What's So Special About You?

In an earlier post, interviewee Qiana mentioned how in portfolio school she realised she’s no longer “The Creative One.” This is true for advertising as a whole.

This isn’t Kansas anymore.

In college or at home you may have been the most creative, interesting and artistic person, but here, you’re just another Dorothy. 

Get in line.

This industry is where all the creative souls, brave dreamers and cool weirdos flock to. So when you walk through the doors of an agency for an interview, you need to come with something better than “I’m creative.”

While we’re at it – Advertising has an abundance of people who are Funny, Quirky, Smart, Different, Artsy, Crafty, Witty, Eccentric, Colorful, Special, Hardworking, Sociable, Articulate, Dedicated, Talented, People Persons, Alternative Thinkers and Technology/Music/Art Geeks.

Which is great – now you’ll  be around like-minded people and feel accepted for who you are. But it also sucks because it’s harder to speak up and stand out when everyone’s voices, ideas and clothes are so loud.

So take a second, swallow your ego, humble yourself and then ask yourself this question:

what’s so special about me?

What makes me different?

Why should this agency hire me and not that other kid with a great book and a funky t-shirt? (Just a heads up, advertising is probably one of the only industries where even  if you make all your own clothes, you still might see someone dressed like you. I've seen my creative doppelganger once, and if we cross paths again, I'm going to kill her. There can only be one.) 

Find all the unique bits and pieces that make up who you are. The fact that you were born outside of the country. That you bind books by hand. That you were an economics major in undergrad but changed your mind the day after you started your first blog. That you speak four languages. That you were an eagle scout and had 23 badges. That your mother is Irish Catholic and your father is an East African Muslim. That you taught for America for two years. That you were head of the film club in school. That you can eat your weight in jelly beans. That you’re obsessed with extreme sports.

Whatever it is, as long as it’s you and it’s true – bring it to the table with your portfolio and personality as part of the overall package you have to offer.

Whether it’s experience that could come in handy on the job one day or just interesting things for water-cooler conversation and agency talent shows. As long as it makes someone remember you at the end of the day and pick you out from the crowd of strategically unkempt, big-glasses-wearing, ironically-tattooed, smarty-pants creative types begging to be hired.