How to become…an advertising creative

How to become…an advertising creative

Following Creative Newcastle, our summer school and our work with Creative North, we thought about other ways we could give amazing young talent a helping hand.

Wisdom was our answer.

Between us we’ve got eons of experience in the creative industries and a metric crapload (approx.) of knowledge to pass on.

Recent graduates, aspiring ad folk: This is what will help your job search and get your foot in the door and then, hopefully, the rest of your body too.

This will be an ongoing series, keep your eyes peeled (or subscribe to our newsletter on the home page) to get more.

  • Research an agency’s clients before your work placement or interview.
  • From my experience of meeting a lot of students who come in for placements, I’d say what really stands out is actually caring. It’s so simple.
  • Just show that you really care and really want to get into the industry. That you’re willing to work hard and go out of your way to get experience, feedback, whatever.
  • During this year’s summer school application, there was a student who found out about the opportunity and said ‘I’ll think about it’. That’s a wrong attitude to have if you want to get into the industry. Who would want to help you if you yourself aren’t even bothered?
  • Get LOTS of book crits. Email all the creative directors you can find and ask for just 10 minutes with them to show them your work. Most of them won’t be cruel enough to deny you just 10 minutes.
  • Once you get to meet them, LISTEN. Listen to what they think about your work. Write it down if you’re afraid you’ll forget. And work on the feedback. You might end up showing your book to the same creative director again and you don’t want to show them the same old work that they didn’t like.*
  • Make your CV or cover letter stand out. Don’t just email the template you found on the internet. This is the creative industry. Be creative. Like if you’re a copywriter, use it to show your writing skills.
  • Proofread your application letters and emails, particularly if you want to go into copywriting. It’s an important part of the job, and it would be awful if a stupid overlooked mistake made the difference if it came to a close call between candidates.
  • Find out as much as you can about the person and the agency you’re going to see, and if possible tailor your portfolio so that it appeals to the agency, the design consultancy or whoever it is. Maybe even do a custom piece of work.
  • Include work in your portfolio that you’re really passionate about, even if it doesn’t directly relate to the position you’re applying for. I included some of my own photography in my book, and ended up talking about it extensively with my interviewers. It made them remember me.
  • Don’t become a frustrated creative. If you want to write, write. If you want to art direct, do it. Don’t worry about better writers or designers or whatever. Do what you love. **
*This has happened to Simon with a student in previous years.
** Ian talks about this in our advice for designers, too.

Leave a comment, sign in via:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *