Thursday, December 23, 2010
1. Don't take credit for someone else's creative work.
2. Beware what you say in an exit interview.
3. You as a person is just as important as you as a creative.
4. Link your portfolio to your LinkedIn profile. Please.
5. Know when to move on.
6. You will run into that A-hole again. Be nice.
7. There just might be more to life than a job in advertising. Just might.
Enjoy my year in review and have a wonderful holiday.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Remember when this was our primary means of communication? We actually picked up the phone and called people when we needed to say something. We'd chat and laugh and share stories. We'd spend a few minutes getting to know one another, do a little business, then make up a good excuse to hang up. All was good back then.
Today we all seem to be overly inundated with texts, IMs, emails, LinkedIn messages, and Facebook posts. Electronica killed the Phone-ica star. It is just faster and easier to type and text than it is to make a phone call. Yet easier and faster shouldn't justify the end of personal human connections.
In the last week, two people cold called me out of the blue. And I have to say, it was so nice.
One, a local designer I didn't know and two, a junior art director from Humber College. Both said they were in the middle of typing me a note when they thought "why not call?"
It makes you forget how nice a simple human connection is until you get people saying they chose calling over writing. It also makes you feel a bit special that they chose to call you over write you. Next time you have the choice (and the time), pick up the phone. Establishing a new business relationship hearing someone's voice makes a difference. You can text and type all you want from there on out.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Am I too trusting? Are there recruiters out there who keep an ounce of doubt wondering whether every piece inside is actually truly that persons? I never, ever would have thought so.
There is a crazy story circling the internet today about a not-at-all-junior creative who has be outed for putting creative work he did not do on his portfolio site. Un-capital B-believeable.
Lots of thoughts are swirling through my mind:
why in the heck would someone do this?
have I been looking at bogus work from other people?
how will I ever know what is truly legit or not?
how many other people do this?
why in the heck would someone do this?
Guys, this is never, never, never ok.
First, let's just say you get hired off a bogus portfolio. Day one on the job you'll have to prove your creative chops and when you come up short, you'll be found out anyway.
Second, let's say someone finds out (a la not-so-junior-creative referenced above). And not just someone, a large portion of the advertising community finds out. Well, you can kiss your reputation and hire-ability goodbye. And I will tell you, that is never going to be worth it.
Some advice: Be very clear on attributing who else worked on the pieces in your book. Be very clear about your role on the work. Be clear about what is your original idea and what is not. Be clear about whether you worked fulltime versus freelanced. Be clear on your title and role. Be clear about your salary (that's a whole other blog post by the way).
Be clear. Be clear. Be clear. And, god forbid, do not steal another person's creative work.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
What a great place to see student work from around the world. Make sure to send yours in for consideration. I know I will be coming back frequently to discover new talent and schools I don't know about yet (Humber College for example).
I wonder, do other recruiters know about this site? Shhhhhhhh.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
friendly reminder email recruiters
Friday, October 29, 2010
It looks like we've recently met. You came to the AONC site, took a look around, and decided to give me your trust. The trust commitment came in the form of your email address, and now I have the responsibility to fulfill my obligation:
To tell you how to change the world. . .
. . . If you've always thought there must be more to life, if you want to do something different, if you're interested in finding your own way or you've already charted the course, you're who I'm writing for.
I'm interested in questioning assumptions and expectations about how we live our lives, and I write for remarkable people all over the world. To be remarkable means:
* You're interested in life as a series of adventures, not just something we do to fill the time
* You complete your education (high school, college, university, graduate school, whatever) because you want to, not because you feel like you should
* You do work you enjoy that also makes a positive difference in other people's lives
* Helping others is not something you do as an afterthought. It is a central part of who you are, just as doing what you want is. If you want to change the world, you'll need to start with a major decision.
The decision is deceptively simple: begin making your own choices, and stand out from many of the people around you. It's simple because that's really all there is to it -- think for yourself instead of following the crowd, then begin to take actions to align what you do with what you believe.
It's deceptive, however, because whenever you begin to do this, you'll encounter more than your share of opposition from people who want you to do things their way. Some of them will say your ideas or goals are unrealistic. I say, "life is short." Finding a way to do what we want while also helping others is the most important work we can do.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I love his answer to this question - From a career perspective, what’s the importance of making intangible cultural contributions to an agency?
