Agency life is crazy, yet exciting—exhilarating, yet competitive. And for talented young professionals embarking on success in the ad space, here’s what you need to know to get your foot in the door.
Understanding the Hiring Process
During the interview and hiring process, your main point of contact will typically be the recruiter, a representative and gatekeeper of the company who scouts top talent. The recruiter’s role in the process is to determine how qualified a potential candidate is for the position on behalf of the hiring manager.
Depending on the level of authority, a recruiter can influence the decision to hire a new employee during any step of the hiring process, from the preliminary screening stage to the final stage of selecting a candidate and extending a job offer. Impress the recruiter and you’ll be passed along as a recommendation to the hiring manager.
Amy Farrell, a highly experienced marketing agency recruiter, has reviewed thousands of applications for all types of positions with top agencies. Farrell shared with Onward Search, a leading digital marketing and creative talent staffing agency, that the following distinctions make applicants stand out:
- Updated network-growing LinkedIn profile: Detail skills and accomplishments. Optimize your profile with industry-specific keywords and add relevant certifications or courses.
- Research & homework: Know the types of clients, key differentiators and job description for the company.
- Clear & concise resume: Avoid a scattered resume layout with no flow or order. Ensure it’s free of distractions, readable and organized.
Value of Internships
Although an eye-catching resume format attracts a recruiter’s eye, it’s ultimately the content that secures an interview. Internship experience provides resume-building, real-life work experience, career insight and networking opportunities.
Natalie Gillhouse didn’t fully understand what the public relations field entailed until she interned at creative advertising agency Youtech & Associates. Equipped with a few academic principles and theories in PR, Gillhouse was thrown into the agency environment as part of the Youtech team. Gillhouse researched clients and extracted newsworthy information to write press releases. Her greatest out-of-the-classroom lessons were how companies sent out press releases to media outlets and the role of social media to grow a business.
Last summer Devin McGuire was a Boston University senior who learned as an account management intern that “collaboration is an essential part of the advertising world,” according to Internships.com. At advertising and marketing agency Ferrara & Company, McGuire ensured creative projects were on schedule, tracked market trends and researched brand competition. But among the various tasks, experiencing the effects of collaborative teamwork and flexibility during ad production was most noteworthy for McGuire.
Both Gillhouse and McGuire can use their experiences of submitting press releases and collaborating with teams as marketable stories to share with potential employers. Internship work is preparation for the workforce and offers a launching point for a promising career path. Explore the variety of internships available through your university or the CreativeInterns network?
Creative Talent Needs
Creative talent is at the heart of a business, and the ability to adapt to a changing world helps a business grow. Cutting-edge ad agencies need young creative stars with innovative minds and an educational foundation. A business degree in advertising or marketing serves as the cornerstone for a young person’s prosperous career. With so many options for receiving an education, ambitious advertising trailblazers in-the-making can start to embrace their talent starting in school.
Beyond a degree, what are industry power players looking for? Ad Age discovered the following:
- The ability to produce a series of powerful, smaller ideas can be bigger than a single big idea. (PJ Pereira of Pereira & O’Dell)
- Fantastic storytellers and a craft for creativity can lead to success in advertising. (Susan Credle of Leo Burnett)
- Industrious young creatives know how to use the cool tools for executing an idea. (Con Williamson of Saatchi & Saatchi)
- Writers need to frame an argument and persuade me. (Rob Schwartz of TBWA/Chiat/Day)
Also, portfolios adorned with confidence, versatility and a forward-thinking aesthetics stand out. And as for the candidates, ad agencies look for a good heart, interesting points of view, a diverse background, soulfulness, digital space fluency, a curiosity for technology and a Swiss Army knife skill set.
Article contributed by Paige Calahan from SocialMonster.org