I wrote a post where I discussed emailing people who have or have had your dream job, telling them about yourself and where you're at in your career, and asking them for advice on how to get to where you want to be. It doesn't matter if they're local or international! If they are local, however, it might be a good idea to even ask them if you can shadow or assist them, even if it's only for a day. Anything to get you in the action and closer to those dreams. I was lucky to have some amazing people email me back and invite me to work on photoshoots in the beginning of my career and I'm still in contact with some of them today as friends. It can also be good to email those people, discuss where you are in your career, and then ask them what you need to do to get that specific job. Example: You might email different fashion photographers because you want to work in that industry someday. If you have a more specific goal or dream job in mind like working as a fashion photographer for Vogue, you could email people who are photographers for them or even people who are in charge of the magazine and see if they'll take a few minutes out of their day to email you back and discuss what you need to do in order to have that job someday.
Sometimes, they'll email you back and make your day! However, the reality of it is that I have emailed many more people than I have actually heard back from. It sucks. It really, truly does. I'm a person who would rather get a "no" than nothing at all because honestly, hope can be paralyzing, especially if you emailed someone trying to find out how you can achieve your dream job in the near future like me.
After graduating from college, I emailed a variety of people who could answer my very specific dream job questions, but still (STILL) have yet to get a detailed response back. Okay. So what did I do? Sob uncontrollably and give up? Throw in the towel? No. I decided to take the time to work on what I have to offer them so I could email them again someday. Don't look it like it's a roadblock. It's more of a speed bump. It causes you to slow down, think about your strategy, and rework what you've been doing. Think about it this way: by improving your portfolio and skill set, your work will be more refined and polished and so kickass that they'll have to answer you! (Right?!) Just be positive about it and be persistent. Maybe email them once a week or every other week for a few weeks. If it doesn't work, don't worry. The person you emailed might get a hundred or more emails a day, so keep at it! After not hearing back for a while, you can also look at different names of people who work there and maybe there's someone else who can help you contact someone you're looking for. Remember what I said about networking, LinkedIn, and cold emails? You will have a better chance of getting an email back from someone who works under them or in a similar department. Remember, there are a million different paths you can take to achieve your dreams.
The moral of the story is to not be upset when someone doesn't respond right away or at all. Keep working on your craft and try again later. Be positive. Celebrate the responses you DO get back because you never know where those may lead! There's a little nugget from a Cosmo article by Amy Odell that I love:
"You have to write again and again even after they reject you. If they don't reject you, you have to write them until they respond. If they finally respond with a rejection, you have to think, Oh my god, I can't believe that editor I am dying to work for wrote me back! It's like we know each other! Next stop: brunch!"
If you ever have any questions about anything I mentioned or want some guidance on writing those emails, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise I'll respond! (Next stop: cocktails!)