolution shots on a CD and copyright all of them for one low fee as apposed to copyrighting individual “good” photos. You can do this by copyrighting it as “the collective work of____”.
- Unless given as a gift or favor or donation, never give away your photos for free and always retain your copyright. There is little enough money to be made in creative pursuits without retaining your control over them. That’s the true purpose of copyright, to help the creative artist retain a say over both profits and use of the items you create, so make use of it!
- Choose a side: Nikon or Canon. It’s really a matter of personal taste and how intuitive the camera feels when taking pictures. Stick with your chosen brand’s accessories, as this ensures greater ease of use.
- Carry a compact, “point and shoot” camera with you everywhere. After all, you can’t grab those great shots if you don’t have a camera on you…
- Invest in a good heavy duty tripod. The cheaper flimsy ones are not all that stable and defeat the object of having a tripod all together. If you grab the occasional video clip, ensure your tripod has a “pan head” which will allow smooth movements while filming, rather than producing jerky, irritating pans.
- Make sure you adjust the white balance! If you’re shooting in RAW, leave the camera on auto and correct it later using your favorite image-editing software.
- Shooting manually using a Digital SLR is a really good way to learn and understand major concepts.
- Try and get a camera with a hot shoe (place to attach an external flash) and possibly even a external lights connector for doing professional portraits, wedding photos etc.
- A good way to get your equipment stolen is to carry your camera in a custom photo carrier emblazoned with, e.g. “NIKON” or “CANON” – far better to carry your camera in an old diaper bag, backpack, etc. to avoid tipping off thieves. Companies like Stuffbak sell economical, durable, numbered labels which allow honest finders of your equipment the means to return your lost valuables for a reward, which you can offer via their online or phone retrieval services.
- Protect your eyes! Would-be photographers (and even professionals) forget the most critical, precious part of their photographic equipment. Use UV-protective sunglasses outdoors, wear protective lenses when grinding, sanding, pounding, or weed-whacking, and get annual eye exams from a professional to detect early, treatable glaucoma, cataracts, etc.
- When using a digital camera, avoid deleting pictures using your PC and a card reader. Instead copy the pictures you need and once done, delete the pictures using your camera. Some older memory cards become unreadable if formatted/deleted via a PC. However, this problem has become less common in recent times, as manufactures use better standards of manufacturing and greater compatibility.
- When you have your equipment in your car, try keeping it in the boot (trunk) of your car to keep it hidden from would be robbers. Alternatively, keep it covered with a bath towel or something similar; a blanket the same color as the upholstery or floor carpet covering the gear will make it appear seamless and as if there is nothing to see there.
- If you are planning to buy second hand equipment, make sure it is not stolen gear! A good sign of original ownership is the sales receipt, so ask for it. Some other signs to point to legitimate goods are chargers, user manuals cables etc. If these are not available, there is a good chance that the items are stolen. Obviously, this is not always the case, as some people just lose everything! But keeping these things does tend to suggest that the camera has been well cared for, and is therefore a safer investment.
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There is no formal education or certification required to become a successful fashion designer, but that doesn’t make the feat any easier. You will need to have a combination of drawing, sewing, and design skills, a knowledge of the fashion industry, and unparalleled perseverance. A few ideas to help you get started are outlined in this article.
Honing Your Fashion Design Skills
- Develop your skills. Successful fashion designers have a wide array of skills, including drawing, an eye for color and texture, an ability to visualize concepts in three dimensions, and the mechanical skills involved in sewing and cutting all types of fabrics. .
- Get excellent sewing tuition if you haven’t already learned this skill well. Being able to sew difficult fabric under challenging situations is a must when designing clothing. You need to feel confident about using sewing machines, including industrial ones and you also need good hand sewing skills.
- Learn pattern making. Knowing how to spot a style you like and replicate it in a pattern freeform will stand you in excellent stead throughout your career but you need to work at it––it’s a skill that doesn’t come easily to many people.
- Understand how fabrics move, drape, breathe, react when worn, etc. Your in-depth knowledge of fabric is absolutely essential to using it properly when designing. Also know where to source materials from.
