Friday, February 27, 2009

When no one's hiring

Pretty obvious that 2009 won't be a smashing economic year. Agencies are cutting staff by the boat load. Not a good scenario for the folks hoping to land their first job. You should know that as a recruiter, I still look at books and talk to candidates despite not having any open jobs. Recruiting doesn't stop in a recession.

Take advantage of this fact. Pursue agencies with the same fervor you would if there were 1,000 jobs to be had. Call up an agency recruiter and ask them for an informational interview. Get your face and work in front of the right people. Act like they do have an open job for you. Who knows, they might have someone quit tomorrow.

When I am not actively hiring, I work on a list I call "3-Deep". For every creative in our department, I identify the top 3 people I'd hire in their place. So the instant we have an opening, I have 3 people to bring in to interview. I do this for all levels of talent in all disciplines. First, it forces me to actively recruit all year long. Second, I can respond to an opening that much faster.

Don't be discouraged by this tight job market. I'm sure more recruiters besides me are making their own 3-deep lists; get yourself on them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quarter of a Quarter

I'm cool with a student being absent once. Kinda cool if they're absent twice. Kinda not really cool anymore when it happens a third time.

In one quarter, we're talking 11 classes, missing 3 weeks of class just isn't right. Honestly, I take it personally when a student doesn't show up. Not that I'm imparting the secrets of the Holy Grail upon them, but I do believe in any class the lecture is important. Why else take it? The core of what's being taught happens during the lecture; the teacher illustrates course principles through example, experience, presentation. Anyone can read a textbook and never show up for class. Not sure in today's competitive market, you'd want to be that anyone.

I certainly cannot question the validity of the reasons: traffic, sickness (theirs, others), work, funeral, neck pain, extended vacation. That's just life happening. Though I am wondering how missing a quarter of a quarter multiplied by however many times it happens affects someones education.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

When I Grow Up

Someday I am going to start an ad school. Not one with 2- or 3-year programs, nor one that aims to compete with the likes of Brand Center, but one that offers select, relevant courses that can be taken individually.

After reading about this school, The Mission, I was inspired. Success in a school model like this comes a few ways:
1) in it's ability to expand and retract with enrollment. The school won't offer a course if it isn't filled to capacity, as well, they don't have the overhead of a bricks and mortar building. Classes are held at the agency of each instructor.
2) in the competitiveness of their pricing. I am hearing stories of many, many ad school students dropping out of their 3-year programs due to financial issues. A problem that's not going away anytime soon.

As an alternate to committing to an $85K degree, The Mission, and schools modeled like it, is a great option. You could take a concepting class or two. You could already be working in the industry (the classes are all offered at night). And you could start or enhance your education without a major time and money outlay.

Sounds great to me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today's Chuckle

A little laugh in response to a blog entry written by an Italian web/graphic designer. The author lists the 20 most creative resumes he's seen recently. A collection of stand-out-ish resumes clearly intended to set a candidate apart and communicate uniqueness. Neat stuff.

And then a response by someone (in what industry I wonder):
"These look awesome, but I think they’re rather impractical. I think most employers want one page if possible. And I also think the download-able CV should be black & white. You don’t want to make someone use up their color ink just for your resume. Seems wasteful. With those restraints in mind, I think it presents a better challenge, to make your resume be artful and stand out in a more conservative way."

If I read her comment with no context, then yeah, I might not wholeheartedly disagree. But after checking out these resumes and seeing how cool they are, it just doesn't jive. A candidate must stand out! Really, is there anyone in the entire world who cares if .0001¢ of color toner is required to print it out? Now if I was a technical recruiter or in HR at a bank, one of these resumes might (slight on the might) raise an eyebrow. I'm sure dimension and color don't come across their desks every day.

But, I'm not. I work in a creative industry within which they are trying to get hired. I understand how quickly you have to get a recruiter's attention. As well, I can appreciate multiple pages, dimension and the use of lots of color. Your differentiation is imperative. I'm sure if you're hired, that .0001¢ will be paid back in spades.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Please Don't

Please don't name the pdf of your creative portfolio "my work." Or for that matter: portfolio, resume, e-book, my portfolio, me, mine or any un-named configuration of those words.

Today I tried to locate a junior book I was sent quite some time ago. I have a folder on my computer that is loaded with pdfs of books that I need to look at, have looked at, or just generally have stuck there. While searching, I noticed a huge chunk of them are labeled in these crazy generic ways. And yet, to whom does "portfolio" belong to?

I wish I had all the time in the day to open each one of these files, but since it's taken me months to even venture into this folder, you can guess that's time I don't have.

Just your name. That's it. All I need.