By Toby Thwaites, Director, Purple
Redundancies and budget freezes are sadly common place in the creative industries at the moment.
Obviously that means that recruitment consultants like ourselves have a glut of quality candidates on our books but a serious lack of positions to put them forward for.
Working as we do for many of the UK’s top advertising, direct and digital agencies, we feel that there are still certain things that candidates should be aware of to help give themselves a better chance at that all-important first interview.
1. Be prepared to take advice from your recruitment consultant.
We’ve been encouraging candidates to come in and see us to prepare for both first and second interviews recently. The feedback from them is that it’s reassuring and useful to get professional advice at each stage.
2. Advertising agencies do tend to employ graduates but there is no real rule governing what the degree is in.
It just levels the playing field in the hunt for suitable employees.
3. In basic terms, the advertising industry, like most, will require you to have good IT skills, numeracy and literacy . . . expect these to be a prerequisite.
4. Research the industry.
Trying to get a full picture of the kind of agency you’re looking to work for can really help you focus in an interview and allow you to arm yourself with information to impress your interviewer with.
5. To get on in the world of advertising you need to have strong interpersonal skills.
It is a very people-focussed industry and if you’re not good with people then it’s probably not for you.
6. Get relevant work experience under your belt.
Working, even for a short period, within an agency can give you the edge over an inexperienced candidate. It will also give you an insight into the workings of an agency and help you manage your own expectations and career aspirations.
7. Showcase your work in a portfolio, even if you work in Account Handling or Project Management.
Taking pride in your work and presenting it portfolio-style to a prospective employer will enable you to stand out in an interview situation.
8. Approach smaller agencies for opportunities
If you target the smaller agencies for experience (or a job) in this climate you are likely to gain broader experience and be given responsibility more quickly than you would in a larger agency. It can be a useful stepping stone approach to working in the industry.
9. You need to have particular strength as a team player.
No client brief is ever executed by one person – a number of people are always involved and you need to be the kind of person who can develop strong working relationships.
10. Having a passion for the industry can put you ahead of other potential employees.
And even more than that, the ability to communicate your passion for the industry is crucial.
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