"Pretty interesting question. To get ahead in this business, you need to contribute to the agency by doing great work. But you can also contribute by being a helpful and involved company person. That means caring about more than just the ads you’re workin’ on, but caring about the company itself. You can contribute by raising your hand to help with new business. Or by picking up the empty pop bottle by the front door. Or helping with the agency web site or agency blog. All things being equal creatively, management at your agency is gonna notice someone who’s involved over a cube dweller."
Monday, October 18, 2010
This just may be the coolest thing I have seen in a while. As if listening to Sir Ken Robinson wasn't enough as he speaks on education and creativity and our role in the futures of our children, having him do that while animated is even better!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The 4A’s and VCU Brandcenter proudly invite you to the New York Advertising Week premiere of “Pursuit of Passion: Diversity in Advertising”. With an aim to inform and inspire our creative youth about careers in advertising, “Pursuit of Passion: Diversity in Advertising” reminds the Mad Men and Women why they love this advertising world.
Join us in celebrating the industry that thrives upon diverse ideas and perspectives through the faces and stories of TBWA\Chiat\Day, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam Brands, McCann Erickson, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Omnicom, Team One, Anomaly, FuturLogic, Latin Works, Translation LLC, Mother, The One Club, MDC Partners, and PepsiCo.
Thursday, September 30th
Paley Center for Media
25 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Last night I clicked an online banner. I know, we see them and avoid them with a vengeance. Yet it caught my eye, maybe because it was black.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I saw this arrangement on a portfolio site the other day. It caught my eye. His twitter status updates (99% work-related, mind you). And below a cool graphic timeline of his resume.
Friday, August 27, 2010
My office is moving in a month. You all know how moves go with a 2-bedroom apartment, imagine a 10,000 square foot business. Messy mess all around.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"How should one dress for a job interview in the advertising industry?"
"How should one prepare for an interview in the advertising industry?"
"What does a marketing or advertising graduate need to know?"
"How important is a candidate's work experience and education?"
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I find it fascinating to see how ideas are created. Did you ever see the making of the Sony Bravia Play Doh spot? THAT, my friends, is too cool.
This video by one of my new found juniors, Santiago Cosme (of pilgrimagetocrispin fame), is equally as cool. He shows the creation of one of his ads. I'm loving it because I never get to see how someone comes up with something, I only see it when it is done. It's a great peek into creativity.
Have a look.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I want to be 20 again. I mean really, wasn't there so much more freedom at that age? Or so I thought at the time. I want to be 20 again so that I can Sharpie my intentions on a cardboard sign and hitch my way through a life-changing road trip.
For us, Crispin Porter is the Mecca of creativity, and as men of faith we have decided to set up on a pilgrimage to prove our devotion.
As exemplary students, we are skint, we don’t own a car and we have very little underwear, but we have a dream and hope that just like every pilgrim, we will find big-hearted people to help us. Any food: a burger, a banana, even dog food; any transport: car, rickshaw or a donkey; any place to sleep, with or without a roof, will be the kind of help we need to make those 3200 kms seem short.
So please, follow us and check where we are at any moment, because only with your help, will we reach the end of this road called dream.
Thanks. See you on the road.
Santi and Victor.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
As a recruiter, I've found it's a wonderful tool to use to dig around and find all sorts of leads. It's six degrees of separation at its finest. I know that it's grown at an incredible rate over the last few years, meaning lots of folks have come to value it as much as I have.
My first impression years ago was that it'd be a business-y site. A place where engineers and developers and "business" people would connect. By that I mean, non-creatives. So happy now that our industry has embraced it as well. I can search art directors or writers, narrow by location and find a slew of potential candidates. The great thing from there is I can find others who are connections of these candidates, and go deeper and deeper into their networks.
Not sure about other recruiters, as for me, I am on LinkedIn everyday. I look at the news feed, I check open jobs (see if any competitors around me are hiring), I see who it suggests I might want to connect with. And, I search for candidates. It's not always for active, open jobs but I do like to keep ahead of the curve and get a few names for future reference.
I have noticed one thing that surprises me. I see a huge percentage of creatives that don't have links to their portfolio on their profile. My advice: you should, you should, you absolutely should. I've also seen a chunk of creatives who have a link on their profile that says "my company" and when you click it is their employer's website. Do you really need to be promoting them instead of you?
If you know how many people (read= recruiters) troll around on LinkedIn, you'll then appreciate the value of having your portfolio at the ready, even if you aren't looking for a new job. Don't pass on any opportunity to get your name and work out there, someday it'll be worth it.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Feel free to email me any questions you have regarding your portfolio, job search, interviews, etc.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Answers to a few questions I was sent recently. . .
When is the best time of the year to apply for jobs as a copywriter?
