Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Non-profit and Branding

While sitting at Starbucks I noticed an individual adjusting signs and meticulously placing art around the cafe. Being the curious guy I am, I asked the gentlemen what his story was.

Turns out this guy, known as Mark, works with non-profits through larger corporations. Mark will find various non- profits, construct a strategy that will benefit a corporation by sponsoring that non profit, then will do the branding work that comes from this unique marriage. In a nutshell, he finds corporations with non profit set up, to fund various non profits. It’s very interesting that mark has found a way to create work through his love and desire of non profits.
Mark was very willing to sit down with me for a bit and give advice to this blog and that was so awesome! Even though his advice is a bit ‘designer specific‘ I know that anyone can gain something from his unique point of view.
This is a sample of some of Mark's work.

On creating a WOW factor while in the interview:

Mark told me that someone who has taken the time to prepare is a great way to generate a wow a factor. One can do this by researching the company and then reflecting on potential questions that may be asked in the interview. The interviewee should have a good idea on what to talk about during the interview process. Also, always try to be one step ahead. Listen to the conversation being had and try to grasp an understanding of where it is headed. Mark says enthusiastically “be ready to play ball!”.
Most importantly, show eagerness. No one likes to interview a boring, flat individual. Be excited to be there are let that excitement shine.

General Interview Advice:

Go on as many interviews as you can, even if they are not directly related to your field. The more interviews you perform, the better you will get at “the game” and the more you can predict the next steps in the process of finding a job. Even if the interview doesn’t go well, you will understand how to better communicate you skills and talents for the next time. As Mark says “you have to strike out before you can succeed”.
Mark also says, be weird and let your personality quarks show. Employers want to see that what you do for a living is an extension of yourself. On a designer specific note, employers expect you to be a bit off. A boring person = a boring designer.
To be more specific, these personality quarks should be related to your field. For example, Mark will straighten crooked picture frames because as a designer, that bothers him. This quark, in turn, works to his advantage because it expresses that design is a part of him.
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you knew as an entry? “It’s not a short trip, but a long journey. Do this because you love it!” Mark expressed to me. We all need to remember that finding a job, for most of us, is not an ‘instant thing’. It is indeed a process.

On the resume:

“The resume and portfolio need to work with one another.” Was another great piece of advice mark threw out. The resume itself should have a good blend of form and function. Also, think about who is receiving it and make the resume look, read and feel the way that person would want it to.
Doing little things to the resume to show off your personality is a great way to make it stand out among the pile. This could be as simple as a signature font, or a quote at the top of the page that expresses who you are. Be sure to keep the ‘traditional'; resume as a base and stem from that.

Free work? WTF?:

Free work was an interesting topic Mark brought up. Free work is the best way to show a client what you are capable of. Prior to an interview research the agency’s clients, and create some free work based upon this. Presenting this at the interview is a great way of showing that you truly thought about and love the company. Also, use free work as a concept; Show the client something they haven’t seen before.
Mark stressed the importance of knowing when to draw the line with free work. There is a fine line between showing your interest and being taken advantage of. Finding this line comes from common sense and practice.

On Networking:

“There is no other way. If you don’t like to network the industry won’t like you.” Stated a very passionate Mark. Don’t be afraid to talk to people… You never know what kind of connections you will make and how they may benefit you.

To close, Mark wanted to express the value of opportunity. Never turn one down, even if it isn’t exotically what you are looking for. Keep in mind that a way in is a way in.

Thanks Mark for your unique insights on the job market.

Random Media Woman From Chicago

So I was in Chicago at a thrift store when I ran into someone who works in media for an awesome company. Due to confidentiality agreements, I can’t say where she works but I promise you it is awesome! Here is what this anonymous, but totally awesome, woman had to say about being entry and finding a job:

Spend time on your resume! Don’t list useless skills, tailor your resume to the company in which you are applying, and keep it as straight forward as possible. This woman stressed that she sees a lot of 3 page resumes and that they go instantly in the trash. One page is the cut off.
Look for head hunters/recruiters. This is a great way to find jobs beyond Internet postings. This woman found her media job through a headhunter; If it worked for her it will work for you.