- Learn about existing designers, not just who they are, but their backgrounds, their signature style, the learning that they undertook. Knowing this will help you to be a much designer yourself, as you can borrow and build on their ideas.
- Learn how to create storyboards and product ranges. Be good at researching trends through media, comparative shopping and trade shows.
- Start developing these skills at a young age. Be prepared to devote hours of time to perfecting your craft.
- Learn more. If you can, it makes good sense to get a diploma or degree in fashion design or a related program. You’ll learn a great deal, make excellent early contacts and have ample opportunity to show off your skills in a less judgmental environment (although still be prepared to be critiqued!) Do one (or both) of the following:
- Get a degree in fashion design. Most programs are three or four years long. You will study drawing, color and composition, pattern-making, and draping. In addition to learning practical skills like these, you will also be working with industry professionals who may serve as important contacts in the future and who can give you first-hand advice and feedback on your work.
- Apply for an internship or apprenticeship. If school is not for you, or if you simply feel that real-world experience will be of more benefit to you, then find a fashion internship. You will need to have an impressive portfolio to apply and be willing to start at the bottom; interns are often given menial tasks like getting coffee. Again, the connections you make through your internship or apprenticeship will be vital as you pursue your career in fashion, and working with industry professionals will give you an opportunity to pick up important skills first-hand.
Working Out Which Fashion is Your Passion
- Decide which designing field is your principal interest. You may need to start at the bottom but you do need to have a goal in mind as to the type of designing you want to undertake lifelong. Are you interested most in haute couture, ready-to-wear, fitness/leisure gear, the mass market or niches such as eco wear? Each has advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to explore before reaching your final decision on which pathway to pursue. Within these major fields, you’ll also need to decide on a few sub-set areas for your fashion design. You might wish to straddle a few but to begin with, don’t over-extend yourself as it’s better to perfect your designing within one area and then experiment when you’ve already got a good foothold in the industry. For example:
- Women’s daywear, women’s evening wear, women’s lingerie
- Men’s daywear, men’s evening wear, men’s undergarments
- Boys’ wear and/or girls’ wear; teenage wear
- Sportswear/fitness/leisure wear
- Outdoor, adventure, outerwear
- Costume design for theater, movies, the advertising industry and retailers.
- Plan some key pieces. What is your absolute strength in designing? Perhaps you’re a whizz at lingerie or a genius with yoga pants. Your passion and skill are an important first part of the equation. Of course, the second part is matching this to what the market wants, which in fashion, is part convincing the market and part noticing what the market is demanding.
Deciding if the Fashion Industry is Ready for You
- Assess your skills and personality honestly before pursuing a career in fashion design. You may love clothes but clothing is only part of the story when undertaking fashion design. You’ll also need excellent communication skills, a willingness to work very hard (often 24/7), a tough hide when criticized, an ability to cope with stress, openness to having many different clients and/or bosses, an acceptance that there will be loneliness or isolation on occasion (depending on how you set up your design business or career) and an ability to be a self-disciplined self-starter.
- Being a fashion designer is probably for you if: You want to devote your life to this career (it’s your “vocation”), you don’t mind uncertainty or insecurity, you are willing to stand up for what you believe in, you have distinct ideas about what is important in fashion, you listen to clients well, you know the fashion industry inside out and you live, eat and breathe fashion.
- Being a fashion designer is probably not for you if: You can’t manage stress well, you don’t like uncertainty or instability, you want a career without too many highs or lows, you need other people to praise your efforts, you need a lot of guidance, you hate being financially unstable and you have too many other interests in life.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
- Get educated about the business side of fashion. Being a successful fashion designer not only requires talent and creativity, it also requires a sound knowledge of the business and marketing aspects of the fashion world. Keep yourself updated on the happenings in the fashion industry by regularly reading trade journals like Women’s Wear Daily and Daily News Record.
- Many fashion design programs include courses in marketing. Some programs/majors highlight marketing more than others, so be sure to do ample research on the coursework involved in the program you choose. If you’ve already undertaken a course but missed the marketing/financial side of things, consider doing short courses in these aspects of business.