At first, I didn't really think there was a season for copywriter jobs, but when I thought again about your question I changed my mind. I can tell you the season when agencies and recruiters are flooded with other candidates - graduation time. This may not translate to a hiring season, but it certainly would be the time when you are competing against a larger than average pool of candidates.
I wrote a post a while back about two seniors about 2 months from graduation and they were already making their rounds across the country on informational interviews. They wanted to beat the graduation rush and that was pretty smart.
Do you have any advice for a copywriter trying to get a job without a partner?
Have a great book. That's it. The best books get the job, partner or not.
Does your level of creativity determine salary and/or title?
Not title. Right out of school you are a junior until you prove yourself otherwise. (I am assuming you mean juniors here). Now salary, perhaps a bit. If I think a person is super, super good and that they may be considering other opportunities, then of course I want to entice them with a higher salary. We just interviewed Jeremy Carson, an CSULB senior three days before his graduation. His book was fantastic. Right now he has more than one employer courting him and I can bet you the highest salary has the strongest chance of landing him.
Do all ‘juniors’ have to start as juniors?
Uh. Yea. But that you put 'juniors' in quotes I am guessing you mean someone who maybe is older than the average student or had another career before getting in to advertising, then are they really a junior when they start? I met a guy at Brandcenter recently who went to portfolio school, became a copywriter then went back to school to get his masters as a Creative Technologist. He asked me the same question. He isn't a junior due to his previous years in the business, but he is a junior in terms of just graduating with a different degree.
I would image each recruiter has the discretion to make the hire at whatever level seems appropriate. I'd hire that CT from Brandcenter as a mid-level person, his experience as an agency copywriter would be a big plus.
How long should I wait for a response before realizing that they are just not into my book?
Well, always remember that no response does not necessarily mean they aren't liking your book. It usually means the person is way too busy with way too many books to look at to either check yours out or to get back to you once they do. Wait a decent amount of time after sending it before following up. Then wait a decent amount of time after that before sending one last communication (email/vm) that says something like, "I recently sent you my portfolio, which I am hoping you've had a chance to review. I am very interested in working at ________________, yet above all I'd love to hear your feedback on my work. May I get a few pointers from your perspective that would make my book better?
No person in their right mind could ignore that. A genuine request for feedback. Then, in getting their feedback, you'll also get a clearer answer if they like your book. Or not.
Should we try to get the Creative Recruiters direct email, or just send via the 'general way', like whatever their website provides us with?
Try to get the creative manager's direct email. My HR forwards me anything remotely creative, but you don't want to take the chance that other HR people don't or that your email gets lost in the shuffle.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Do not. Do not. Do not set up a portfolio website where each individual piece of work has to be opened separately (translate: slooooooowly).
This is killing me.
I've stepped up the amount of portfolios I have been looking at this past couple of weeks, so I am seeing all sorts of varieties of portfolio websites and how people feature their work. If anyone one wants to make a fortune, they should interview 10 creative recruiters, ask them what the best portfolio format is, then sell that as a template to the entire creative community.
Back to the don't. Some people (who shall remain nameless) show pdfs of every piece of work they have done in thumbnails. Then you click on the thumbnail and the work pops up and enlarges. Just the one. You then have to click that pop up closed and click on the next pdf. And so on, and so on.
Some of you are smart enough to have a similar set up but when you click open one, there is a magic NEXT button and you can click through the entire set of work. Thank you for that.
It is exhausting to click each file. On top of that, there are some where the pdf doesn't just pop up it kind of pops up a gray box that magically resizes it self before your eyes, then the work shows. Multiply this by 10, 15, 20 pieces of work and you'll get my drift.
Make showing your work easy for the recruiter. There are 100's more books they have to look through and don't make frustration be the reason yours gets tossed.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
1st place: told her she was "very talented with a bright future" but that her not getting the job was a matter of "agency culture"
2nd place: told her and her partner they "loved" their books and liked them both very much yet they have "decided to go in a different direction"
It got me thinking about how hard it is for a recruiter or creative director to tell someone you're passing on them. What's my take on what these statements mean?
Here a few translations that may help:
Deciding to go in a different direction = we hired the other team
It's a matter of agency culture = not sure your personality will fit in
Your experience isn't what we are seeking = it is, but we're passing on you
We have no jobs open right now = we do, but we're passing on you
There is a hiring freeze = there is a hiring freeze
I assured Ryann that no creative director would tell you they loved your book if they didn't in fact love your book. And if you are told you are talented with a bright future, you can be assured you are and you will. No one hands out statements like that without meaning them.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It's been so long since I've graduated college that I forget what it felt like in those last few days. I can't remember if I was nervous though I'm certain I was relieved. I was so far from having a clue about what I wanted to do that the idea of being fearful didn't enter my brain. I started that summer like any other summer, set on doing a lot of nothing and getting very tan while doing it.
