How to make sure you don’t get a job in advertising.

I can remember just how difficult it was to get that elusive first job in advertising. It’s really tough. So we always like to help people who write in to Spring when we can, even if we don’t have a suitable opening. However, we’re getting so many resumes right now that it’s difficult to keep up with them all, and frankly, most don’t have a chance of being taken seriously. So, here’s your checklist of what to do, and what not to do if you want to land a job in advertising.

  1. Don’t put your entire career in our hands. We get countless resumes sent in by people who are basically saying, ‘Hey, I want a job in advertising, here’s my resume, whaddya think…?’. If you don’t know what you want to do, how do you expect me to figure it out?
  2. Do some research! Have an idea about what the departments are in an agency, what they do and which one you think you’ll be most suited for. Tell us why. Visit the agency’s website at the very least. Check out their blog, maybe even leave a comment or two. Follow them on Twitter, you get the idea. When you’re informed, you can make your introduction email stand out by being more specific and more interesting.
  3. Tell us right away what you’re looking for. If you want to work as an account handler, make that clear right away. If you make me wade through lots of information to find out, chances are I will lose interest fast.
  4. Obvious form letters and mass emails are instant death! If we get the sense that your email reads like ‘insert company name here’, we will switch off right away. Why should we bother with you, when you clearly haven’t bothered at all yourself?
  5. Wise up! An agency will only employ you if they think they’ll get value out of you. If your pitch is, ‘hey, I really like your work, I think you guys could teach me how to be really good’, then you’re really not doing the first job in advertising. Which is pitching the benefit to your customer (that’s us), not the benefit to the seller (that’s you).
  6. Try out the F7 button on your PC, or press Alt, Command and L on a Mac. It’s a spell check. Use it. I recently got an email telling me “I would defiantly like to work for you,”! It just creates the impression that you don’t really care.
  7. The answer to the question ‘To Whom It May Concern’ is nobody. The same goes for ‘Dear Recruiter’ etc. Find out the name of the person you should be talking to. Usually it is right there on the website. Like mine.
  8. At its heart, advertising is a creative business. Everyone needs to think creatively, not just the guys in the creative department. Show me a spark. We hired the person who sent in a job application in the form of a press release announcing her future hiring by Spring. We love that stuff in this business.

There’s a lot of competition for jobs in the exciting and glamorous world of advertising. Which is surprising because most of the time it’s neither exciting nor glamorous. But it is lots of fun, very satisfying, and you get to spend your time with interesting, intelligent and dynamic people.

If you send a resume into Spring and don’t get a response, it will likely be down to one of the issues we’ve highlighted here. Don’t be disheartened. Learn from this, and try harder next time. Which is kinda like the whole process of creating great advertising. Funny that.

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