Landing a job at an advertising agency can be difficult. In the final post of our Landing an Agency Job series, our very own VP of Consumer Engagement will provide you with a few pro tips that can help you stand out from the rest. He’s not going to talk about things like “take on an internship” or “leverage your network.” While those are important, he’ll review a few things to keep in mind during and after the interview that can help you land at an agency of your choosing.
1. Have a personality
Yes, each one of us has a personality, yet so many people are afraid or reluctant to show it. The person interviewing you isn’t just making sure you match up to the job requirements, they are reviewing you on how well you will fit into the agency culture.
That’s a big reason behind those silly questions like “What do you like to do outside of work?” or “What are your hobbies?” Those questions are to get us talking about something other than the last project you worked on or how a class project has equipped you for working at an ad agency. It’s to get you talking about something you’re passionate about and to open up a little.
The fact is that you’ll spend a huge deal of your waking hours in close proximity to your coworkers, so we need to be able to get along.
2. Show enthusiasm for the work
Show that you don’t just want this job for the paycheck (although it’s definitely the best perk). If you are wanting that Account Service gig at an agency, be prepared to weave into conversation that cool article you read in “Account Service Digest” (does that exist?), or how you took a presentation skills workshop put on by the local agency club.
I credit this factor for one of my early career moves. I was a decent match for the job I wanted, but my current job at the time didn’t have all of the digital experience necessary on paper. In order to convince them I had the chops I brought up topics like the news sources I frequent, the personal website I built just to play around on and the server I configured at home to see how it all worked together. I showed them I was passionate about the job at hand. They saw my enthusiasm and could envision me bringing that same level of enthusiasm to their clients.
3. Prep your references
First, if someone is on your reference list, they should know that. As a hiring manager, I’m going to assume that’s already taken place (although I know firsthand it isn’t always the case).
Beyond that, it’s best to provide them a heads-up on the specifics of the job and how your interview went. Something like:
Hey Mr. Reference – I just had a great interview with MBB, and I believe they’ll be reaching out to my references shortly. Just so you’re aware, the job will require a lot of SEO work – so anything you can say about me on that topic would be appreciated.
This will allow them to provide a reference about you that’s more in-line with the expectations of the position, making it more useful and impactful for the hiring manager.
So there you have it – three “out of the box” considerations to help you land a job at your first (or maybe second or third) advertising agency: Have a personality, show that you love what you’ll be doing, and make sure that your references are ready to receive that phone call from your prospective agency.
Want more tips and tricks on landing the job you want? Check out the first post in our “Landing an Agency Job” series: A Cover Letter How-To (And How-Not- To).