Ad agencies are fun and vibrant places to work at. There's usually a buzz around the place whether it's for winning new business, meeting a crazy deadline or dealing with some client emergency. Best of all, ad agency staff live by the work hard - play hard ethic.
Competition for jobs in an ad agency is understandably fierce. So what can you do to give yourself an edge? Here's my five point method. First: select the agency where you'd like to land a job and make yourself familiar with the work it produces. The best place to start is the agency's website. Second: find out who is the top person in the department where you want to work.
It might be the Creative Director, Group Account Director, Financial Director and so on. Third: come up with a creative idea. No matter which department you want to work in, creativity is the heartbeat of an ad agency.
Your idea could be linked to one of the agency's accounts or it could be something that works by itself. And don't believe you're not creative - everyone has a creative streak in them! You just got to work on it. Fourth: send your idea as a mailing to the person you identified as the department head. Include your c.v. and a letter that explains why your heart is set on joining the agency.
Don't forget your phone number and email address. Fifth: if you haven't heard back within one week, follow up with a phone call. Whether you get straight to the person, or the secretary, or the answer machine, make sure you state your name and that you're the person who sent the mailing. And ask for an interview. Does this method always work? Of course not, but it gives you a much better chance than going through the usual channels. It shows you possess initiative and character, and agencies are always on the lookout for people like that.
I once worked in an agency where a mailing arrived for the Group Account Director. On the envelope it said: Check Enclosed. Inside was a check for $55,000 and a slip of paper that said: I heard your agency was hiring an Account Executive for $55,000. When do I start? Her details were on the reverse. She got the job (and her check returned).
As for me, I got my first job as an agency copywriter by sending a parody of a famous old ad entitled, They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano, but When I Started to Play! I turned it into, They Laughed When I Wanted to be a Copywriter, but When I Started To Write! Good luck with your job hunting. Copyright 2006 by Tony Brecher.
Tony Brecher has over 19 years experience as a copywriter and creative director. He now runs Adwriter and creates advertising, direct mail and web content for clients large and small. For more information on how he can help you create successful advertising visit http://www.adwriter.com.au