How to Ace an Open Call Submission
Open calls are great ways for entrepreneurs to build their brand. Throughout the year, there are contests, scholarships, retail opportunities, entrepreneurial programs, pitch nights and more that may come your way. To make sure you are setting yourself up for success, here are a few ways to make sure your application is strong.
Read and Understand the Application Process
Be sure to read the application a few times to understand the process, key dates and what you need to do before submitting, including:
Make sure you meet the requirements to participate
Check the dates and note any important deadlines
Understand your responsibilities pre, during and post opportunity
You should also ask if you the open call is a fit with your brand before you make any business decision.
Gather Submission Materials in Advance
Gather all of the materials you need for submission in advance so you feel prepared and can look at everything with a fresh set of eyes. This may be marketing and selling documents, sketches, financials or putting questions into draft form.
After you have your materials prepared, review for grammar and professionalism, design and presentation and cohesiveness of your story. You may also want a team member, colleague, friend or mentor to review to point out any ways to strengthen your application.
Before you submit, consider doing a mock submission if their form allows so you know exactly what you need to answer.
Check Your Website and Social Media Accounts
Make sure these outlets are up-to-date, merchandised properly and tell a consistent story both visually and written. You should also review everything to make sure your accounts are professional. Chances are the judges, retailers or individuals evaluating submissions are cross referencing you website and social accounts which may help or hinder your chances.
Answer Questions Thoughtfully and Succinctly
Most open calls have a written portion so be sure to take the time to answer them. Your questions should be thoughtful, yet succinct as people don’t always have the time to read long form copy. However, showing that you understand the questions, put time into answering them and can provide context so they understand your personal and/or business story can help.
Lead with Professionalism
Whether you are a college student, have been in business a decade or just starting out, make sure you lead with professionalism. You’ll be interacting with businesses and they will want to know that you carry yourself as a professional design entrepreneur. Simple things like following directions, using proper grammar, writing well and presentation all have the ability to make you stand out.
Consider Adding a Personal Statement
Some applications may allow for a personal statement or a space to provide additional information. This is your opportunity to tell others why you want to participate, your commitment, how this could opportunity impact your brand and anything else that will convey your best self.