#FridayForum: Advisory Board

Quarter 1, week 3, Advisory Board (a group of recruiters from shops all over the country including, but certainly not limited to, Leo Burnett, Goodby, Weiden + Kennedy, Hook, and the list goes on.) I’m sorry I couldn’t write fast enough to get all their names and agencies down. I was too busy listening to all the awesome stuff they had to say.

Today was an opportunity for us circus freaks to ask specific questions about getting hired. Questions like, “What is the biggest mistake you see in books?” or “What is the quickest way to lose your interest in a book?” and the brilliant, “What is the one thing we should be learning in school and how can we best show that we’ve learned it.” What all these questions really boiled down to is this: “Besides good work, what can we do to set ourselves apart, be remembered, and get hired?”

As I interpreted it, these are the top 5 responses/suggestions:

  1. Case study videos are the effing worst. If you absolutely must use them, lead the reader into the video with the work that preceded it. Let the recruiter decide for themselves if they want to watch it, no video ambushes. Keep them short (45 seconds or less) and entertaining.
  2. Play to your strengths. If you can’t code your own site, don’t. Your book is about showing the absolute best parts of you. If that means using Squarespace to create a clean and well-functioning website, do it. If you write really great spots for TV but can’t figure out a way to execute them well, don’t include a shitty video, just include the script. If the idea and concept are strong, don’t muddy them with poor execution. That also means that if you need to get an art director, designer, coder, to help you with a flawless execution of your idea, do it.
  3. Be authentically passionate. It’s incredibly important to put your personality in your book, but you have to make sure it is your true and current personality. If you started a blog and only posted to it twice three years ago, that is not a side project. If you painted in undergrad but you haven’t picked up a brush since, you are not a painter. On the other hand, if you are a Copywriter who also makes your own furniture, don’t leave that out because you don’t think it pertains to your field. If you are an Art Director who also writes science fiction poetry, include it. Show as much authentic creativity as possible. Learn who you are and be able to articulately, passionately, confidently and humbly express your voice.
  4. Do your research. The last thing you want to do is show up to an interview after sending out blanket emails to agencies all over the country and have absolutely zero idea why you want to be there. Getting a job is not about getting a job. It’s about finding the shop where you will thrive. A shop that’s culture and body of work speaks to your creative voice. Once you find where you want to be, and why you want to be there, it will be easier to stay tuned into their progress. Nerd out about them. Learn everything you possibly can about what they do and how they do it.
  5. Keep in touch. After speaking with a recruiter, maybe they don’t have any openings at the moment, but that doesn’t have to be the end of it. As long as you are bringing something new to the table (complimenting the agency on a recent award, new work in your book, new side project), it is okay to stay in touch with them. It is not okay to pester, hound, or suffocate them with weekly emails. Every 4-6 weeks though, a quick email to keep them updated and remind them you’re still out there is a great way to stay front of mind should a new position open up.

So that’s what I took from this weeks #fridayforum. Stay tuned and don’t worry, I promise the return of the #selfie next week.

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