How to Knock Your CT Application out of the Park and Get On All Your Dream Teams

So, I just finished another round of Creative Team applications and I often get asked “Well, what can I do to improve for your next call and increase my chances?”  I thought to myself – “Hey – (self) this should be a blog post so everyone can benefit from your infinite wisdom (ha!)”

So here it is, how to knock your CT application out of the park and get on all your dream teams.

How to stand out in a crowd

How to stand out in a crowd

Disclaimer:  This is MY process for going through MY calls, though I believe it’s good advice for any call.

What’s important to know is that any designer worth their salt gets waaaay more applications than they can handle at any CT call. Your application can literally get lost in the crowd if it doesn’t stand out as special. You need to be able to impress them in 5 seconds or less.

The most important part of applying to a CT call is, of course, your gallery.  Your gallery is your bread and butter and if a designer doesn’t feel like your gallery is what they’re looking for, high enough quality, or inspirational upon first glance, you’ll get thrown in the “no” pile faster than you can say “But wait! The best stuff is on the second page!” Don’t let this happen to you!

How to Make Your Gallery Stand Out in a Crowd

1) First off, present a stunning gallery with well made pages that aren’t all template-based.  (Everyone loves a good template – I use them a lot too, but I like to see how someone puts together a page without the aid of a template as well!)  Unless, of course, you’re applying for a template designer. I also have to want to click to see your layouts bigger straightaway. With nearly 100 applications every time I do a call, I have to make the first cuts based on instinct and if nothing catches my eye, that’s not a good sign!

2) I suggest having a Pinterest or Scrapstacks portfolio of only the work you’re most proud of and/or would be the best for CT work to link a designer up to, rather than your entire body of work.  We all have layouts we’ve done with photos that aren’t the best or that may not be our most exciting work – leave these out if they’re not what you would choose to show a designer as your “best work”. (If you don’t link to a Pinterest or Scrapstacks portfolio – choose a gallery with LARGE thumbnails.) In the real world, you put only your best accomplishments on your resume and you leave out that time that you kinda did something with not a lot of effort, right?

3) Photography and post processing skills are a MUST.  I don’t expect anyone to be a pro but a photo has just as much to do with a layout as the product does, you can’t show off a product to the best of it’s ability if the photo doesn’t draw a viewer in and make them want to see more.

4) Save-for-web skills are hugely important, a designer can’t do anything with a pixelated, blurry, or poorly saved layout.

5) Excellent shadowing skills.  There are a ton of really awesome tutorials out there, including some in SSD’s tutorial section to help with this.

Finally, make sure that your gallery is what they’re looking for.  If you’re applying to a team for a designer that mainly designs supplies for Art Journaling, it helps to have art journaling layouts in your gallery.

How to Make Your Application Stand Out in a Crowd

As far as the application content goes, I’m looking for excitement and personality in the application!  I want to see someone who has a sense of humor and who wants the position, it’s evident in their “tone”.  Put some of your personality and life into your application and make sure you’ve answered all the designer’s questions. But don’t ONLY answer the questions. Think of it as a job interview.  If you only answered the interviewer’s questions as concisely as possible, there wouldn’t be much to make you stand out from the crowd, would there?

(P.S. A little gushing is flattering, but a lot is annoying and feels like butt kissing!)

Finally, while it isn’t a requirement, most designers want to see layouts you’ve done with their product.  First, for obvious reasons, we want to see how your style meshes with our designs. Secondly, we want to know we’re not looking at the application of a “serial CTer” who applies to any call they see just to get on any and all teams they can.  I love to “hire” true fans!

Ok, so there it is in a nutshell! Every designer is going to have their own requirements for their team, but I think it’s safe to say that these are pretty universal truths! I hope this helps you to get on the CT of your dreams!

6 comments on How to Knock Your CT Application out of the Park and Get On All Your Dream Teams

  1. Maribel
    December 13, 2012 at 10:48 am (5 years ago)

    Great advice! I’m not on any CT but if I do consider it for the future I will surely come back to this post!

    • Traci Reed
      December 15, 2012 at 11:57 am (5 years ago)

      Glad I could help!

  2. Lea
    December 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm (5 years ago)

    That would have been super helpful before I sent out my application…

    • Traci Reed
      December 15, 2012 at 11:57 am (5 years ago)

      It’ll be super helpful for future applications as well, is the hope! <3

  3. Kate
    December 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm (5 years ago)

    Great advice!! Thanks for taking the time to explain this to us! What a stressful job it must be for designers to have a call.

    • Traci Reed
      December 15, 2012 at 11:57 am (5 years ago)



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