What’s the first thing to come to mind when you think of an ad agency? For me, it would have to be the creative content and campaigns that they’re famous for. Or the fun tactics agencies prescribe each campaign. But there’s much more to agencies than just the work they produce, especially if you’re an employed there. In fact, there’s what I call the full agency-experience.
Agencies house the most creative brains on the planet. Seriously. And most have a lenient dress policy…So you work with talented people and casual dress is allowed every day ending in “-day.” What’s not to love?
As you know, agencies are known for their company culture, which usually entails fun outings with the team and offices stocked with creative fuel, but beyond the culture is the work they produce. Deliverables are usually compelling, clever, and creative (I should coin these as the 3 C’s), and they are tailored to fit certain marketing goals for each client. You can usually find an agency’s work on their website.
Here are some “work” pages from infamous agencies local to Tampa Bay:
How to Get Hired at an Agency
No, it isn’t easy to get hired by an agency, but there are things you can do to better your odds.
- Keep an updated portfolio – Advertisers want to see what you can do. Whether you have the most amazing writing samples or a compilation of branded photos, you must be sure they’re neatly secured in a creative portfolio
- Update your Resume – Make it creative! If you’re looking to be hired by a boutique agency, put some design in your resume. Design is important, but the content is essential. List your relevant experiences and be sure to tie them back to advertising!
- Have a creative cover letter – I recall learning that cover letters are supposed to be strictly formal and, well, boring. This isn’t the case. While every cover letter likely states why you want to work wherever you’re applying, take it a step further. What, specifically, about the agency makes you want to work there. Is there a life experience that led you to that job application? Tell a story with your cover letter, after all, your letter is where your potential employer gets to know you. Oh, and be sure to address the letter to your interviewer if you have access to that information.
- Network – Someone told me it’s not about what you know, but who you know. While I don’t find this completely true, networking is still important. Reach out to creatives through Linkedin, email, or even interpersonally and establish an authentic connection.
- If you get an interview, send a thank you immediately after – This really applies to any job, but a thank you goes a long way. After all, you want to show your gratitude for the interviewer’s time.
And don’t forget — you can do this!