- Learn beyond design. There is an entire supply chain involved in the fashion industry and you need to understand what each person’s job is, so that you can see things from their perspective too, in order to make compromises, meet demands and understand where things get held up. Research what others do, such as buyers, merchandisers, pattern cutters, garment and fabric technologists, quality controllers, graders, sample machinists, sales people, PR and marketing people, fashion journalists, retailers, event organizers, fashion stylists and so forth.
- Know your customer. This skill is basic and essential and it’s one a fashion designer must never lose sight of. Know how much your customers spend, what their lifestyles are, where they like to shop, how they like to shop and what they like and dislike. Know what are absolute needs and what are the things that only get bought when disposable incomes are less tight. If you have done marketing, you should have a solid understanding of how to work out customers’ needs.
- Know your competitors. Always keep an eye on what other fashion designers in your area of interest are doing. At a minimum, keep up. Better still, surpass them while still meeting your customers’ needs.
- Trade fairs are an excellent place to develop deeper understanding of how the fashion industry works and what will work for you in terms of meeting customer needs and staying competitive.
- Look for fashion design jobs. There are various ways to find work in the fashion industry as a designer and it depends on the type of designing you’re interested in. In some cases, being versatile will help you a great deal, just so that you get the experience and then jump across to your real passion later. And in most cases, you’ll need to be persistent and apply to many different places to get your foot in the door. For starters, some places to apply to include:
- Existing fashion houses and designers – look for internships, entry-level paid positions, assistants to designers, etc.
- Costume positions with movie studios, theaters, costume stores, etc.
- Online advertisements through various online job agencies
- Word of mouth––use your college or fashion industry contacts to get you through the door. In an industry that values what people who already are well positioned have to say, this is a good way to get started.
- If running your own design business, be prepared to be financially astute. You may be exceptionally creative but be absolutely certain that if you run your own fashion label, you need to be business savvy. You do need to understand those numbers and the invoices that keep piling up on your table. If you really hate this stuff, there are good options, such as asking your accountant to take care of all things financial but it still pays to keep on top of the whole thing yourself. And if you really, really hate this side of it, look for work as a fashion designer with a fashion house instead of running your own label.
- What type of trader will you be? There are many possibilities, including sole trader, partnership, incorporated company, etc. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages that you should discuss with your legal and financial advisers before proceeding. Be sure that you are covered for liability in all circumstances, especially if you’re in a particularly litigious culture.
- Be realistic. You may need to be willing to move to match your market but that depends on how you work and sell. Being realistic means recognizing that it’s pointless trying to sell a lot of haute couture to people who only want career clothing in a semi-rural town while it’s no good trying to sell bikini to the Inuit. You’ll need to focus on where your market is most likely to be and either work out whether it’s best for you to live and work in that same area or how to get the distribution from your current area to the place where it’s most likely to sell.
- Take into consideration the influences around you. As a creative person, part of your creative process is being around like people and sparking off their ideas and suggestions too. It’s a lot harder to do this alone or working alongside people who aren’t into your fashion approaches.
- Remember too that seasonality impacts fashion designing and may have an impact on the type of clothing you’re producing and where you wish to sell it.
- Consider the power of online selling. Provided you use good quality three dimensional images that can be zoomed and turned, selling your fashion online to anywhere in the world is another realistic possibility nowadays. This allows you greater flexibility in where you’ll live and design and can reduce the daily commute to zero. This may be ideal if you plan on staying a small fashion label. Even then however, you should still make allowances for traveling to major fashion shows.
- Living in a city with a thriving fashion industry makes good sense for many designers. According to the Global Language Monitor (GLM), the following cities were the top fashion capitals of the world in 2012, in descending order:
- London, England
- New York, US
- Barcelona, Spain
- Paris, France
- Madrid, Spain
- Rome, Italy
- Sao Palo, Brazil
- Milan, Italy
- Los Angeles, US
- Berlin, Germany.
Creating Your Fashion Portfolio
- Assemble a portfolio of your work. Your design portfolio will be vital when applying to design jobs and internships, as it is your chance to market yourself and your work. Your portfolio should display your best work, and highlight your skills and creativity. Use a high-quality binder to show that you take yourself seriously as a designer. Include the following in your portfolio:
- Hand-drawn sketches or photographs of these sketches
- Computer-drawn designs
- Mood or concept pages
- Color or textile presentation pages
- Any other pieces that fairly reflect what you’re capable of doing and evolving into.
