How To Get Noticed By Advertising Agencies

Image Credit: VinothChandar via Flickr

Some aspiring creatives think they can land a job at an advertising agency by simply applying online. They are DEAD WRONG. Unless you have an ungodly amount of agency experience under your belt, then you’ll have to get a little more creative. Before you run for the hills, please take a deep breath and reflect on everything you love about the advertising industry. Then jot it down on a piece of paper, and tape it to the mirror in the bathroom. Working in advertising can be stressful. So naturally, finding a job in advertising isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Here are three ways to get noticed by advertising agencies.

1. Blog about the advertising industry
I was once asked in an interview at an ad agency whether or not I had a blog. My answer was something like this: “No, but I plan on starting one eventually.” Even though I did get the job, it would’ve been so much more impressive if I could’ve said. Yes in fact, I do maintain a blog and here’s the link!

Sometimes the most difficult thing about blogging is deciding on a topic to write about. If this step is slowing you down, then consider your area of interest in advertising. If it’s graphic design, then blog about typography, influential designers or design firms you admire. Consider your ideal audience and then brainstorm with them in mind. You never know when a creative director might stumble upon a blog post of yours. So make your content worth reading.

2. Tweet intelligently and often
If advertising is your true passion, then it’s time to set up a Twitter account. Please don’t moan and groan, making excuses like Twitter is a waste of time. It’s not a waste of time when it has a functional purpose- to network and help you get a job in advertising. Social media can help you in your job search if you use it wisely.

After following industry leaders (recruiters, creative directors, strategists, planners, designers etc…) it’s time to briefly introduce yourself. So go ahead tweet at that copywriter you admire. Tell them you’re looking to break into the industry. Ask them if they have any advice. Most professionals are fairly congenial so long as you’re polite and you respect their privacy. Awhile ago I tweeted a question at David Perez, a creative recruiter at Leo Burnett and here’s how he responded through Vimeo.

#askdavid 6: More Than an Application from Leo Burnett Worldwide on Vimeo.

3. Never stop reading about the industry
David Ogilvy once said “I asked an indifferent copywriter what books he had read about advertising. He told me he had not read any; he preferred to rely on his own intuition. ‘Suppose,’ I asked, ‘your gall-bladder had to be removed this evening. Will you choose a surgeon who has read some books on anatomy and knows where to find your gall-bladder, or a surgeon who relies on his intuition?”

Moral of the story is do your homework on the advertising industry. Read Ad Age and Ad Week on a daily basis. Check out a few books from the library on advertising like David Ogilvy on Advertising and Hey Whipple Squeeze This. Then once you get an interview at a major agency, you won’t be dumbfounded when they ask you “what makes a good ad?”



  1. - April 13, 2012

    Superb website…

    [...]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[...]……

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