From the outside looking in, the advertising industry can seem like a glamorous but cutthroat, playful yet unforgiving world with more nos and less yeses. But as all fresh-faced creatives know, the prospect of getting paid to come up with ideas every day far outweighs the idea of becoming a Mad Man cliche.
So off we go, marching through grungy backstreets with our digital books in hand, expecting an award-winning agency door to fly open at any moment with the dream job waiting for us.
That’s one way it could happen. But there is another way to get your foot in the door.
It took me six months of trudging through the streets of Manchester to get my first gig at one of the city’s best-known agencies. Not because I wasn’t determined enough, but because I was focusing all my energy and attention on the wrong things.
I wrote countless emails and letters asking about positions; I even cold-called a CD. He took the time to speak to me, but only because he thought I was a university lecturer – not sure why. But even then, I got the answer I always did: no.
It wasn’t until I changed my question that I got the answer I wanted. Think about it. One thing most CDs like doing is sharing their views. And most are very good at it. In fact, it’s sort of a big reason they’re in the job they’re in. From judging the merits of an ad to the best recipe for chilli, they’ll have an opinion on it and – given the chance – will happily share it.
So with this in mind, I resisted the temptation to talk about what I wanted (ie. a job) and started asking for their opinion of my work and areas I could work on. Essentially, I asked for a book crit.
Soon after, I found myself helping out on a pitch for Subaru. All because I asked the question that CDs like to hear: ‘what do you think?’
Having your work critiqued by other people is something you will do virtually every day as a creative, so why not do it to get the job in the first place. There’s no better way to get used to ‘raw’ feedback, and it’ll shape your folio in the process. It just makes sense.
So if you’re looking for your big break, instead of trying to talk your way into a job, ask your way into it. If you want to try it out, we’re happy to look at your book and share our take on it. Just get in touch.
“Having your work critiqued by other people is something you will do virtually every day as a creative, so why not do it to get the job in the first place.”