- Develop a good logo if running your own fashion label. It will define your style from the outset and so it needs to be good from the outset. It is worth getting a professional graphic designer on the job if you’re no good at this yourself.
- Wear your own fashions as much as possible. What better way to promote your clothing than to wear it? When people ask questions about it, be ready to explain everything in short, pithy ways that excite the listener.
- If you start your own fashion label, you need sound advice on everything from the beginning. Surround yourself by a trusted team of financial, legal and marketing advisers, paid according to what you need rather than having them on staff.
- Learn early on how to pack a decent lunch and snacks. Hours can be very long in fashion design and sometimes leaving your creativity zone may be impossible. Your brain needs good nutrition though, so by remembering to pack healthy lunches and snacks, you can grab something to sustain all that hard intellectual slog and physical running around without starving yourself silly.
- Read widely. Find the biographies and true stories of fashion icons in the area of fashion that you’re interested in. Learn all of the ins and outs of their experiences and see how you can use their experience to better your own. For example, if you want to shift into eco fashion, there are plenty of good trailblazer designers whose experiences have been documented, such as Toms founder Blake Mycoskie’s book Start Something That Matters or any of Anita Roddick’s books about the related but relevant beauty industry.
- Working as a designer can be a physically strenuous career. You will need to be willing to work unexpected long hours to meet deadlines.
- Designing for catwalks and high end fashion will bring you into direct contact with the challenging aspects of the industry, including using underweight models for fitting (thereby potentially making you complicit in encouraging unhealthy portrayals of women and men), cattiness from fellow designers and fashion industry elites and very difficult demands including tight deadlines. If you’re not already an assertive person, it would be wise to spend time improving your skills in communicating and standing up for your principles.
- The fashion industry is extremely competitive; only pursue a career in fashion if it you are 100 percent devoted to the field. It also helps to grow a thick hide very early on and to learn to be discerning about criticism––most criticism is sour grapes and if you believe in yourself, you’ll know when the criticism is spot on or just plain nasty.
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It takes perseverance, determination and some research, but if you do it right, you too can become one of the Few and the Proud.
- Get in shape. In the Corps, you must pass a physical fitness test (PFT) every six months. A perfect score (300) is achieved by doing twenty dead-hang pull-ups in thirty seconds, 100 crunches in 120 seconds and a three-mile run in 18 minutes. You don’t need to be perfect to enlist, but make sure you can do at least five pull-ups, 60 crunches and run 1.5 miles in 11 minutes. The stronger you are, the less torturous boot camp will be.
- Decide what you want to do in the Marine Corps. Although “Every Marine is a Rifleman,” there are hundreds of different jobs in the Marine Corps. Each job is called a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). By doing a little research, you should be able to find what suits you. The Marine Corps offers jobs in everything from infantry, to photography, to truck drivers. Eventually your contract will end or you will retire, so pick something you think will help you make a living in the civilian world.
- Contact a recruiter by going to Marines.com. They’ll see if you’re eligible and guide you through all the paperwork. You can even do this first, before you do anything else, and he/she will guide you through everything.
- Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This is the test to determine what jobs (MOS’s) you are eligible for. Make sure you study for this because certain jobs in the Corps require higher scores than others.
- Tell your family. Expect to hear some whining and crying. Stick to your guns. If you’ve decided to “man up” and do it, then do it. Just wait till they see you graduate boot camp and they’re bawling their eyes out because they’re so proud.
- Go to boot camp. If you live east of the Mississippi you’ll go to Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, S.C. West of the Mississippi goes to MCRD San Diego, Ca. All females attend Parris Island.
- Consider becoming a Marine officer. If you want a higher position and more respect go to college and contact a marine recruiter after you finish your freshman year. They will take a look at your grades and physical ability. If you’re eligible you will be sent to PLC (platoon leaders class). This is for six weeks for two summers.
- Yell at boot camp. You’re going to get dirty, it’s going to be less than enjoyable, but all you have to do is exactly what you’re told to do and scream at the top of your lungs when you speak.
