It’s important to remain professional in your communications when you’re getting your start in the industry.  This means, all-too-personal email handles and instant messenger IDs must be replaced in order for talent to be taken seriously.  Here are some simple must-have modifications so you can appropriately present to industry pros.

Do you really want to be forever known as ‘prettyprincess123’ or ‘classclownof95’?  Most likely not.  Swap out these handles for more professional ones that represent who you are as your venturing out into the “real world,” hoping to get your career off the ground.  According to FitSmallBusiness, you should avoid nicknames and numbers.  Try sticking with your name and adding in only the characters necessary to make it unique, if the handle is already taken.  The most common add-ons include birth years or other important dates that are easy to remember, and dates such as these are the only acceptable numeric add-ons.  Sometimes simply including your middle initial or some derivative of your name will also work (other than a nickname).  Think “Sue” rather than “Suzanne” or “Joseph” instead of “Joe.”

The same goes with your photos.  It’s essential in entertainment to invest in professional images.  Just as you wouldn’t fill out an application and attach a one-liner handwritten note that includes your employment experience rather than a resume, you wouldn’t submit a comp card filled with selfies and expect to be taken seriously.  Just as with any new position, you want to make sure you show you’re motivated to land the gig and ready to get down to business.

If offered an interview or invited to a casting, make sure you do your research.  Look into the company’s latest projects, important contacts, and future plans.  Familiarize yourself with the role for which you’ll be auditioning.  Know what will be expected of you if you’re offered a spot on the project.  Get to know the roles of others you’ll be auditioning alongside.  Understand what you’re bringing to the table and why you deserve the spot you’re seeking.

Always make sure to confirm an appointment ahead of time, to arrive a bit early (but not too early) and thank the decision-maker for meeting with you whether or not you have a clear idea if you landed the role immediately following your interaction.  Make sure to keep your phone handy if you’re expecting to receive a callback.

Remember, never double-book.  Just as you wouldn’t accept one job offer, then another right after that requires the same time commitment, don’t accept more than one role if you’re auditioning for multiple gigs at once.  Above all, be patient, and confident in your abilities.  If you’ve covered all of your bases and ensured you put your best foot forward, don’t get discouraged if you aren’t selected right away.  Try, try again!