Know your strengths and weaknesses when going into an interview. Understand what you can bring to the company and know how to express that. Interviewers want to know that you understand how your specific skills will help you excel in the position and grow the company.
Thanks for the chat anonymous, but totally awesome woman


Hey everyone,

As I sat in my room, reflecting on my trip from Chicago, I realized that I had some killer networking advice I’d like to share, related to networking events at a bar or club.

My first evening in Chicago, I wanted something to do so I searched around for various networking events.

Networking piece #1: Actively search for networking events. You would be surprised, especially in this economy, how many job mingling events are being held, many at bars and clubs. is a great place to find events, along with the city’s local ad club, for more industry specific events.
I want to stress that it is important to be open and embrace any networking opportunity you may find, even if it isn’t exactly in your field. You never EVER know who may be there.

The networking event I attended was a very general “business professionals meet up”. I feel general networking events are better than specific ones due to the wide variety of people you have the pleasure of meeting.

Networking piece # 2: Get there on time. I‘m not saying this because people at these events are crazy about punctuality, but because people will be drinking at these events. By the end of the night many individuals will be pretty buzzed and may not remember you the next day. It’s important to get to the event early while everyone is nice and sober and you can make a stable, memorable connection/impression. It doesn’t matter how memorable you are, if an individual is drunk the chances of that person remembering you the next day are slim… unless you’re Cher.

Networking piece # 3: Get a drink and RELAX BEEEOTCH!: It’s very simple, but totally true. So many people I have met at these events are so uptight and nervous, and end up standing in the corner playing with their thumbs like they are at some sort of middle school dance. It’s important to remember that everyone in the room is in the same boat. Also, don’t be afraid to get a drink, especially if everyone else is drinking. Having a casual drink is also a great way to get those conversational juices flowing.

Networking piece 4: Talk to random people: Don’t wait for people to come up to you and talk, be assertive and walk up to others. Remember, that this is a networking event and being forward is not only OK, but expected. The more people you talk to, the more connections you can make.

If you are very uncomfortable with walking up to people and saying “what’s up”, uncomfortable around awkward silence, or just not the best conversationalist, start up a conversation you know you can carry. This can be anything from your favorite show, to politics. Asking someone what they do is also a great way to break the ice.

Networking piece 5: Ask for contact information: A lot of you may be saying “duh” right now, but you have no idea how many times I’ve heard someone sadly utter.” I should have got their contact!”. This is a networking event which means asking for an individuals contact is expected. Don’t be afraid to ask for cards or to pass out your own. Get as many cards you can, in my experience only ½ of the individuals you reach out to the next day will reach back

Networking piece 6: Don’t get drunk: That’s just trashy. Having a few casual drinks is OK, but you don’t want to be the person everyone negatively talks about around the water cooler the next day.

Networking piece 7: Follow up… a few times: As I said before, in my experience only ½ of the individuals you reach out to the next day will reach back. It is important to follow up a few times after the networking event. I’ve sometimes had to email people 4 or 5 times to get a response. A lack of response is usually nothing personal, because people are a lot busier than you imagine them to be.

Networking piece 8: Keep putting yourself out there: So your not the best conversationalist, and networking makes you uncomfortable. Practice makes perfect. The only way you will get better is by putting yourself out there.

This is a picture of some of the cards I received.


Love ya all,


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Amy from Mars Advertising

Hey Everyone!

One of my BFF's from Miami Ad School, Amy, has written up a little something for this blog.

Amy is currently an Account Planner at Mars Advertising in the Bentonville, Arkansas office. Previous to MARS, Amy worked as a Media Planner at Starcom MediaVest Group in Chicago.

Mars founded this particular location because it's the home town of Walmart. Mars does work directly with Walmart, but primarily with national brands who sell their products within the store.

As part of the Planning team, Amy is responsible for understanding everything there is to know about the shopper. More specifically, identifying what different Walmart shoppers need, want and believe.

I love that this site has been given the amazing opportunity to feature many words of advice from a variety of Mars Advertising associates, each at different offices. It gives us all a nice, well rounded perspective on the company.

