This is a prequel to Ace Your Ad Agency Interview.
Here are some things you can do to increase your chances of getting an ad agency interview, and passing those tough weeks, months, even years (yes, really!) between graduating and working in advertising.
Apply at every single ad agency where you would like to work. Keep your geographic boundaries as open as possible. Be open-minded about what department you start in as well. Then follow up every couple of months.
Apply at companies with ad agencies
If you can get a job in the marketing department of a company that uses an ad agency, you can start to understand how ad agencies work, and build your network of agency contacts.
Do NOT apply outside your field
Yes, everyone needs an income, but be smart about your first job after graduation. If not advertising, find something relevant to your field. If you want to be an ad copywriter and the local urban weekly offers you a job as a reporter, take it! But if you want to be in account services, do NOT work as a bank teller. Two reasons: your personal brand will suffer (from an ad agency perspective) as you are seen as an unimaginative banker. Second, you’d make more money at a bank than at an ad agency, making it harder to transition over.
Stay in touch with the agency contacts you have. Talk to old professors about industry contacts they may have. Go to advertising events. Volunteer at them.
Start a blog and showcase your strategic and creative talents. Put insightful comments on agency blogs.
Offer youth research
We office workers grow more out of touch with youth culture with each dress shirt we buy and RRSP contribution we make. That makes you a valuable resource to agencies. Offer an agency your free services to distribute an online survey about one of their youth-centered clients to your social networks.
Take a holiday
If you’ve done all the above and still don’t have work –why not use the time off to take a vacation? Once you start working, your two weeks’ holiday will be spent decompressing with large amounts of liquor and visiting friends you haven’t seen since starting your 50+ hour work weeks. Until that happens, take advantage of your flexible schedule.
Mostly, getting a job in advertising is about perseverance. Keep trying. It’s worth it.