Wednesday, April 25, 2007

impressive resume guy

Weiden & Kennedy ~ supreme being and creative entity both rolled into one big bomb diggity agency in Portland, Or. I'm here. I'm in advertising. Shouldn't I want to work with this awesomeness? It's a question I hadn't honestly come to terms with until yesterday when I spoke with Steve Barry at WK.

Steve has Crispin, Goodby, and now Weiden on his resume. He gave me some great advice on planning and connections I should be making. He said I should think of ideas for clients and email them to head planners at the agencies.

He said it would be worth it to talk to a jr. planner at an agency like Goodby (one I'm interested in) to find out what they're used for/what it's like. He also advised me (in my spare time) to learn about the recruiting process for focus groups and research. *share ideas* COOL!

Planning "is the hardest thing to get into," he said. (yeah, especially at WK) For me, I'm just not there yet. I make too many sweeping generalizations about "cool kids" to actually be one myself. As a planner, I need to grow up a bit more. And that's Ok. Good luck!


Greg said...

"It's the hardest thing to get into."
"It's not easy."

Is the second one implied? I think #3 should be "Bribing employers is industry standard."

Leland said...

I actually believe planning is one of the hardest things to get into -more so than creative.

For what it's worth, I was trying to get a planning job in a time when the industry was in a huge slump and without ever going to VCU. Eventually I got one, but if it helps, here's how I did it:
#1 I Did freelance planning for about a year. Found some planning opportunities in Atlanta where I was living. Turned my best one into a tight and visual case study.
#2 Took the show on the road. I already had some friends working in ad agencies and had them set up some informational interviews with their planning people. (also, i emailed people in my college alumni database asking them for the same thing. Out of 35ish emails I sent, I had 32ish people offer to help me. Advertising people love to help people get into the biz because they too got help.) Anyway, set up some informational interviews at their agencies and flew myself out there. This was all a guise to get myself a job. I tried to make sure i showed off my intelligence by asking smart Qs. Eventually, they asked about me and that is when I whipped out my case study which offered a great way to showcase my thinking and keep the conversation going.

The thing is that, even though our chats were called "informational interviews," they were really informal interviews. Agency people are always on the look out for good people. Always.

At the end of this odyssey, I had a completely empty bank account but several job leads and an entire network of agency people I knew and kept in touch with afterwards (and still do to this day).

So my advice is to get infront of people - even it's just informational. And have something interesting to show off. (And it doesn't have to be a case study).
That, more than anything else, will help you move the ball forward.

Hope that helps.

El Gaffney said...

Agree with Leland (especially on the alumni contact suggestion) and would add "or be willing to start as an account person." I didn't know what planning was when I got my gig at an agency in NY now almost 5 years ago. I competed in "Account Executive Survivor" - Apprentice without the budget at a small agency in NYC. I came in second. That meant work at the reception desk and study to be a copywriter. Three embarrassing scripts later I was helping on new biz. The head of strategy took a liking to the way I did situation analyses, etc. and let me start to write briefs. 6 months in I was a planner in a dept of two. Not saying you have to sleep on the agency floor for a week, but be open to other ad opportunities (acct, media, new biz perhaps) at the right agencies and speak to the planners there about eventually making the switch. General agency experience is important, so kill 2 birds...

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

starting off as a junior planner, do you take any planning job? Even if it's working on a pharma product and a packaged good account? Because I am very interested in working on consumer packaged goods but one of the jobs I am going for handles these two types of accounts (specifically pharma and shampoo products).

Please let me know your thoughts.