Mailbag: Responses from a recruiter
Came across this post on Confessions of a Creative Recruiter and thought these answers would be helpful to you. Yes, you.
Q: When is the best time of the year to apply for jobs as a copywriter?
At first, I didn't really think there was a season for copywriter jobs, but when I thought again about your question I changed my mind. I can tell you the season when agencies and recruiters are flooded with other candidates - graduation time. This may not translate to a hiring season, but it certainly would be the time when you are competing against a larger than average pool of candidates.
I wrote a post a while back about two seniors about 2 months from graduation and they were already making their rounds across the country on informational interviews. They wanted to beat the graduation rush and that was pretty smart.
Q: Do you have any advice for a copywriter trying to get a job without a partner?
Have a great book. That's it. The best books get the job, partner or not.
Q: Does your level of creativity determine salary and/or title?
Not title. Right out of school you are a junior until you prove yourself otherwise. (I am assuming you mean juniors here). Now salary, perhaps a bit. If I think a person is super, super good and that they may be considering other opportunities, then of course I want to entice them with a higher salary. We just interviewed Jeremy Carson, an CSULB senior three days before his graduation. His book was fantastic. Right now he has more than one employer courting him and I can bet you the highest salary has the strongest chance of landing him.
Q: Do all ‘juniors’ have to start as juniors?
Uh. Yea. But that you put 'juniors' in quotes I am guessing you mean someone who maybe is older than the average student or had another career before getting in to advertising, then are they really a junior when they start? I met a guy at Brandcenter recently who went to portfolio school, became a copywriter then went back to school to get his masters as a Creative Technologist. He asked me the same question. He isn't a junior due to his previous years in the business, but he is a junior in terms of just graduating with a different degree.
I would image each recruiter has the discretion to make the hire at whatever level seems appropriate. I'd hire that CT from Brandcenter as a mid-level person, his experience as an agency copywriter would be a big plus.
Q: How long should I wait for a response before realizing that they are just not into my book?
Well, always remember that no response does not necessarily mean they aren't liking your book. It usually means the person is way too busy with way too many books to look at to either check yours out or to get back to you once they do. Wait a decent amount of time after sending it before following up. Then wait a decent amount of time after that before sending one last communication (email/vm) that says something like, "I recently sent you my portfolio, which I am hoping you've had a chance to review. I am very interested in working at ________________, yet above all I'd love to hear your feedback on my work. May I get a few pointers from your perspective that would make my book better?
No person in their right mind could ignore that. A genuine request for feedback. Then, in getting their feedback, you'll also get a clearer answer if they like your book. Or not.
Q: Should we try to get the Creative Recruiters direct email, or just send via the 'general way', like whatever their website provides us with?
Try to get the creative manager's direct email. My HR forwards me anything remotely creative, but you don't want to take the chance that other HR people don't or that your email gets lost in the shuffle.