Jr. Creatives are creatively great. What they aren’t so great at is marketing themselves.
Like many people this time of year, Jr. Creatives are looking for new opportunities. A lot of the are just out of portfolio school or their first internship. They know how to think on their feet and whip up some intriguing art direction. They have tons of talent, they’re eager and not yet jaded by selling their creative output for a paycheck.
Unless I met you at a review two years ago or I have a Copywriter who met you that one time at the communal lunch table during your first quarter and recommends you to me for the possible referral bonus… how will I find you? I need something to go on. And here’s the deal, I want to find you! My job is to fill empty positions. I want to, no I need to, hire someone. Why not you? What is keeping me from picking up the phone, or composing that email? In general there are a few things I need in order to give you a holler:
A#1: A book! A well designed portfolio that showcases your creative mind and tells me a bit about yourself. Simple, clean design and some interesting copy about you beats an overly wrought, scrolling, animated book with background music every time. Even Copywriters need a well designed one - most creative execs come from art backgrounds and they respond to design. They just do.
2: A LinkedIn page. Many young creatives don’t have one. I have no idea why. We recruiters (of all stripes) live and breathe LinkedIn. Here’s a chance to show me that your jump from retail, to a UX design school, to my agency, makes sense. Lay it all out there: your education, skills, special talents and connections. And please, for the love of all that’s good, include a link to your book and an email address in the ‘Contact’ section. Don’t make me Google you.
3: Connections. Next to LinkedIn, recruiters rely most heavily on their personal networks and those of their employees. I’d rather have a vetted and vouched for Art Director than an unknown entity. Does my Copywriter know that you’re a team player who can concept with the best or did you sit next to her at your last agency, but never bothered to say hi? “Networking” gets a bad rap but it’s necessary. Chat to judges at design competitions, meet the ECD’s at portfolio reviews, engage with Creative Directors you think are amazing on social media. Ask them about their work. Everyone loves to talk about their work.
4: The guts to follow up. Did we meet at a review? A wedding? Were you in a class I spoke at? Did I give you my card or tell you to email me? Do it. Remind me that I told you to. I will respond pretty close to immediately. Alternately, did we speak six months ago and then I went radio silent? Were you horridly unqualified and I never want to hear your name again? Not likely. Something in staffing may have shifted, my calendar or email may have gotten out of control or I meant to respond and then there was building wide fire drill. Things happen. Contacts fall through the cracks occasionally. Follow up. Let me know you’re interested in reconnecting. You might be just right, right now.
5. An intro email. IF I don’t personally know you AND you don’t know anyone I know who can introduce you to me, then by all means send an intro email. A concise note that shows me a) you’ve done homework on my agency b) you can solve a hiring problem I have and c) doesn’t just ask me for coffee to ‘pick my brain.’ I legitimately would love to meet for all the coffees I’m offered in a single week, but I just can’t - and certainly not to just banter about some ‘general’ questions you have. Recruiters get a lot of intro emails. What we don’t get, are a lot of good ones.
Should you also have well designed business cards, an appetite for Thai delivery at 1 a.m. during a pitch, reams of spec work, that half-finished novel from your one and only semester of that Creative Writing grad program and a well connected uncle who knows everyone in the ad game? Sure. But for now… go ahead. Send me your book.
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