Fortunately for you, even though there isn’t a checklist to ensure that you will be called for that first date, there is such a list to help ensure that you land that advertising interview.
- Maintain realistic expectations. When applying to advertising jobs, consider your education, previous advertising experience, career aspirations, and the location in which you hope to find employment. If you have very little experience, you can’t expect to be hired right away by one of the premier advertising firms.
- Keep your options open. Apply to a variety of jobs. If you only send your information to one or two agencies, then the odds of landing an interview are not in your favor. The more advertising jobs you apply for, the greater the likelihood that a hiring manager will see and like you, and call you in for an interview. Also, it’s okay to “cold call” (or email) potential employers. Just make sure to do your research and follow up after you’ve submitted your materials. And don’t forget about the smaller firms. Smaller firms are always looking to find advertising professionals who can help them out when they become short-handed.
- Remember that interning is always an option. One way to gain advertising experience, and get your foot in the door, is to join a company as an intern. Even though you may be receiving very little or no compensation at the beginning, it’s a great way to show the company why you would be a great asset and how they will benefit in the event that they hire you.
- Don’t draw attention to your lack of experience. Just starting out in your advertising career? You’re not going to get very far if the first sentence a potential employer reads in a cover letter is that you have no idea what you’re going to do when they hire you. Highlight what it is you can bring to the table and why you would be a good fit for the company.
- Be honest. While you don’t want to draw attention to your past employment flaws, you also don’t want to lie. If you just graduated, don’t make it sound like you’re responsible for ad campaigns that have won ADDYs and Clios. Lying to an interviewer is the fastest way to damage your reputation and credibility, and hinder your future search for an advertising job.
- Know whom to contact. When applying for an advertising job, research as best you can to ensure that your materials are sent to the right person. The best way to ensure that you have a high probability of landing an interview is knowing that the person who is responsible for hiring has gotten your stuff. After all, you certainly don’t want your resume and cover letter being sent to someone in accounts payable…where it will promptly get thrown out.
- Don’t give up. In the end, if you haven’t been called for an interview and you see that the advertising agency has reposted the job, don’t be afraid to apply again. Applying more than once over an extended period of time will ensure that the hiring manager will continue to see your name pop up and will soon know who you are and keep you in mind if another position opens up that they feel would be perfect for you.