By Max Luthy, Account Executive at LONDON Advertising
If you aren’t cruising in the fast lane down the Information Highway, you ain’t going anywhere.
I found the Internet was the best place to start my job hunt. Where else does one begin? Obviously you should be looking at job listings online, but more importantly, if used properly it is the source of all you could possibly need to know about marketing.
People in Media love to blog, be interviewed, Twitter and argue about their industry. I can’t stress enough how helpful this is. I had an interview at McCann Erickson where the interviewer said “Is that all you have been reading, just blogs?” I panicked and muttered some blatant fallacy about having glanced at some books.
If I could go back in time, I would have launched into a well-prepared argument about how everything worth knowing has been digitised and chucked online, in most cases for free. Actually, if I could actually go back I time I’d probably do something more exciting, like give Beethoven an Ipod loaded with Girls Aloud…
Anyway, right at the beginning of my job hunt I found a blog called AdGrads. It is run by four young guys who were recent grad applicants themselves. They provided all the application dates for grad programmes, advice on CV’s, interviews, second round interviews, everything. They even chastised on agency for handling applicants poorly, and received a written apology from said agency!
Its not just the youth, even the Old Guard of the industry blog. Dave Trott’s is one of my favourites. So to recap, get online, log off Facebook for as long as you can and start soaking up information like a sponge.
If you Twitter (you should, BestBuy in America recently specified that marketing applicants must have 250 followers on Twitter) then make sure you are following people who will keep you posted with all the latest updates on the industry.
Stand out like a fat person in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue
When I was filling out the grad scheme application for JWT they put the classic ‘fill the empty box with anything you want’ question at the end. My first thought was to cut out the box, make an origami crane, and include it in the envelope. Then I realised that I needed to show them I was ‘with the times’. I went with the original idea but filmed it, did some simple editing and put it on YouTube.
I saw on Facebook that someone who ran a group on Grad Jobs worked at JWT so I posted the link on the wall. This drummed up hits and I even got a message from a JWT employee saying they would make sure it was seen.
One girl posted on the wall that she had also made a crane and sent it in the post like I had originally thought, so she was kicking herself. I didn’t get the job got me through to the interview (part of the problem was I could think of anything I liked about their work).
I recently heard a great story of a young creative’s stunt. He went and bought a wallet and then he made a fake ID card with a Creative Director’s name on it. He then dropped the wallet on the floor of the lobby at the agency where the Creative Director worked.
The Receptionist, checked the ID, and left the wallet on the Creative Director’s desk. The confused Creative Director opened up the wallet and found a tiny portfolio, attached with the person’s contact details. He got the job.
Bare in mind that I wasn’t applying to be a creative, but I still found it helped to stand out. Another tactic I employed was whenever a job application form asked me to attach a picture I attached the one that accompanies this article.
Be prepared to do anything
If you get an internship or temporary placement, you need to be ready to learn. Try picking up morsels of knowledge from everyone you work with. If you get the opportunity to, grab a sandwich with a colleague. Ask them lots of questions. I said it before and I’ll say it again: people in the communications industry love to, for lack of a better word, communicate. This is especially true if they are the subject matter.
Almost any degree or experience is relevant, and if it isn’t, you have to sell it that way. You are after all, gunning for a career in Marketing. When I was writing my résumé, I put down the months I had worked as a bar-man at a Gastro pub, and instead of the usual ‘opened and closed bar, did inventory checks etc.’ I wrote, ‘mastered the art of selling over-priced peanuts with an apologetic smile.’
Use your connections
You might not think you know anyone, but you probably know someone who knows someone. Even if you don’t know anyone, get to know them. Start a friendly email, or even phone conversation with an employee from a firm you are interested. If you are persistent without being irritating, you will stick in their mind. That way, if a place turns up then they will think of you.
We currently have two students from Spain working with us. They had seen a seminar in which my boss was a co-speaker, after he was finished, they went and introduced themselves and said they would love to come intern in London.
Details were exchanged an here they are, while all the other students in their class do internships in Spain, these two will have experience at an agency in London, the hub of creativity.
If you get rejected for a position, then enquire why, or ask what you could do to improve your chances.
See an opportunity when it comes
LONDON was part of a panel on a Textappeal seminar at Cannes Lion this year. Our creative’s ended up designing a flyer for it, which featured Ronald McDonald wearing a jetpack. Our original idea had been to hire a jet pack pilot (yes they do exist) and have him fly around Cannes.
Once I realised it was logistically impossible, and we were struggling to find a Frenchman who would do this for a reasonable price, I half-joked: “For enough Rosé I’ll go out to Cannes and do it for you!” No more than a fortnight later there I was in the South of France sun, with hundreds of delegates admiring my costume and home-made jet pack.
The stunt was so popular in fact, that I feel like I experienced levels of fame only shared by Brangelina, Miley Cyrus or Obama. Once I got home I found I had made it onto several people’s Flickr accounts and one girl had even written a venomous blog about me.
The Ronald costume made networking a breeze. I remember being at a party for Young Dutch Creatives and one of the guys recognized me without the make up on. A somewhat intoxicated creative shared the secrets of great advertising with me. He also warned me about the existence of local girls in Cannes, who sleep with you and then rob you in
Be prepared for a few things, what do you think is a great/shite ad? It may sound obvious but have some reasons why… I had picked what I thought were the worst ads and the interview seemed to like my reasons – then they asked what I would propose instead… barnacles! I wasn’t prepared.
With CVs and application forms proof read, spell check, proof read again, and finally have someone else proof read. We had one application from someone who described themselves as ‘exeptional’.
Working in a small company can be great. OK, you’ll get paid less than a graduate position at a big marketing company, or even Lidl. OK the training won’t be as thorough as the big company’s or, once again, Lidl’s. What you do get is the kind of on the job experience that no training can cover, not even at Lidl.
Finally, Google yourself. Make sure that there aren’t any comments you posted on objectophilia forums etc.
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