As the field of professional organizing becomes better known and understood throughout the world, many people decide they’d like to work in this fast-growing industry. Some weeks it seems that everyone and their sister wants to enter the field, and my inbox fills with inquiries from novice organizers who want to work for an established business. Whether you want to shadow an experienced organizer, become an intern, or work as an assistant organizer, there are a few things to keep in mind as you approach a professional organizing firm.
Gaining experience by working as an assistant organizer can be an excellent introduction to the ins and outs of serving clients in this way. But before you hit send on that email, slow down and make sure that your first impression will be a good one.
Getting To Know Me
Can you imagine someone applying for a job in a law firm without the slightest idea what that law firm does? Or someone applying to a department store without understanding what sort of store it is and what customers it serves? The hiring manager would probably rather pick someone who had done a bit of homework.
The same is true for new organizers who want to gain experience working with expert organizers. Read the company’s website and the owner’s social media profiles. You can find my LinkedIn profile here and my Wikipedia page here.
What are you looking for when you read about the person you hope to work with? Go above and beyond the basics:
- Where do they work?
- How old is their business?
- What do they do for clients?
- What do they NOT do?
Not every experienced organizer will be a good fit for every novice, so don’t waste your time or your recipient’s time by contacting someone who would never be a good fit.
Read any books written by the organizer. You can find my books here: From Hoarding to Hope: Understanding People Who Hoard and How to Help Them and Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets. You’ll be learning about my organizing philosophy and values and how I approach my work with clients, and you may uncover some of my pet peeves and preferences, too.
Get to know my personality by poking around various social media accounts. Don’t be afraid to interact with me occasionally and mention our connection when we talk or email: “Hi Geralin, I follow you on Twitter, and I also have a papillon…”
Do All Your Homework
Read books by other organizers, too. When information is readily accessible, don’t expect a busy business owner to spend time spoon-feeding information that is easily available to you. Invest time and effort in your education.
Recognize that just because you are proud of how your own files are arranged does not mean that you will be able to help other people with their filing challenges. Learn as much as you can. And, I’ll award a gold star to anyone who has taken the time to leave a thoughtful review of my books or other organizing books on Goodreads or Amazon.
Consider what sort of relationship you are looking for. Do you want to be an employee? An independent contractor? An assistant organizer or an unpaid intern? If you’re not sure, or you’d be open to any or all arrangements, you would benefit from engaging in a conversation with an experienced organizer and listening to their point of view. Here’s a blog post I wrote for experienced organizers, which helps sort out the differences among working relationships.
Use your research to explain why you want to work for the person. Let them know why you think you’d be a good match. When new organizers write to me, I like to know such things as:
- Previous work experience, especially if it’s relevant to organizing
- Volunteer activities
- Availability (Can you work mornings only? Are you available on weekends?)
Another thing worth mentioning is any allergies you may have. Since some of our home organizing clients will have pets (some offices, too), if a dog or cat sends you straight to Sneezeville, I’d like to know so that I won’t accidentally put you into a situation that might be harmful to you. A person with a dust allergy should let that be known before being booked into a full day of work in a dusty garage or attic.
Sometimes people adopt very informal manners on email, but if you’re asking to be an assistant organizer with someone’s company, you’ll do better by keeping your tone more businesslike.
I prefer it when someone uses my name when emailing instead of writing, “Hi, I want to become an organizer and work for you,” which can leave me feeling like the recipient of an impersonal mass email.
At the end of your message, include your contact information, giving your full name, telephone number, city, and state. Your email program may allow you to create an email signature block and add it automatically to the end of your messages, so you don’t have to retype these details each time.
Finally, proofread your message to make sure it’s clear and convincing.
Now Hit “Send”
You’ve done your homework. You’ve put your best foot forward. Now you can press “Send” with confidence, knowing that you’ve done your best to stand out most positively.