Thanks Amy and Mars Advertising! I love you both a lot lot!


Entry Job Level Advice via Amy Bonasso AKA my BFF :)


Amy encourager's job seekers to be open to new opportunities, including opprtunities that have never been considered. Chances are, especially being entry, you may not fully understand what it is you want to do. Also, be willing to move around and chase potential openings.

Be Curious
Curiosity is totally over-used in agencies, but for good reason. There are so many subtle ways that you can demonstrate curiosity in an interview that makes you stand out from the competition, from something as simple as asking the right questions to something more elaborate and thoughtful like The Job Safari blog. Being curious is something that should last way beyond the interview. I work with another planner who recently created her own White Roads document that she publishes on Slideshare ( I think it's a really good example of a quick, easy way to highlight her own account planning style and spark curiosity for others in our agency.

Be Confident
The best advice someone gave me was that you need to think of the interview as potentially the start of a relationship versus just the start of a job. You need to be confident and be yourself because the people you're interviewing with aren't just hiring someone to do a job, they're hiring someone they want to work with everyday. You should of course be professional, but don't be afraid to let your personality shine through. Plan ahead so that you're less nervous, or at least can hide it, and as comfortable with yourself as possible. If you're in a new city, do a drive by of the building - you'll know how to get there and even have a better idea of what to wear if you stalk the current employees coming and going long enough. We're in marketing, so think of yourself as a brand. Would you buy you?

Be Considerate
Now that I've had the chance to interview a few people, I'm surprised at how being considerate isn't always a given. When you're in an interview, I think it's good to remember that the person interviewing you has typically given up something more important than advancing your career (only because they don't know you yet). Just acknowledging that they've taken the time to talk to you is always a good start. Even better is doing your own homework to be prepared to discuss their clients, ask questions about their specific roles, chat about industry news...all of this can be really easily found online and goes a long way. I know other people have said it already, but I just want to reiterate the importance of sending a handwritten thank you note to each interviewer. It's just one more chance to market yourself.

Monday, July 20, 2009


The Job Safari is on Twitter! Add me and check me out. :)

Holy Smokes Batman, the Job safari was featured!

Hey Everyone!

I was googling "thejobsafari" for fun and found out that one of the articles, specifically the one from Mars Advertising with Stanley Stevens, was featured on the sight!

I'm so happy this blog is getting publicity and it couldn't be done without the support of all of you!

The more people that read it, the more we can help!



The Safari and Chicago

Hey Everyone! Chicago was an excellent edition to my safari. I talked to so many awesome people and was given some great advice. I will be posting my Chicago adventures within the next few days. However, I have a few videos from my Chicago experience I'd love to share so check them out! It will be like you were there with me :).

This is a video I filmed after being lost in some random building on my way to a 'networking meet-up' event. No obstacles will stop me from finding the best people to talk to! :)

I filmed this to show you all how many people showed up to the Networking Meet-up. This was an event I found online via KEEP NETWORKING and it will pay off!

Me prior to my adventure at the Chicago Institute of Art. My feelings thus far and a mini-update.

Me and my rain issues... It takes more than water to stop me :).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodbye Detroit; Hello Chicago!

Take a look at my intro to Chicago Video. :) -Alex

Chicago and on!

Hello everyone!

I am so happy! I was able to talk to a great person at Team Detroit! As many of you may have realized, I really really wanted to get that agency on this site. YAY!

But, I've been so busy planning this Chicago trip, which is honestly still not fully planned, that I haven't had time to put it up. It will be up by Saturday, I promise! It's a GREAT interview so I hope you are all as excited as I am. :)

I've had a bit of trouble finding places to interview in Chicago so if any of you have any connections I could 'jump on' please e-mail them to me.

I won't be able to bring my computer to Chi town, so I will be making baby updates from random computers I find along the way. I plan to have the Chicago interviews up by Monday.

I'm a bit nervous about this trip for some reason, but I'm going to dive in and see what happens. Wish me luck!

P.S. ATTN CARL: I wanted the picture of this post to be our Chicago squirrel, but I left the file on my other computer.