Yesterday I spoke with a young woman from Savannah College of Art & Design. She is nearing graduation and she's a bit scared of what comes next. Her name is Amy Troche-Walsh and I'm sure she is feeling a lot like a whole bunch of you who are closing in on your graduation date.
Amy has nothing to be worried about. She has a very strong book (she's an art director doubling as a competent copywriter). But, I imagine whether you feel you are good gets overridden by whether you feel you are good enough.
The nervousness of going out into the great beyond is natural. Will agencies like your book? Will you get interviews? Will you get a job? Will you get a decent salary? All those questions are natural. Just have faith. Have faith that your book is solid (that's what all those years of school got you). Have faith people will like your work (see my recent post about something for everyone). Have faith that a job will come through at a salary you can live with.
You are just beginning. Beginnings are always good and always a bit scary. Good people with good books will always find their way. I have faith in that.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Let's transform history by investing in our future."
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Check out this very cool website from Aquent. At first you don't really know what it is. The design is black and white, kind of template-y. But once you start clicking, you see that is a primer about the online space. Definitions of interactive components and a (very cool) list of what jobs you'd need to create it.
It's the best primer I have ever seen to explain what people getting into the industry might really want to know about career possibilities. (Not to mention how super smart a staffing agency was to create something like this).
Here's a sample of the information Aquent provides.
Interactive Design is the process by which an idea is nurtured and cultivated to become a truly awesome online experience. Any experience, from a Web app to a full site, depends on it. The key to this winning formula is equal parts beauty, functionality and practicality, built on a solid layer of code to make it accessible and engaging.
Interactive Designers are masters of the balance between form and function. They can design user interfaces that engage (and retain) visitors. They know what the latest tech can do, and they utilize every last drop of designer-y goodness to deliver an experience that is both easy to use and totally gorgeous.
Front End Developer
Front End Developers are the folks behind the curtain, utilizing the latest Web development standards and solid hands-on technical skills to create sites that function properly across a wide variety of browsers and platforms. They connect with Quality Control to ensure flawless execution. They make it work.
Interactive Copywriters are a rare breed of Copywriter. In addition to being funny, modest and gorgeous, they understand the intricacies of writing for the online world. They know how to write something as simple as a killer tagline, or as complex as an entire blogs worth of content. Quite useful, indeed.
Project Managers are the baking powder for your Interactive cake: you need one if it's going to rise. They coordinate the details of design and development, working directly with clients and resources to ensure on-time delivery. They also handle budget and staff management, taking even more off your plate.
Developing fantastic user experience (UX) requires: user research, interaction design, information architecture, visual design, and usability testing. UX covers all of these, so your website or application is engaging and intuitive (oh and best of all increases sales, better conversion, and more).
Monday, February 1, 2010
Depression first. I am the person doing those layoffs. Big fat ugh. I'm the one saying, "Can you come into my office for a minute?" knowing full well I am about to let the person go. Seeing how that feels from the other side hits a chord and not a fun one.
Then inspiration. Suddenly I want to be laid off. All this talk about finding your true self and living to your fullest is heartwarming. We all have a grander purpose in life beyond our jobs in advertising. I loved seeing people go after it. Very jealous.
Have a watch.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The other day a candidate mailed me a portfolio packet. A day later another copy of that same packet was left on my desk by the HR Director who was so kindly forwarding me the creative's work. Couple days later another copy of that same packet was left on my desk by a creative director who was so kindly forwarding me the creative's work. Kid you not, a day after that, another copy was left on my desk by another creative director who was so kindly forwarding me the creative's work.
Ugh. You do not need to mail the same agency 4 or 5 times over. I know you are trying to hit as many targets to up your chances of being noticed, but I'm not so certain this is a good strategy. Also, the amount of paper and postage it is taking to mail so many pieces must be time and cost consuming (and don't even get me started on the paper waste).
The ECD is not opening mail unless it is really important. His assistant is weeding through it and sorting out the things that are essential for his eyes and turning the candidate-related stuff over to the creative manager.
The HR Director is sorting through their mail and turning the creative candidate-related stuff over to the creative manager.
