How to Switch Into Advertising

You know how after a little close to too much drinks you love everybody? Well I'm like that with Advertising. All the time. I love it. Even when I hate it. Even when I haven't slept more than three hours in four days. Even when the client/budget/legal team is ruining everything. I love it and want to throw my arm around it and sing Don't StopBelieving at the top of my lungs.

Last night I attended an event hosted by the Madison Browne Fellowship and Howard University's Center for Excellence in Advertising (CEA) at R/GA. I usually enjoy networking events because of the free food, drinks and Journey songs ( don't judge me) but this one was especially awesome because it deal with a relevant topic to me, you, and anybody else trying to break into the business. And it reminded me of how much I love Advertising. 

I've been fortunate enough to have been born with a notepad and pencil in my hand (it was a particularly painful August for my mother) so I've pretty much always been a writer and once I found out what it was, I've been on the path to be a copywriter. 

But a lot of people are coming to the realization that they're not exactly happy where they are and perhaps can find joy somewhere in the coin-flip heaven and hell that is Advertising.
So this post is dedicated to all of the folks who realized a little too late that they were too creative and too awesome to be in whatever major/field they are currently in.

The topic was "Lateral Movement" which  are businessy words for "Switching Industries" and the panel of 9 awesome professionals discussed really valuable tips on how to stand out, reach out and get hired. 

Luckily for you, I have magically fast fingers and take great notes.

Here's what I learned:

-       Be engaging, curious, driven, passionate, unafraid, tenacious, persistent, and thirsty.
-       Be a team player. A hard worker. A problem solver. A creative thinker. An innovator. A doer. A maker.
-       Be able to convey your thoughts clearly
-       Be constant and consistent. Reach out to as many people as possible. Don’t stop trying.
-       Be social. Network. Make connections. Get to know the people who work where you want to work and do what you want to do.
-       Be a subject matter expert. What are you good at? Knowledgeable in? What’s your area of expertise?
-       Be involved in the world.
-       Be a student of advertising: Read the trades, blogs, websites and tweets focused on advertising.
-       Be thick skinned. Learn how to accept and grow from rejection and criticism.
-       Be ready to work your way up. You may have to start from the bottom and work more, work harder, work smarter to make it to where you really want to be.
-       Be patient.

-       Show your intellect. Don’t be a smart ass but show how you can process and channel information in ways that will be beneficial in any line of work.
-       Show the trade offs: What you lack in experience you make up in enthusiasm, discipline, ninja skills.
-       Show how your life experience translates in the office, in the industry and in the client’s marketplace
-       Show that you can manage situations, different types of people and adversity.
-       Show off your interpersonal and communication skills.
-       Show what value you bring to the agency and the client.
-       Show how you could be a financial asset to the agency and the client.
-       Show how having different background means you bring a different perspective – which can fuel new ideas
-       Show all sides of your creativity – professional and personal.
-       Show that you’re worth taking a chance on. 

-       Research everybody, every place, every little thing. Pretend this is Jeopardy and you’re in it to win it.
-       Know the agency, what they do and what the culture is like. Know the job description and requirements.
-       Do informational interviews with HR managers and people in that job or at that agency to get a better perspective on the expectations and environment.
-       Know what clients and departments you best fit in based on your interests and background.
-       Speak the language. Show that you know the terms, the challenges and opportunities of the agency and the industry.
-       Send a note with your resume. Introduce and sell yourself first. Don’t just send an attachment blindly.
-       Know your story. Have 3 – 5 points you can say to sell yourself.
-       Look at your transferable skills. Highlight what things from your previous/current job are relevant in this new position.
-       Use examples of specific situations you excelled in to demonstrate your skills.
-       Freelance where and when you can to get more experience if you can.
-       Access your six degrees of separation. Reach out to people you know who know people. Connect on LinkedIn. Follow people on twitter. Ask to be introduced.
-       Follow up with people, even if they didn’t have time or a position for you, keep in touch and build a relationship for the future. You never know.
-       Talk to a lot of people. You never know who can help you how. Overwhelm yourself with knowledge.
-       Ask questions.
-       Follow and find chances to interact with the people you want to work with/for on twitter.
-       Find a mentor. (Post on this coming up soon.)
-       Make coffee dates. They may not have time for an interview but coffee and tea are easy ins.
-       Fail. It makes you stronger and smarter.

I thought these were great tips for everyone from people wanting to get into advertising to people in already advertising wanting to switch agencies.

Thank you Madison Browne, CEA and R/GA.

Connect with Madison Browne on twitter @madisonbrowneny and on Facebook to find out about future events.