Tag Archives: job search tips

Nov09

Tips for Perfecting a Portfolio

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Arguably the most important part of getting a job in any creative field is having a solid body of work. Creating and maintaining this ever-changing resource is of paramount importance for career advancement. Although it seems like a daunting task, it can be kept simple by consistently following a few steps.

 Consume as much quality content as you can

There is a good chance that whatever idea you have has already been thought of before. There are simply too many people in the world to have completely original ideas all the time; it’s just a numbers game. But no one who wants a job in a creative field got into this to think about numbers. The trick to keeping ideas fresh is to stop worrying about how similar your ideas are to others, and start thinking of ways to do the same thing differently. The only way to achieve this type of thinking is to see what’s out there. Make consuming content your hobby, and coming up with fresh ideas will become easy.

Start simple when working on a project

Get small details right when starting a project. The creative process is long and unforgiving, and what you start out with will rarely be included in the finished project. Getting a good groundwork right away will be sure to prevent frustration later. If you can keep focus on perfecting one aspect in the short term, it will help to keep the project from getting convoluted in the long term.

Perfect a finished project through excessive editing

You need to have your best work possible if you want to succeed in a very competitive field. Once you think you’re done with a project, start the creative process again. Look at every word or image and evaluate it. Every single aspect of your project must have the same focus and correct context in order for it to be portfolio-ready.

Know when to kill a project

This is by far the most difficult thing to master when creating content. You need to be willing and able to see when a project just won’t work out. There is no easy way to do this as it forces you to be objective about your own work. Finding someone whom you trust to be honest with you can be a huge asset, and if you can manage to have thick skin you will have a notable advantage over your competition.

Position your Portfolio effectively

This includes both the place employers can find your portfolio, and the content in it. The preferred format for a portfolio is online, and it is important to have your website reflect your work. As for the work itself, you are going to want to frame it so that any potential employers see your best work first. Even after all of the editing and perfecting of work, you are still going to have projects that are simply better than others. If you can promote these first, you will have a much better shot at getting hired.

Jul08

How To Be A Dream Candidate For An Ad Agency Recruiter

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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 

May11

The Secrets Behind the Interview Process

Image courtesy of val.pearl

Conducting an interview is a long and complicated process. Often times the hiring decision is made in an unexpected way. Here are some secrets that employers won’t tell you during the interview.

You didn’t get invited to interview? That doesn’t mean you are not good enough.

While it is true that employers select candidates who they think are the best fit, sometimes companies make decisions based on other unchangeable factors such as location or graduation date. A company I knew once had an immediate opening for an entry-level position, and there were over 200 applicants in a single month. Since this was an immediate opening the hiring manager filtered the candidates using two simple criteria: the person must have already graduated and the person must have at least one working experience related to the field. A lot of great candidates with excellent experience did not even get considered because they were still enrolled in school and the company needed someone who could start work as soon as possible. So don’t feel bad if you don’t get an interview at the company you want to work for. It may have nothing to do with your skills and capacity. Be confident in yourself.

The decision is usually made right after the interview.

Yes, you are told to wait a week or two for a decision. However, it’s often the case that employers have already made up their mind right after the interview. Research shows that employers only spend 4-5 minutes before they make an initial decision on whether you fit with the company. They estimate a longer time only because the company has other candidates scheduled to interview after you, and they will need to make some comparison to make sure they choose the right person. The evaluation of you is mostly done during your interview.

Performance is only one part, personality and cultural fit-in are also important.

Your performance at the interview is definitely a crucial element in determining your chances of being hired. However, employers make hiring decisions not only based on your performance. Having a good conversation with the interviewer is one thing, and determining if you are a good fit for the company culture is another. This is especially true for entry-level positions since those positions do not require a lot of experience. Cultural fit becomes key. After all, you will be working with people who you need to get along with to get the job done. So keep in mind that employers want to choose not only the best qualified, but the most suitable candidates for their company.

Written by Cathy Qiu