Hoffman York Interview

Hey Everyone! As you may know I head to Chicago this week to continue the Job Safari. I was making my rounds and calling different Chicago agencies to schedule some interviews when I was granted the wonderful experience of talking to Cathy Brendel, HR associate at Hoffman York’s main office in Milwaukee, WI. I had such a nice chat with Ms. Brendel and she offered some excellent insight and advice.


Here is the official site for HY if you would like to check it out. This agency is extremely client-focused and works hard to provide a fully integrated experience. HY is very focused on teamwork and providing a focused message.

Some General Advice

Ms. Brendel stressed how important it is to be prepared and research an agency prior to the interview. Take the time to prepare yourself for an interview so that you will appear as relaxed and calm as possible. Bring a notebook and ask intelligent, agency-related questions. Asking good questions is a surefire way to create that “wow” factor. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be able to relay your specific skills to the position. 'Always send a thank-you note' was another great piece of advice from Ms. Brendel. She stressed how surprising it is how many people don’t do this. Also, do not forget to follow up. A simple phone call to the agency to tell them how interested you are in the position is a great way to stand out.

BE CAREFUL OF SPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS! Seeing these can instantly turn an employer or recruiter off. I also asked Ms. Brendel what would WOW her. She said that being prepared is an excellent way to do that.

Again, research your agency, ask the right questions, and know how your skills apply specifically to the position.

On the job market in Milwaukee:

Ms. Brendel said that Milwaukee is a wonderful, active city full of vibrant culture. But the economy has affected the city and the job market there is difficult.

On the resume:

Ms. Brendel stressed the importance of a good image. Again, be careful of grammatical and spelling errors. I also asked if a plain word resume or a graphics-oriented resume is best. She said that it depends on the position. While it is important to stand out, a plain, simple resume would be best for a client services position, and a graphics-oriented resume would be best for a creative position. Also, don’t be afraid to make yourself stand out. It’s always a good idea to send some promotional materials to the agency for the purpose of making yourself look unique and creative.

Thanks Ms. Brendel! Talking to you was a great experience!

Mars Advertising Interview EXTRAS!

Hey Everyone!

Stanley was cool enough to film a little video for this blog. Please check it out!

Stanley also offered his resume for public view. Take a look :)

Thanks again Stanley! Enjoy everyone!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mars Advertising Interview

Hey Everyone

I had an amazing opportunity to ‘talk shop’ with Stanley Stevens, an account executive at Mars Advertising. He manages many projects, but primarily works on the Campbell’s soup account. This was an awesomely amazing experience! Stanley was a down-to-earth, insightful guy with a lot of ‘real world’ information.

Some info on the Agency

Mars Advertising is a collaborative, team-based agency that focuses on “shopper marketing." Shopper marketing is an approach that works with brands, retails and shoppers with the end goal of understanding how the customer behaves in different forms and channels. Mars is focused on big picture thinking and works to truly understand a consumer's motivation. I was extremely surprised on how forward-thinking and insight-generated the shopper marketing approach is! I’ve enclosed a link that will offer more information on the Mars Advertising Company: Take a look, it's pretty neat!

I’ve taken a bunch of pictures of the office that can be accessed at this flikr link. ( ) Mr. Stevens was also awesome enough to provide pictures that he has taken. They can be accessed here. ( )865523wedyhjbhli’upo[]\

On Jobs…

The first thing I asked Stanley was how he specifically broke into the advertising field. Mr. Stevens found his position through a friend and has been a 'big fan' of the industry ever since. This is an excellent example of how opportunity can happen anywhere and when you least expect it. So those of you ‘killing yourself’, becoming depressed and crying over the lack of job-finding success, take that into consideration.

I also wanted to know how he felt Detroit’s job market differed from other cities. Stanley told me that there weren't as many opportunities here and most are related to the automobile industry. However, Detroit, much like Pittsburgh with the end of the steel industry, is working to find other outlets to build the city. The green movement is one that is catching on within the city and will work to offer new opportunities.

When I asked how he felt about the down economy he was very positive. It will filter out all of the 'bad' companies, leaving the most effective and best standing. An interesting fact: some of the most successful companies were built during recessions.

