Mailbag: Switching from Pharma

Q: I've been working on pharmaceutical clients for the past three years and want to transfer to more general/consumer advertising. Does my experience here mean nothing? Is there hope for me? I know what I can do and I know that I can do this...heck, it's what I've wanted to do since junior year of high school...I just didn't know it was called copywriting and I didn't know colleges specialized in it, I guess I just hope I'm not screwed. Any advice? - Brian

A: Your experience in pharma means a whole lot. It's experience. You have produced work and written copy and worked in an agency. that counts for a whole lot. as long as there are ideas and it's clear you can write/craft, then you're good to go.

You just need to present yourself positively to agencies.

Meet with people and ask questions.

Add some spec work to your book. Show how you can handle non-pharma clients and consumers.

Start thinking about your elevator speech. What have you learned/gained from your experience in pharma and how can you be an asset to the next place you go? Why should someone hire you?

What does your portfolio look like?

What are you good at? 

Read switching into advertising for some tips in there that will be relevant to you when it comes to selling yourself and knowing how to talk the talk to get into consumer advertising.

Hope this helps.