Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top 10 list!

It’s no secret that I’m not really a ‘Holiday’s guy’. I love the buzz around this time a year, but the 2 days themselves, Thanksgiving and Christmas, tend to be a bit messy.

But, I did want to take the chance to make a little Holiday post. I so often write about the insights of others, and wanted to take the chance to share some things I have personally learned through this crazy Job Safari Journey of fun….

10 may seem like a rather ‘generic’ number, but it was actually thought out. I wanted to honor both Chanukah and Christmas with this post… There are 8 days in Chanukah and 12 days in Christmas… the average of those two numbers is 10.

So here it is, the top 10 things I have learned via the job safari. Please note that this list doesn’t order itself by importance; I feel that all of the following tid-bits are equally significant.

10. Money can’t buy creativity:

It’s no secret that I am far from rich. When I decided to take on this journey, I didn’t have a ‘butt load’ of money or even a decent amount of money. Now, more than ever, it is important to understand how to be creative with your money. Having an experience like this has taught me that principal well and will serve me for a lifetime

9. Don’t be afraid to reach out:

You never know who will reach back and the result will always surprise you. The more you are willing to put out, the more you will get back.

8. Never devaluate anybody:

This sort of goes along with # 9, but still deserves a number of its own. You never know who can help you or what people are capable of. In fact, I have learned the most and gained the most opportunity through super-random people I have met along the way. Always keep an open mind and be willing to chat it up.

7. Go ahead and take a little risk:

I’ll admit; uprooting my semi-comfortable life to take on this journey was a bit scary… There was even a point where I thought of running back to my apartment while in the subway on route to the airport. Life is not something that you can really calculate and weighing your options can only take you so far. Sometimes you need to take that leap of faith and see what comes out of it. I’m glad I did… this experience has proven invaluable… Go ahead, make some invaluable experiences of your own…

6. Follow-up:

They tell you to do this in college, but for me personally it never really stuck until taking on this adventure. People, especially in the ad world, are busy. If they didn’t want you to follow-up, they wouldn’t have responded to you in the first place. If you are fearful you may miss out on opportunity

5. It’s OK to get discouraged… just don’t let that take you out of the game:

I read so many paralleling job advice sites that state ‘don’t get discouraged.’ It gets to a point where the constant slam of this comment makes you feel dirty when you become discouraged. It’s both natural and OK to become discouraged. It’s hard to keep pushing forward and to keep your chin up… Sometimes you want to freak out and cry, and not to sound like a hippie guidance counselor, but it’s totally OK to do that. Let it out, take a step back, reevaluate and jump back in. It’s OK to get emotional; but never let it take you out of the game.

4. Don’t obsess over a name:

As young, aspiring ad. Job seekers it’s so easy to get obsessed with a name. You can feel like if you don’t get a job with ‘insert dream agency here’ you will never be successful. As entry-individuals we need to be obsessed with growing, learning and shaking the ad world. Sometimes big agencies help us do this, sometimes they don’t. Don’t base your learning curve on a name, base it on desired experiences.

3. Don’t’, don’t, again DON’T compare yourself to others!

This only makes you feel depressed and worthless. Everyone has a unique path and a unique situation. Just because someone else got a cool job or opportunity before you, doesn’t mean they are better than you. Remember that a lot of finding opportunity is based on being in the right place at the right time. If you constantly size yourself up to others, you will always come out short. Be obsessed with making your own mark

2. Stay open to opportunities:

That dream job that you created in your head probably doesn’t exist. It’s so important to say open to flexibility and change. You never know where an opportunity will take you

1. Don’t fucking give up!

This may be cliché, but it is so true. No one becomes successful by giving up on their dream. If you really want a job in the ad world, you will get it; you just have to keep trying.

I didn’t want this one to be apart of the ‘official’ list, but remember that nothing relieves stress like a good box of wine.

I want to end this post by saying thank you to all of my friends, family, readers and interviewees. Without your support this project would only exist as a thought in a random coffee shop. I also want to thank all of my new found friends along the way, both professional and personal… Making all of the great connections I did was the best part of this project.

Please feel free to post some things you feel you have learned this year in the comment section!

Stay well and let’s kick some job seeking ass in ’10!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

you're a sports guy, eh? Use that when job searching

So I talked to a cool guy named Scoot Overholt, who works as a strategist at a Philly agency...

Why the ad world?

Something that always interests me is why an individual chooses the ‘Ad world’ route. As we all know, it’s a very diverse industry that can satisfy many needs. Scott told me that he was always a ‘sports’ guy who loved to compete. Scott works in an agency that pays close attention to numbers and is always keeping score; this particular agency environment feeds that sports love.

Your unique interests are a very important thing to consider when job hunting. I feel like so many of us are obsessed with the ‘golden beacon’ that is a job and don’t take the time to consider a good fit. Think about what you want to do and research accordingly… Being miserable at a job you worked so hard to get is worse than being jobless and miserable.

How do we know if a company is the right fit?

-Do your research! Online, books, articles (etc)
-reach out to current and former employees. Most people will be willing to help you if you make the initial effort.

On connections:

Scott stressed that knowing someone is key. Make as many connections as you can.

- go to events you can find tons of events online. Look up your local AD chapter and meetup.com
- reach out on LinkedIN
- Contact alums of your school

Be active on social networks. Social networking is a lot like physically networking. IF you go to a party and are inactive (sit in the corner, looking at your shoes), you won’t make any connections.

Your connections can push your resume to the front of the pile and place your foot in the crack of the door. It is then up to you from there.

On your blossoming career:

“Don’t plan it, let it develop.” Scott made a good point in that you shouldn’t try to live up to a fantasy job, because fantasies don’t exist. If you are constantly comparing yourself to this pre-conceived idea of what you should be doing, you are going to be miserable and hating life… Who wants to do that? Focus on growing, learning and getting better. The ad journey is different for everyone and there is no ‘correct way’ to go about it.

A few random tips

1. Freelance and intern: this is a great way to show employers how much you have learned

2. Most of finding a job is being in the right place at the right time. Remember, the more places you put yourself in, the better chance you have of being there at the right time.

3. Make yourself standout among others. Understand what others are doing and do something different. (how else can we explain the popularity of lady gaga?)

4. Job searching is an organic process… stay open to different possibilities.