As a hub for creativity and entertainment, the toy industry is unique. Not only do you get to design these creative, fun, and entertaining objects, but you also do so in an environment with an array of people who are as passionate as you are. However, such a special industry can be difficult to breach, so we’ve provided some tips to get started.

Look At Industry Trends

The first step you should take is studying what’s going on. This might sound like a no-brainer, but as noted in data collected by Brandon Gaille, the toys are an estimated $22 billion industry, meaning that there are numerous subcategories and niche aspects you can explore. From physical wooden toys to digital educational devices, there are numerous types of toy companies out there for you to be a part of, which is why looking at current industry trends is a must.

There are certain aspects of the toy industry should be assumed; for example, how a lot of the physical toys have been replaced with digital tablets and smartphones past a certain age. But that’s not to say there isn’t innovation happening. As more of kids’ entertainment has started to shift to digital needs, parents have been looking out for physical items that still hold an educational value as much as it is entertaining. Some companies have taken the approach of creating a unique flow of custom toy building. Whether you want to take more of a traditional approach to the toy industry in solid, physical design or take on creating the digital tools shifting the industry, there’s plenty of opportunities to dive into if you know where to look.

Develop A Specific Skillset

Once you’ve established the type of sector you’re looking to venture into with the toy industry, the next step is looking at what type of value you can bring to them. No matter if this is a previous skill you have or something that you’re trying to establish now, the goal is to find something that you can sell your hard skills for. This might take a bit of sharpening of your current skills, acquiring a portfolio, or even going after a certification.

The first thing you should ask yourself is what type of value could you sell to a business that you have based on your experience. While that might sound obvious, many people make the assumption they’re applying to jobs which in this scenario isn’t necessarily the case. Most toy companies are relatively small teams, and they rely on people to wear multiple hats. For example, if I’m trying to sell myself as a marketer, I not only need to know that 51 percent of Instagram users access the platform daily but also where my audience is on the platform and how I could use a service like Social Gone Viral to reach them.

Focus Heavily On Market Need

With a skillset in hand, it’s time to see where exactly you fit within the niche aspects of the industry we mentioned above. This part of your research process will primarily involve looking at market need; while it might be attractive to be a part of toy startups, there’s a reason some companies survive and others don’t–what people buy. According to Entrepreneur, 42 percent of businesses fail due to no market need, which will be the primary cursor for finding the perfect fit.

A smart place to find where you’ll fit with market need is by looking at what salary you’d accept. This will determine if you’d be comfortable working in a startup environment like Jizels or for a well-established company. From there, start looking at the specific sectors you’d be interested in contributing to, as well as what type of value you’d like to contribute. We’ll note that the core to any good pitch is the type of passion you’re able to convey, showcasing what you’ve studied up on them, as well as why you admire the work that they do.

Execute A Plan You Can Tackle Consistently

Finally, with a list of targeted companies in hand, it’s time to start reaching out. The basic goal with this is to ensure that you’re always aiming for the proper channels. For example, reaching out to the CEO of a company with over 100 employees wouldn’t be as effective as the person who’s the head of your specific department (and of course, if they’re hiring directly for your role, then taking that route). Fortunately, the toy industry is one that on average, has a pretty quick hiring turnaround rate at 13.5 days, according to Learnvest. But before you can dive into applications, first you need to consider what’s a system you can establish to tackle outreach consistently.

In looking at the rough list of companies you’d like to target, take a minute to organize them by if they’re currently hiring for this role or not and knock out as many applications for the ones that are. After that’s settled, take a look through their websites and research who the ideal person at the company is to reach out to. For most startup-like firms (15 or fewer people), the CEO is the most likely one to make financial decisions on the companies behalf; however, for larger companies, try to aim for specific departments most related to your position. As you’re ready to take this on, take a deep breath, and remember to speak from why you’re passionate about wanting to be a part of not only their company but why they’ll be a gamechanger for the industry; which, at that point, you’ll have found your match.

What are some strategies you’d suggest for getting into the toy industry?