The timeline for this series of posts has shifted, but now we're back on schedule. Beginnings 1 discussed finding your niche and searching for places you may want to work in your area. Now we'll get into how to make contact and what to include in a marketing packet.
For this step you will need to have at least a cover letter and a resume. No matter how you send the information, electronically or hard copy, these two components are used to hook the reader and make them want to know more.
The most important thing to remember is that you want to peak the readers interest, not give them your life story. Therefor a résumé needs to be only one page long with applicable information that is laid out in a clear uncluttered way. A cover letter needs the most important information within the first couple sentences and a tag line about offering a free art group or free initial consultation. Something that will be hard for them to turn down and gets you in the door for a face to face conversation.
Cover Letter excerpt:
"Dear contact name,
I am currently offering a free art group to facilities interested in adding art therapy to their programming. My work consists of traveling to retirement homes, community centers and day programs where I can bring art therapy into communities in an affordable way that fits both your budget and scheduling needs. For the free group, I will bring all the supplies to run a painting program for 45 minutes and can accommodate up to ten participants. Please feel free to observe or join in and following the group we can meet to discuss your thoughts, questions, and how art therapy can fit into your program.
I have included my résumé..,"
Depending on where you are applying you can tailor the cover letter to best suit the facility's mission statement or program goals. Many programs have websites, so use those to look at key phrases and what the company focuses on or values.
Along with your cover letter and résumé include a business card. This offers something small the person can hold onto. I had one place that I sent a letter to 5 times over ~6 months. Turns out the program director really wanted me, but kept forgetting to call. She kept my business cards on her desk and, when she finally called, thanked me for continuing to send my card.
Which brings us to the most important point:
If you don't hear from anyone or can't make contact just send your information again. Try different people or departments. If there are multiple units or levels of care than send multiple sets of information. Do not assume people will share your info or talk to one another. Assume that it will take several tries to find the right person and that every 6 months to a year staffing could change, so you should send your marketing information again to places that turned you down before.
Persistance will pay off.
Where do you find places?
Just a reminder that you will have to create most of your own positions because many people do not know how much they can benefit from hiring you as a contractor. With that in mind, you can send your information anywhere. It doesn't matter if there is a job advertised or not. I like to go on google maps and focus on the area around where I live. Then I just type in key words that apply to populations I work with
Adult day care
Nursing and rehab
It can be anything and once started the headers or categories that pop up might give you more words you hadn't thought of. Than you just copy and paste the addresses plus any contact names you find. If a place has a website, go to it and do more research.
I suggest sending info to 30-50 people and facilities at a time. Think of it as letting them know you exist so they can hire you.
Now stuff some envelopes and you're on your way!
PS after a week or two you can follow up with phone calls. Be open and prepared to set up a meeting or group.