- To finish Marine boot camp, all you have to do is want to finish. If you don’t want it, you’ll never finish. If you want it, you will succeed. Even if you are barely in physical shape, if you want it, your drill instructors will find a way to get you to finish. If you quit, though, they will surely make you wish you had never signed the dotted line.
- Don’t just enlist “open contract.” Make sure you know exactly what your job will be before you sign up. It’s four years of your life that could be less than enjoyable if you let it.
- If you promote teamwork and discipline within your platoon you’ll be noticed by the DIs in a good way. That kind of recognition will get you at least a team leader billet if not the Platoon Guide position.
- Do exactly as you are told. The Marine Corps has been turning kids into the best fighting force on the planet for 200+ years. Everything in boot camp — EVERYTHING — is done for a reason, from the initial shock of arrival and processing to the graduation. Don’t question. Don’t doubt. Execute and follow orders, and LEARN. All of what you learn in boot camp will be useful during your career as a Marine.
- The day you meet your DI’s you’ll think you died and arrived in hell. Do exactly as you are told, and you’ll be fine. It will be stressful. You will be tested, to the breaking point and even further. Deal with it on a day to day basis. You will learn that the only limits you have are the imaginary ones in your mind.
- Don’t use your young age as an excuse for your behavior. You made an adult decision. Live with it and make the best of it.
- You might think you’ll be tough going into the infantry, but you’re going to have a less than enjoyable time for a while. Expect some pain and listen to your NCO’s.
- Being in the Admin MOS means you have the same job as a secretary, only it is a lot less enjoyable.
- There are no skin colors or ethnicity in combat. There are only Marines. If you have a problem with that, leave it at the door when you enter boot camp, otherwise you’ll get it forcibly removed from you later on – the hard way.
- The Air Wing thinks shooting badges, MCMAP belts and cadence calling is important – do your best, but don’t put yourself above any other Marine. This is usually true with Marines who have deployed but have never been in any real danger. On the other hand, never forget that without air superiority, all wars are lost. All grunts put down the air wing until the first day it saves their rears in combat.
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A lot of people want to be a model because it’s glamorous, lucrative and you might want to be recognized in the modeling world. Modeling is extremely competitive, and the industry is filled with rejection, but successful models are doing something that they love. Here are some major truths about becoming a model, as well as some realistic advice to make it happen for you.
Part One: The Basics
- Take care of yourself! Features indicative of good health are a must. Eat healthy, work out, take care of your outer appearance (and inner peace of mind), and look good in clothes. It’s a simple equation, but it’s harder than you might think to execute.
- Focus on keeping your skin clear and glowing. Wash your face in the morning and at night, exfoliate once a week, and remember to wash your makeup off before you go to sleep.
- Shiny and healthy hair is important. Some agencies and Managers prefer the “natural greasy look” so if you prefer to minimally shower that is okay too.
- Fitness is important. Consider working with a trainer who works specifically with models. Tell them your modeling goals and how you want to look. Tell them how you feel and your opinions.
- Eat right. Contrary to what some people tell you, you should eat healthy foods, as well as healthy amounts of food. Veggies, fruits, whole grains, and proteins should make up the basics of your diet. Sugars, starches, empty carbs, and unhealthy fats should be avoided as much as possible.
- Decide what kind of model you hope to be. Technically, anybody can be a model. However, do remember that if you don’t meet certain requirements, the work available to you will be incredibly limited, and you may have to compensate in other departments (reliability, technique, etc).
- A Plus Size Model: If your body is full and curvaceous, you may be able to be a plus size model (for example, Crystal Renn).
- A Runway Model: Most women on the catwalk are at least 5’9, very skinny, and small-breasted (for example, Magdalena Frackowiak and Sasha Pivovarova). Men are mostly between 5’11 and 6’2 (for example, Clement Chabernaud and Sean O’Pry). Except this does not quite fully pertain to Victoria’s Secret models.
- A Print Model: Most editorial female models are at least 5’7, but a beautiful face with great personality are really important for print models (for example, Charlotte Free and Barbara Palvin).
- An Underwear Model: For women, this requires large breasts but small hips (for example, Adriana Lima and Candice Swanepoel). For men this requires broad shoulders but slim waists.
