Advice on getting a first job in advertising
After three years at University, numerous lectures on careers options and countless rewrites of your CV, it should be easy to find that first job - right? Well, if you're looking to at one of the many appealing jobs in advertising, it may not be that easy. The industry is notoriously competitive, and if you're in search of that all-important stepping stone into an advertising agency, you really need to shine - here are our top tips to stand out in the advertising sector.
CV: Make sure that your CV is tailored for each job that you apply for; advice that you've probably heard before but it's really important that your CV showcases your abilities for the role which is being offered. Use a classic font - especially if your application is being submitted online - it both looks more professional, and ensures that whoever is reviewing it sees the same thing that you do! Importantly, if you haven't got any advertising work experience, make sure you outline your transferable skills - from logical thinking to ability to communicate with others. Finally, remember to check everything on your CV, poor spelling and grammar looks careless and if your contact details are wrong, a potential won't be able to contact you!
Application forms: If an employer has requested that you fill in an application form, don't be tempted to just copy the information from your CV. Use an application form to show your knowledge of recent advertising campaigns - and don't be afraid to have an opinion. Employers use application forms to gauge your knowledge, creativity and enthusiasm, so talk about things that you find interesting or successful. Remember to outline any experiences that would help you in a advertising role - whether this is volunteering whilst at university or things you learnt on a gap year, use your experiences to your advantage.
Interviews: Being offered an interview for a first advertising position is exciting - but can also be quite scary. The most important advice is to do your research - find out who is likely to be interviewing you, and take a look at what their job role involves. Check out any recent campaigns created by the company - but make sure that if you speak about a campaign, you feel confident discussing it! Take a copy of your CV or application form with you, so that during the interview you can refer to the experiences and skills that would be beneficial in a junior role in advertising.
Be Proactive: Jobs in advertising can be hard to find, especially if you didn't study an advertising or marketing degree - but don't despair! One of the best ways to find a first advertising role is to be proactive. Research advertising agencies online, and send them a prospective CV and letter applying for a job - or ask whether they would consider taking you on for an advertising internship. Investigate what kind of advertising position you'd most enjoy - from account manager to market researcher, there are a range of positions possible - and if you know what position you're interested in, the better you'll be able to research and prepare for an interview.
Finding a first job in any industry can be difficult, but junior positions in advertising are particularly hard to come by - so make sure that when you do apply for a position, you really shine.
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 01 Nov 11