So, you want to work in the wonderful world of advertising? That’s great.
However, take note, even little ol’ Immersion Creative gets a resume a day from people willing to work for free. I can only imagine how many the big shops get. Competition is tough and jobs are scarce. So you’ll need to stand out.
Here are eight things you should DO.
1. Know what you want. Do you want to write, art direct, strategize, deal with clients, sell work, build business, or what?
2. Build a great portfolio. Gather your favourite ads and dissect what you like about them. Find ads that you hate and make them better. You are going to need about 10 that show your creative thinking. Use a few different mediums – print, social media, outdoor, guerilla, etc.
3. Find out who makes the ads you love. Not just the agencies, the people behind them. Once you know which creative director is where, start approaching them. Be sure you tell them you’re a fan of their work. This is a good place to start: Ads Of The World.
4. Think of an interesting approach to get a creative director’s attention beyond a generic email. I’ve sent agencies golden goose eggs, skis, telegrams, piles of dirt, swim caps and singing picture frames. I once optimized all the names of 20 Hong Kong creative directors to lead them to my blog. I’m not saying you should send a bunch of useless crap to my office, but try to stand out beyond an ‘I’m looking for work’ subject line.
5. Hustle. Nothing worth having comes easy. Be persistent. Just because you’ve tried one creative director, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try five more. Keep trying. Go for new angles. Make meetings. Just ask them to see your work even if they are not hiring. Be on time. Get your face out there. Get your ideas known. Never give up.
6. Toughen up. Some people go to ad school and breeze their way into an internship, and then a job. If you are that talented/lucky/connected, that is great. For the rest of us, finding a job in advertising can be one of the most soul-destroying experiences in your life. It took me 35 meetings with creative directors to get my first job. 25 meetings for my second job. It takes a lot of persistence. There’s a lot of ego-lashing. Even after hanging the Immersion shingle, I still have to hustle. Every day I need to find new clients, new work, and new opportunities to keep my family fed. It never gets easier. So get used to it.
7. Read these books
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This
The Copywriter’s Handbook
Flyers, labels, small print, instructions, disclaimers, children’s books, niche magazines, newspapers from other countries, legal documents, graffiti, obituaries, best of Craigslist, the worst of Craigslist, I saw yous, lost and founds and set lists.
8. Go to these websites
1. Send every agency out there your crappy copy and pasted resume. No one reads them.
2. Call us. Unless you have something hilarious to say.
3. Follow the rules. Even these ones.
4. Give up. And it will happen.
That’s a lot of work. Is it worth it? If you want to get paid to bring ideas to life, it most certainly is.