- Other Types of Modeling: If you don’t fit any of the face or body descriptions, perhaps you can be a foot, hair, or hand model. There’s also the option of being an alternative model.
- Consider your “look”. There is more of a curvy California look, a svelte and sophisticated New York look, a waif-like European look, girl next door, swimsuit or lingerie (usually requires the bust to fill out the suits and a very thin waist)… Know what you’re equipped with, but also work to pull off other looks.
- Educate yourself. There is a lot you can learn from reading books and articles on modeling. Reading quality guides, articles, and books will both help you to improve important skills (like posing) and to better understand how the industry works (how to find an agent, etc.).
- Realize that it’s tough. The modeling world is jam-packed with pretty faces. Just because you are good looking does not mean that you can succeed as a model. In the modeling business, it is not just about looking great. You have to fit the need of specific jobs just in order to get a chance. Modeling is only for serious people who carry unique looks and characteristics. Since there are so many people trying to become models in today’s world, it’s very challenging to get a breakthrough and will only come with patience and perseverance.
- Realize that a model does not always have to look like a supermodel. With a lot of effort, however, you may reach that supermodel status. One of the most important things to remember is to never be shy and don’t apologise if you mess up! Yes, some models tend to act “stuck-up” and “overly confident” but as long as that makes you feel good, go ahead! Be yourself, and remember to act. Modeling requires a lot of acting skills so acquire a little attitude.
Part Two: Portfolios & Agencies
- Take some snapshots. This doesn’t mean candid shots of you and your friends, but rather shots of you up close without a lot of makeup and on a plain background. You should shoot them in nice natural light without a lot of distraction in the photos. These are meant for agencies to get a look at you in a raw state. Consider a head shot, a body shot, and profile shots.
- Consider getting some professional shots taken. Professional photography, even if it is expensive, will give you a better idea of what kind of look you give off. You may eventually need these photographs to snag an interview, so think of it as a worthwhile investment!
- Get your favorite professional shots printed into 8x10s. Save these in case you are asked to leave a photograph anywhere before you have professional ones done.
- If you’ve got enough of these photos, consider putting everything into a portfolio, or “book.” Bring this portfolio with you to castings or to agencies.
- Take and know your measurements and stats. These will help modeling agencies place you.
- Basic measurements are height, weight, and shoe size.
- Know your clothing measurements such as dress size, hip, waist, chest etc.
- Know your own personal stats, such as hair color, eye color, skin tone etc.
- Visit a modeling agency. Almost every major city has multiple modeling agencies, and almost every agency has “open-calls” where they look at new talent.
- Bring your snapshots and/or portfolio. They will often ask you to walk or pose for them. They may take a headshot or take your measurements as well. If they reject you, don’t get disheartened; often an agency is looking for a diverse set of models, so you may just not fit their model lineup right now.
- There are many problems presently with some modeling agencies. So many people don’t know about the business and end up getting conned. No agency should be asking you for more than $ 20 when meeting you. The agency will some of your money when you model, but shouldn’t get much up front. If they ask for hundreds of dollars beforehand, walk away. Don’t take their offer.
Part Three: On the Job
- Be truthful about your measurements. Don’t say you’re skinnier than you are just to get a shoot. Once there, the stylist will have problems and you will get found out. Word will get around and you could find yourself without a career!
- Be professional, polite, and courteous. Remember that, even though you’re not working in an office, you need to be professional. Treat the people you work with respectfully — you never know who they know or what sort of a recommendation they might give of you. Never look down on anyone. You may be a model, but that doesn’t give you the right to be snooty, affected, or pompous.
- Always turn up on time to any appointment or shoot. If you’re late or rude, word soon gets around and then nobody will want to work with you.
- Be organized. Models often get called off places at the last minute and have very busy days. You need to be on top of things if you want to succeed. Buying a day-to-day planner can really help.
- Develop relationships with photographers. Not those kinds of relationships! Professional relationships. You help the photographer look great, and they will help you look great. It’s a win-win situation, so be sure to treat photographers with respect.
