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Big Orange Slide

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

How to get a job in advertising: Part 2

May 19, 2010 by Ian Mackenzie

Illustration by Colin Craig

A job in advertising. For people trying to land their first (or second), getting there can be much less than half the fun. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be asking ad folks who hire their thoughts on getting in.

Today, Grip’s Director of Production, Jacoub Bondre, weighs in.


1) How can one person rise to the top in a sea of similarly qualified applicants?
Be fun. Be the type of person people want to work with. With all other things being equal, being nice, personable and interesting will put you over the top. Interesting people do interesting work.

2) What’s the biggest mistake you’ve seen a person make while trying to get a job in advertising?
Every time someone tells me what they don’t want to do, I cringe. Tell me what you want to do, what you wish to accomplish. We all have to do things we don’t want to do from time to time. If you are vocal about it in the interview, then my assumption is you’ll be crabby about it on the job.

3) What do you look for in a resume?
What’s a resume?

4) What do you look for in a student portfolio?
Two things: attention to detail, and good thought. Paying attention to the little things is something anyone can do regardless of experience. It shows me your level of dedication to your work.

Being clever isn’t enough. Showing good deep thinking (even if it is wrong) impresses me.

5) How can an emerging creative make the most of an internship?
Participate, meddle, speak up, over deliver.

When you get to the agency environment, it’s hard for those around you to know your capacity, skill level, and points of interest. If you have capacity, ask people if you can help. If that fails, go around and investigate what other people are doing. Also, if there is a brand, or channel, that interests you more than others, ask if you can sit in.

Lastly, over deliver. If someone asks for X, give them X, then Y and Z. I once asked an intern to design and build a simple webpage to house a demo reel for a client pitch. The next day I had five designed and built webpages that we could choose from. Fantastic!

6) What is an agency’s responsibility to its interns?
An intern is not just cheap labour. As an agency, we need to provide an environment for growth. We need to give interns the opportunity to experience what the industry is like, and give them the opportunity to wow us with their talent. If the intern is exceptional, it is the agency’s responsibility to help them secure employment, through references and connections.

7) Once you have a job, what’s the best way to make sure you keep moving forward in your career?
Do everything that is expected of you. Then do way more. Think about where you want your career to go, and start doing things that someone in that position would do. But never drop the ball on your base responsibilities.

8) Any other thoughts on getting a job in advertising?
Advertising is for the hungry and the passionate. You need to be able to disconnect from reality, and think big under small constraints. The best of us give a shit about everything. From the placement of a legal line on a print ad, to banners, to TV spots. Whatever it is, you need to want to make it perfect.


UPDATE: Click through read Parts 1, 3, and 4 of this series.

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