We thought it would be a good time to share some quick tips to help you out when applying to that next open call.

So before submitting, check out our list of dos and don’ts.


Applying to an Open Call: Dos

1. Read the instructions

Carefully. It is important to understand exactly how to prepare and submit your application. Make sure you follow the instructions as they have been laid out in the open call. This will prevent delays or possibly even outright rejection of your application. 

Every detail is important, so pay close attention and follow the instructions. 

2. Contact the organizer if you have any questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! After reading the instructions carefully, if you have any doubts or anything is unclear, get in touch with the organizer.

3. Select your work

Maybe the open call you’re applying to has a theme. Do the works you’ve selected fit well and engage with the theme? This doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be immediately obvious. But you should be able to make a case for it. 

Even if there isn’t a theme, consider carefully which works to submit. Select works that you feel are exemplary of your practice, and also try to show new directions you are exploring.

4. Apply to best-fit opportunities

Be selective about which opportunities you apply to. This will save you time and allow you to concentrate on those that you really want and are best qualified for.

If it’s a best-fit opportunity, it will already be clear to you why you are applying, what you expect from it and how you can contribute. That should make life easier when preparing your application.

Applying to an Open Call: Don’ts

1. Wait until the last minute

You don’t want to miss a deadline. Your application will likely not be considered if you submit too late.

There’s always the possibility of encountering technical issues when making submissions online — especially if a website is experiencing high traffic close to a deadline. So don’t wait until the last minute to start uploading or sending your material. There might not be anyone available to help.

2. Submit in a different format

Following the instructions can be just as important as the contents you are submitting when it comes to evaluating your application. Not doing so could be cause for immediate rejection of your application in some cases.

Whether this means where and how applications should be submitted — via email or uploaded on a website, etc. Or the format and size of documents, images and media. Or even the naming of files or email subject line. Be careful and always double check.

3. Submit more material than permitted

This is also part of following instructions.

Generally, unless otherwise stated, it’s OK to submit fewer than the maximum number of images permitted when applying to an open call. And doing so is not necessarily a bad thing. 

But if a maximum of 5 images are accepted, don’t try to send more. This also goes for word- or character-count limits. Though it might seem like providing more material and variety could boost your application, it could, in fact, have the opposite effect.

4. Apply if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements

If an open call outlines certain eligibility criteria, don’t ignore or try to get around it. Your time is better spent applying to opportunities that are a good fit for you.

Spend more time and effort putting together a strong application for best-fit opportunities, rather than submitting to any open call you come across.

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