Awhile back I met a partner at Tangerine, a creative/advertising recruiting firm, at Miami Ad School’s portfolio review. The other day I was at the supermarket and saw a tangerine, which reminded me of my contact, Kimberly Aguilera. I then reflected on how knowledgeable she is about the advertising world and thought she would be an excellent addition to this job forum. The following is our interview, and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had doing it.
Small vs. Big:
A question that has been burning inside me is related to large agencies vs. smaller agencies. If you really want to work in a “big agency” setting, is it better to hold out for that specific opportunity or take a gig at a smaller place and gain a bit of experience? Kimberly explained that the way you handle this situation is relative to your lifestyle. If you really desire a ‘big agency’ job, you must consider how long you can really afford to hold out.
Kimberly also disclosed that "it isn’t that black and white. It is possible to work at a large agency in a junior capacity and not gain relevant experience, but the same could happen at a smaller agency. It all depends on how the agency runs and what the agency specifically does. That’s why it is important to do your research and find out specifically what brands you could potentially work on as an entry level associate."
Don’t be afraid to ask which projects you may be working on during the interview. If you are being interviewed for a position, the agency will have a good idea what you would be doing if hired.
On an account planning/strategy specific note, it is really difficult to break into this concentration as a junior account executive. One way in is through taking an account job, and then asking if you could take on some extra planning-focused projects after-hours. This shows your initiative and will not go unrewarded. If your desire is to work in smaller teams, don’t completely close yourself off to larger agencies; do your research first! Again, agency culture is not so black and white. There are large agencies, like Ogilvy and JWT, which embrace smaller teams and vice versa. In general, don’t pass judgments without doing your research first.
On your network:
Building your network is dependant on how you choose to “take advantage or not take advantage of opportunities.” If you’re not willing to put in the work that goes behind developing and growing your network, of course you will come up empty handed. Be your own brand and take advantage of what you can to put yourself out there. You can join LinkedIn groups, read and comment on blogs, go to local events… The more exposure you get, the more likely you are to find a helpful connection.
In general, if you really want into the advertising world you will find a way. Just keep trying; if what you’re doing isn’t working, reevaluate and try again. Our economy puts us all in a “sink or swim” situation. Don’t give up and swim hard:
Note from your blog master: I know how hard it is to stay motivated and focused. Believe me when I say that I am guilty of crying in my room due to jobless situations. It is important for all of us to stay positive and motivated. PLEASE SWIM HARD! I know you all can do it!
A good tip: Talk to interesting people! It’s a great way to get yourself out there.
This economy can be good?
Kimberly expressed that as a result of this economy, many agencies are being restructured. This provides the opportunity for new methods and new ways of thinking to come into play. Take the time to read up on the ad agencies of your choice and learn from their restructuring; it will help keep you in the loop and help your advertising future.
SOME OTHER WONDERFUL NEWS: From this restructuring, many new jobs are being formed and put out there. However, entry level jobs are the last to be formed and filled. In the words of Kimberly: “It starts at the top and trickles down.”
This gives us, as entry level job seekers, the opportunity to learn and surround ourselves with new aspects of the world. Kimberly recommends that we read, connect and research as much as we can. This way when entry level positions are created, we are the first to be thought of and are well prepared.
The following is a “good book” list sent to me from Kimberly that we can all take advantage of to better prepare ourselves.
-The New Influencers
-Marketing to the Social Web
-The Big Switch: Rewiring the world, from Edison to Google
-Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World
Be prepared for the digital world:
Make an effort to embrace the digital and social media world. So many agency jobs are being restructured to include all the fun of the digital world. PREPARE YOURSELF by reading, researching, and attending lectures; form an opinion and a footprint on the digital world.
To close, the economy is starting to bounce back. Stay positive, keep trying and don’t give up… Show the world you mean business!