- Treat modeling like a real job. Girls that don’t take it seriously have small chances of succeeding in their modeling career. Realize that it is harder than it appears and there’s a lot of work behind all that glitz and glamour at fashion shows. Modeling is a full time occupation that requires constant attention. One week away from it and your career can be over. Understand that modeling has only a small window of opportunity, and even if you take a short break, you may never be able to return. Models can only work in the business for a maximum of 5 years. If you become famous inside of the business, it might be other wise.
- Confirm whether or not there will be a make-up artist (MUA) on site for any work you are doing. Sometimes you are expected to bring certain things with you (such as base foundation) and if they don’t have a makeup artist booked you need to prepare accordingly.
- Be creative on shoots. Photographers want to see you pose in various works, work for the camera, and interact with the world around yourself. Runway coordinators want you to put attitude in your walk (or very specific emotion).
- Know your limits on style and nudity. If you don’t want to do glamour work or are uncomfortable doing full nudity, speak up and don’t let people push you past those limits. Also, consider where you want your career to go in the future. Sure, you may be comfortable doing glamour now, but what if you decide you want to do fashion or catalog work in the future? You might be discriminated against if they know you have done this line of work.
- If, for whatever reason, you’ve decided signing with an agency isn’t right for you then you could consider going freelance. But be warned: the pay is usually considerably less and there are fewer safety precautions.
- You can also enter modeling contests. However, make sure you check that these are being run by a reputable agency.
- Some modeling schools are licensed by the Board of Education. However, whether or not they will teach you how to become a model is questionable, and some agencies even say that attending a modeling school can teach you bad habits that are hard to unlearn! They are also expensive.
- Get your parents’ permission if you’re under the age defined by your country as being an adult.
- Get a website. It helps spread the word that you’re out there and also serves as a place for your adoring fans.
- Be careful when signing contracts or releases. Some contracts may require you to model exclusively for a particular agency. A lot of releases (which are more like mini-contracts that are done for a single shoot) will emphasize the photographer’s right to an image, saying that they may do whatever they wish, but don’t mention the model’s rights. It is your image they are using, and you have a say in what is done with pictures taken of you. Make sure to discuss this before signing anything.
- If you are invited to a foreign country (i.e. Hong Kong, Macau etc.) for an audition or job, have enough funds to purchase a return ticket yourself. While legitimate jobs exist, there are many scams that provide one way tickets then trap young girls into prostitution rings when they cannot afford to go back home.
- Almost all agencies will ask you to fill out a contract. Be sure to read through it thoroughly and make sure you know what every word means, even use a dictionary if you have to! Better know what you are signing for before you accept.
- If you are planning a photo shoot with a photographer you have met online, it is highly recommended that you bring a chaperone to the shoot. It’s for your own safety, as you never know who is who online! If you can’t bring a chaperone (because you are unable to find one or because the photographer doesn’t allow chaperones), make sure you do a background search on the photographer first- check out things such as who they have worked with and for – and call somebody when you get to the shoot and when you leave the shoot.
- Be wary of any agency that asks for money up front. The majority of agencies get their money through commission- meaning they take a certain percentage of your pay for every job that you do. If you don’t work, then they don’t get paid. If you’ve already paid up, there’s no incentive for them to find you work. However, don’t dismiss everybody who asks you for up-front fees as a scam. If you are sure that they are an agency, listen carefully to what they are asking for the fees for. Bigger agencies in bigger markets will often pay for these for you or at least loan you the money, but smaller agencies or agencies in smaller markets can’t afford to do this. If the fees are to cover actual representation, this probably isn’t a good deal. Although there are some good agencies out there who work on this basis, the majority are nothing more than con artists. Find models who they represent, get in touch with them and ask them what they think of the representation they are getting.
- If you become one of the top models like Kate Moss, the people you work for might ask you to take drastic measures to stay a top model. For example, they might ask you to get nose jobs, liposuction, or have breast implants. The pressure of modeling can cause a lot of long term mental health problems, including eating disorders. Don’t be afraid to speak to somebody if you think it is getting all too much. If you just can’t handle the pressure, it may be time to start thinking of a new profession. A job isn’t worth your health!
- Modeling is a tough business. Try not to be discouraged by rejections. Even top models still get rejected for about 70% of everything they are put forward for!
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