A few weeks ago, I had one of the best experiences of my career as a blogger. Out of 1600 people who applied, I was one of only TEN bloggers who were invited to be a member of the Fohr Freshman Class in New York.
I thought long and hard about how I would write this blog post because I wanted to make it relevant to everyone in my community of followers. Even though some of you are bloggers, many of you might not even know what Fohr is. So I’m hoping that the information I share about my experience with Fohr in this post will help you in your professional life whether you’re a blogger trying to grow in the business, a student applying for a school or scholarship, or just a working millennial looking for tips on navigating the professional world.
What is Fohr?
First, I want to give you some background on Fohr. Fohr is an influential marketing company that works to make an impact on the lives of its influencers as well as its partners. With the inspiration of blogger Valerie Eguavoen @onacurve, Fohr created the Fohr Freshman Class to address racial and cultural disparities among content creators. For a little black girl like me in a predominantly white space, sometimes it feels like I’m in this alone, which is kind of how I felt at school and at work. Having the Fohr experience made me realize that even my definition of diversity was kind of small. I always think about my own identity since I’m Black, Muslim, and a woman. But we need diversity of color, gender, size, age and so much more. So just know that if you don’t fit into the mold, no matter what the reason, you are important and so is your story. I learned so much from my other Fohr fellows (@chasingdenisse, @damericano, @readytostare, @carpe_dmg, @alihemsley, @catherinegraceo, @a_nnabae, @preaportkate, @yvettecorinne).
Tip: Take advantage of any opportunities in your school or your job to get to know people with different backgrounds. You can find a home in diversity. Sometimes, it helps to talk to people who know what it is like to be “different” in your field.
I almost didn’t apply for this program because I didn’t think I would get it. Honestly, I had the same hesitation with school and all the scholarships and jobs I ever applied for. But if you don’t apply, you won’t get it. At least give yourself the chance.
I was so shocked when Fohr picked me! Out of 1600 qualified bloggers, Fohr chose me to be in their top 10. When I told my cousin and my husband, you know what they said? “Of course you got it, duh, you’re so qualified and you deserve it.” I need to remind myself of this more often. You have to believe in yourself even when it’s hard to.
Tip: Always apply. Apply for the job, the school, the scholarship; the worst that can happen is you don’t get it. Remember: You’re qualified and you deserve it.
The application is usually your only chance to sell yourself. A lot of times you don’t know the people reading your application and that’s their introduction to you so you have to wow them with just your words. I’ll give you some tips on what methods I used for my Fohr application as well as other applications I’ve done in the past.
In my answers to the application questions, I talked a lot about my personal life experiences; you want to make the readers relate to you, especially if they can’t see you and they don’t know you. So if they ask you, what are your goals for the future, it’s good to mention how or why you made those goals. What motivates you?
I also talked my desires to be in the Fohr program and why I had them. You should always explain why this opportunity is important to you and how it will help you reach your goals.
Most importantly, I mentioned some of the ways I felt I could benefit the program. With the Fohr Fellowship, I talked a lot about all of my identities and what made me different. I was hoping that my story as a mom, a hijabi, and an immigrant would set me apart.
While we were in New York, we had so much fun but we also had a lot of work to do. My roommate (@catherinegraceo) was amazing to explore with and bounce ideas off of. Thanks to James Nord (@jamesnord), the founder of Fohr, I learned a lot about my job as an Instagram blogger. I also learned a lot about what brands look for and how to effectively communicate and build relationships via email thanks to Grace Murray (VP of Fohr). We even went to Instagram HQ! I met the Fohr representative I usually work on my campaigns with (Holly) and one of the things she told me is that she loves how responsive I am to emails and how quickly I respond. That’s a huge deal.
One of the highlights of my week was meeting with my mentor (@thenotoriouskia) who taught me a few strategies to succeed as a blogger, one thing she emphasized was the importance of staying true to yourself. In general, it is good to have a mentor because they have often paved a road towards where you want to go. Mentors can help guide you by sharing their personal journey and telling you things they wish they had known when they were in your place.
Here is the list of things I learned and will start or continue to do after my Fohr experience:
- Always answer emails in a timely manner. Sometimes, follow-up if you don’t hear from them to show that you’re interested.
- Always stay pleasant, even when the email isn’t pleasant.
- Create and maintain a calendar for the week, month, and year. I keep my calendar on my phone, in my office, and on my computer so I always have it.
- Set S.M.A.R.T goals
- SMART Goals are Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. and Time-Bound.
- Setting realistic deadlines is important to the process!
- You can learn something from everyone (sometimes that can be Do’s as well as Don’ts)
What tips do you have for accomplishing your goals in the professional world? Have you ever applied for something you didn’t think you would get? How do you feel about diversity in your environment? What do you think about having a program like Fohr to help you navigate lack of diversity in your spaces?