On finding a job, Stanly stressed the importance of selling yourself more than you feel you need to. It is also important to sell yourself differently to each person. Don’t forget to do your research and alter your resume accordingly. Find out what you have in common with the employer and stick it on your resume. On a more industry specific note, self promotional materials will help you stand out.

Be bold and take risks is another excellent piece of advice Stanley offered. Risks may not always work out, but when they do, it will be worth it.

Don’t be afraid to call the agency up and have a chat. This shows that you really want the specific position, and will do what it takes to get it.

Little things can make or break you... things like spelling and grammatical errors on resumes, thank-you notes and showing up on time. It's often the little mistakes that can detract from a great piece of work.

On the Resume

Put time into it! A resume is not something you can just slap together; Stanley and I both put over 40 hours into writing ours. A resume should only be one page and it is only supposed to show that you are capable for a position. Keep it fairly basic, straightforward and to the point; it’s the interview where you can really set yourself apart.

It may be a good idea to include a section that conveys your passions to the employer. This could be anything from your love of traveling to your life as an eagle scout. This will help you make personal connections with the employer.

On Yourself

Be optimistic! Your chances my be low but they will not improve by being negative. Be positive, persistent and never give up! “Have a healthy disregard for the impossible” is one of Stanley’s favorite quotes.

Don’t turn down any opportunities and remember that there are opportunities in any situation. As an entry level, you need to go above and beyond to impress whoever gave you the initial chance.

Finally, always keep you BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) in sight.

Thanks Stanley for your time and help! You are awesome!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Motor City Connect

Hello Everyone, Blog Master/hunter here,

Recently breaking into the job market myself, I quickly learned that networking/putting yourself out there is one of the most important things one can do to actively and effectively find a job. Working on this project has only enforced my belief on the importance of making connections.

Chris from Curve sent me this awesome Detroit networking site called Motor City Connect. Check it out and use it if you need it!

Love and luck,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Big Thanks!

Hey Everyone!

Been getting a lot of support from all of you! Thanks so much. I want to help as many people as I can with this, but can't do it without the support of all of you.

I realize how cheesy that sounds, but it is very true! :)


Chris from Curve Detroit

Hey Everyone!

I contacted Curve Detroit (, a real friendly, interesting agency. An awesome person named Chris was able to offer some so cool "big picture" advice. Here it is...


1. Be Creative - I know this sounds cliche, but every agency has the pick of the litter. So the next time you decide to send your resume along to be considered with the pack, take a second and study the target audience you are going for and what might make a lasting impression on them. Whether it is a funny and creative cover letter, or a hot dog stand selling your resume with mustard, be different.

2. Have Confidence. How you handle yourself is how you are going to handle client work. Step up, be sturdy and bat.

3. Be Polite. This is an obvious answer but still effective, sometimes things don't work out. The new guy they were going to hire moved to Alaska. Who else was nice that I interviewed?? Don't burn any bridges, even if you think you may not have a shot, thank the interviewer, send a thank you card after ... and smile. Karma finds a way.

"How do you think finding an advertising job in Detroit differs from other markets?"

I feel that the market is seeing the end of an era. However, with this end comes a new start. I am seeing jobs in 3D design, video production, gaming, and other lesser known "marketing" areas. This is a time of transition, with change comes a bit of a learning curve. Detroit is in a wonderful position to see these changes, if we adapt. I am hopeful we can.


Thanks a bunch Chris, you rock my face off :).


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oh Detroit!

It's my first day in Detroit... I'm emailing, calling, Facebooking and talking like crazy to get into agencies and gain some insight!

One agency I really want to talk to is Team Detroit. Team Detroit is 5 Major agencies,(JWT, Y&R, Wunderman, Ogilvy, Mindshare)under one roof. It's a really neat, new-ageie approach to problem solving.

It's been almost effective so far, but we will see what happens.

Thank Amy for the connection in Southfield, MI... I massly appreciate it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Video Goodbye San Fran

Goodbye San Fran... For now

So, I am spending my last night in San Fran watching True Blood in my sub-leased apartment. I have really cold feet about leaving this magical/amazing city for a month but remain positive that it will be worth it.

Wish me luck!