There are some obvious and not so obvious things you can do to get a leg up on the competition when you are searching for a new job in an advertising agency. I’ve pulled together some of the most important tips and insights for your reading pleasure.
Make a serious effort with each application. Tailor your cover letter and resume to match the role that you are applying for.
1. KNOW THE AGENCY’S WORK
There’s a certain amount of sleuthing that you should undertake before sitting down to your first interview. Research the agency that you’ll be interviewing at. Who are their clients? What sort of work has the agency done? Have they won awards? Which ones and when? Knowing this will show that you are interested, informed, and passionate – it could also quite possibly give you a leg-up on the competition.
2. TAILOR EACH COVER LETTER & RESUME
Make a serious effort with each application. Tailor your cover letter and resume to match the role that you are applying for. Use the agency’s name in your cover letter body copy. Tell them why you want to work for them, what you like about the agency, and why you feel you would be the perfect fit. Be sure to include relevant experience on your resume, and get rid of any superfluous content that doesn’t apply.
“A portfolio will speak volumes over anything else. It will showcase your abilities infinitely better than just a resume or CV alone. When we hire for any creative position, we always ask for a link to a candidate’s online portfolio. If you want a job in digital, you need to know digital. If you are just starting out and don’t have much work experience, even a portfolio which showcases personal projects/work is a good way to show off your potential. Just make sure you don’t put work that you are not proud of or work that doesn’t showcase your skills in the best light just to fill your portfolio… better to have a portfolio with a few pieces of great work, rather than a portfolio filled with mediocre work.”
4. CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACT
It’s 2012. Don’t be surprised if the first thing people do is Google you when you apply for a job. If there are photos of you dressed in some freaky Halloween costume, after one too many beer bong hits scattered all over the internet, it might be time to clean up your social media act.
GOOGLE: Find out what shows up when someone Googles you. Have your friends do a search for you as well because Google tailors results based on your previous searches.
FACEBOOK: Update your Facebook security settings. Only share things with your approved friends list, and never post anything that you wouldn’t want your mom to see.
TWITTER: Don’t tweet anything that could come back to haunt you. If you can’t control your potty mouth, then lock your account and only allow approved people to follow you.
LINKEDIN: Every day, thousands of recruiters and HR professionals cruise LinkedIn, looking for potential candidates. If your page isn’t updated, professional and accessible, you could be missing out. Fill in all of your experience, request endorsements from colleagues, and keep it current.
5. APPLY. APPLY. APPLY.
Don’t rely on trying to find somebody who knows somebody to get you an “in”. You need to take the first step and submit your application according to the agency’s process. Go online, fill out an application, or submit your resume and links to your portfolio. Get into their system, and then you can start working your contacts and your networks.
6. GO WHERE THE JOBS ARE
If you live in a province or town that doesn’t have a lot of advertising agencies, you might have to consider moving. The greater the number of agencies, the greater the number of job openings. Having variety will also lend itself to the ability to pick and choose, instead of desperately scramble for a job.
Start a blog, share your creative inspirations on Twitter, sign-up for industry publications, attend advertising events, and don’t ever give up on finding your dream job.
According to the internet, there are 2,928 advertising agencies in Canada. Give or take. The provincial breakdown is as follows**:
- 1,477 Ontario
- 670 Quebec
- 330 British Columbia
- 220 Alberta
- 61 Saskatchewan
- 59 Manitoba
- 46 Nova Scotia
- 27 New Brunswick
- 22 Newfoundland & Labrador
- 12 PEI
- 2 Yukon Territory
- 2 Northwest Territories
In most cities where there are advertising agencies, there are advertising associations. Find your local association and offer to volunteer. See what sort of programs they have and find something that interests you. Volunteering will help you to make new connections and expand your industry social circle.
Research and attend any industry networking events. Bookmark the local associations, find the Meet Ups, join the Facebook pages, follow industry Twitter accounts, and watch your social calendar fill up. Meet as many people as you can.
9. SCHEDULE INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS
Schedule “Informational Interviews” with people you meet while networking – or request them from various advertising agencies. Remember, they are not job interviews, but rather an opportunity to speak to professionals in the field to help determine which companies or work environment is the right fit for you.
10. BE PASSIONATE
Do you love what you do? Then show it! Start a blog, share your creative inspirations on Twitter, sign-up for industry publications, attend advertising events, and don’t ever give up on finding your dream job.
** This number was taken from a quick internet search. The exact numbers are always fluctuating a little with agencies opening, closing and merging. And for the provincial breakdown, there was no count for Nunavut, but Google does return a few results when searching for “Advertising Agencies Nunavut”.