The Creative Directors are most likely opening their own mail. At bigger agencies, they may have assistants doing it. Sending one to them might prove helpful. But ultimately they'll turn the candidate-related stuff to the creative manager to follow up on.
Be selective and targeted with to whom you send your information. Your follow up with the correct person (the creative manager) is what's really important.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Zac Ryder was a junior copywriter trying to get his foot in the door when I met him back in 2004. His relentless pursuit of a job was endearing (which in some cases borders annoying, but not so with Zac). He called, he emailed, he said he'd sweep the mail room, he offered to work for free and, eventually, I hired him as a junior writer.
It's one of the best hiring decisions I've ever made. Zac spent three years here at Y&R and contributed beyond his years and experience from day one. Seriously, he was concepting on new business pitches and presenting to our executive team right out of the gate. His passion was infectious and he had the talent and drive to back it up.
When a creative gives their notice, I'm happy and sad at the same time. Happy that the person is taking what they've learned at our agency and building the next part of their career from it. Sad for obvious reasons. I am very proud when a creative takes the next step with a portfolio filled with a few years of great work from the opportunity they had at our agency. Zac Ryder continues the trajectory of his career and makes me very proud indeed.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
This quote hangs in my office, “The core responsibility of management is the next generation.” We must be overly and obsessively concerned with those entering our beloved business. Otherwise any transformation this industry sees will be slow going and far less revolutionary.
As a creative recruiter, I’m drawn to entry-level talent. They have a freshness about them that’s contagious. I spend a lot of time meeting with students, speaking at schools, basically finding any way I can to help shepherd their careers. If I can affect one student‘s passion for advertising and help cultivate their talent along the way, my job is done. Being exposed to so many students, recent graduates and entry-level talent is starting raise my eyebrow in more than a few ways.
First, anyone can get an advertising degree with relative ease. Diploma in hand proves nothing about your talent. Diploma + portfolio certainly helps a creative’s cause, but what about the thousands of others who aren’t entering through a creative portal?
Now, imagine this.
Imagine if they had to pass an exam. Lawyers have to. Doctors have to. Lawyers and doctors have to prove they are worthy of the profession they are about to enter. They prove it by knowing what’s most critical about their industry. Those tests establish a minimum entry into the field. Advertising, not so much.
Heck, there are even the most basic careers you can get certified in: massage therapy, career coaching, personal training, nurse assisting. Quite the opposite: you can be in advertising and not know a click about the industry (well, I guess you could watch Art & Copy and call it a day); or not know what your production/broadcast/media departments do (trust me, the majority don’t); or not understand how agency work impacts clients’ business (frightful, yet wholly possible).
Let’s change that.
In order to transform advertising, we must change that. Let’s mandate every senior pass the “Ad Exam”. We come up with select questions about the industry: history, media and technology advances, the science and art of advertising, the finances and operations of an agency, the best and worst work, and so on. Fail? Well, study up and try again in 3 months. Students currently have no skin in the game (unless you count an upwards of 6 figure tuition bill). The Ad Exam solves for that.
Second, part of what is holding us back is a general lack of understanding, at a junior level, of how an agency operates. How can we transform advertising when a chunk of those working in it haven’t a clue how the gears work? We are so eager to make those new hires and get jobs filled, we don’t take even a minute to train them in the most basic things.
Imagine if they had to complete a residency. Again, like doctors who, after 12-16 years of school must work another 4 years completing on-the-job training. They aren’t real doctors until their residency is done. Even hairdressers have to do their fair share of shadowing, stuck in the shampoo sink for a few months before they can actually cut someone’s hair.
What if new hires spent weeks working in other departments before they were even allowed to start the job for which they were hired? Pessimists will say there’s no money for training, no time to commit, no resources to wrangle it. I say we’re raising a generation of talent that knows little about what they are doing (or worse, why they are doing it).
Let’s change that.
Let’s mandate every entry-level new hire must complete an agency residency. They aren’t promotable until they do. I know a traffic person who became an account supervisor within 3 years of starting in this business. How is this possible? A year in traffic is an excellent primer on how an agency works I agree, but getting to be an account supervisor takes years and years of experience. Someone may be good at what they do, but promoting them before they’ve had enough real-time experience is a disservice. Through residencies, we at least assure that entry-level talent has the basic tenets to use as a foundation for their career.
There is no doubt that innovations in media and technology will further transform advertising. Just look at the past 5 years and you’d agree. But, those changes cannot happen without the properly trained minds to put them to use. By upping the ante to get into the advertising game, we’d transform a whole lot more than the level of talent and creativity. We’d transform history by investing in our future.