Mailbag: New to the Biz, What Now?

As if moving to New York weren't stressful enough, add starting a new job, oh, and in a new industry. *Gulp* Now that you've found somewhere to live, have figured out your morning commute and three or more people at work know your name -- what next?

I want to share this exchange* with all of the folks who just moved, are about to move or who are looking to do more and meet more people in advertising.

Q: I recently left working in the music industry to start in media and I would love to pick your brain about how to go about creating and cultivating the relationships.

A: Welcome to the biz! 

The biggest tip I can give you is to network and get involved. Well, those are two tips, but they are kind of intertwined.

Here's what works for me:

1. Networking online - 

* Beef up your LinkedIn profile and connections. Advertising is very much and who knows who business, so it helps to quickly and easily show your professional associations online. (Remember to only connect with people you know and send a note with your request if there's even a 30% chance they may not remember you.)

* Join LinkedIn groups. There are so many for advertising, media, NY media and just about anything you can think of. Join a group or two, follow the conversations, see what events are posted and go to those.

* Utilise your social networks. Personally, I try to keep Facebook for friends only, but that's up to you. Be sure to like agencies' pages so you can see what's going on with them. and who you follow on Twitter. Twitter is a quick, non-invasive and less threatening environment to start conversations with strangers and people you may not usually have access to.

Oh, and follow, like and add agency pages on Twitter, Facebook - this will help you find out about events and such.

2. Networking offline - 

* RSVP and get out there. When it comes to advertising people in NY, there is always some social event going on. There are agencies and ad organistations that often host presentations, panels, workshops, mixers, screenings and plain ole parties.

* Invite an industry friend or coworker. Don't invite your best friend because you two will spend more time talking to each other and not meeting new people. If you take someone who you have a looser connection with, you'll be able to get to know them better, meet people who they know, and have someone to talk to so you don't look like a loser in the corner.

* Challenge yourself to meet 3 new people every time you go out. Don't go on an introduction spree or business-card-collecting rampage. Focus on quality not quantity. Find a few people and get to know them better. Chances are you'll see them out at another event, and chances are, if they liked you from your initial conversation they'll introduce you to more people - and invite you to more events.

3. Get involved - 

* Volunteer. Find an event organiser or organisation leader tell them you're interested - something like "Hey, let me know if I can help with anything. The next event or whatever you need. I'd really like to get more involved with XYZ." I'm 99.55% sure they won't say "No thanks, we don't ever need help with anything. Get lost."

Check with your agency and see what internal and external things they're involved with and help out however you can.

* Become a member. Join an organisation or two and get on their email lists, etc. I promise you'll meet more people and become more invested in the industry on a whole.

* Ask people out. Let them know you'd love to keep in touch, email to feel out the post-event connection, then ask them out for coffee/drinks. If you're still not sure it's time for a one-on-one session, invite them to an event you're going to. (See the 2b above)

4. Be nice. 

This is pretty self-explanatory. Just don't be an asshole.

It's not a science or anything, do what works best for you, your personality and your lifestyle.
For outside of work stuff, Here is TimeOut's list of 50 ways to make friend in NY 

*I slightly edited the email to get to the meat of it. And to protect the innocent, of course. 

News: Events & Jobs

Here are some things I think you'd be interested in:


Creative Week NY 

Monday May 5th - Friday 10th.
See the full schedule here.

I'll be at the portfolio reviews on Monday morning and speaking on the
Don't Generalize My Generation 2.0 Panel. Tuesday 6th. Register here.

One Club Creative Bootcamp Documentary Premiere
Wednesday May 8th
RSVP here.


Website Copywriter, NY  - Need to be confortable with internal/external communications, social networking and researching for projects. PR experience is a plus. Learn more and apply here

Junior Copywriter, TX - Freelance to full-time opportunity in Dallas working on print, digital, mobile and social. Email resume and portfolio here.

Junior Copywriter, FL - Working on print, digital, outdoor and collateral. Learn more here.

Junior Copywriter, MA - Writing, copyediting, proofreading and brainstorming at the Boston Globe. Learn more here

Junior Creative Team, OR - Portland agency looking for a junior team with 1 - 3 years experience. Get all the details here.

Junior Designer, NY - Small BK agency looking for a junior designer to join their team. Introduce yourself and email your portfolio here 

Junior Designer, NJ - Concept and creat sales campaigns, emails, promotional banners etc. Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash skills. 3+ years experience. Learn more and apply here. 

Junior Art Director, CA - San Francisco agency looking for a conceptual, collaborative art director. Learn more and apply here. 

Jobs for Creative People

Talked to a former account person recently, who had been laid off and was consistently reaching
out, interviewing and not getting very far. He had a few freelance jobs here and there but nothing stuck.

A friend suggested a position at a fashion brand, and though he had little experience, he got it and LOVED it. He said he'd never felt this excited and passionate about advertising.

Now he's letting go of his ad dreams and switching his focus to fashion. Even though he has to start over from the very bottom and go to school again, it's worth it to him because it's something he loves.

Two things we can learn from this:
1. Sometimes a bad thing happens to lead to you the good stuff.

2. There are other ways to be creative than being a creative.

This article has some great examples of jobs for creative people, for example - a Fashion Designer.

8 Creative Jobs That Pay Over 60k (click to view all)
(please note most of these aren't for people just starting out so it's a bit misleading)

8 Creative Jobs that Pay Over 60K
Valerie Atkisson | ArtBistro

Fashion Designer

Median Salary: $61,160
Job Summary:
Fashion designers help create the billions of dresses, suits, shoes, and other clothing and accessories purchased every year by consumers. Designers study fashion trends, sketch designs of clothing and accessories, select colors and fabrics, and oversee the final production of their designs.

Skills and Requirements
:Projected Growth: 1%
Designers must have a strong sense of the esthetic—an eye for color and detail, a sense of balance and proportion, and an appreciation for beauty. Fashion designers also need excellent communication and problem-solving skills. Despite the advancement of computer-aided design, sketching ability remains an important advantage in fashion design. A good portfolio—a collection of a person’s best work—often is the deciding factor in getting a job.
In addition to creativity, fashion designers also need to have sewing and patternmaking skills, even if they do not perform these tasks themselves. Designers need to be able to understand these skills so they can give proper instruction in how the garment should be constructed. Fashion designers also need strong sales and presentation skills to persuade clients to purchase their designs. Good teamwork and communication skills also are necessary because increasingly the business requires constant contact with suppliers, manufacturers, and buyers around the world.
Education Level:
In fashion design, employers usually seek individuals with a 2 or 4 year degree who are knowledgeable about textiles, fabrics, ornamentation, and fashion trends. Aspiring fashion designers can learn these necessary skills through internships with design or manufacturing firms. Some designers also gain valuable experience working in retail stores, as personal stylists, or as custom tailors. Such experience can help designers gain sales and marketing skills while learning what styles and fabrics look good on different people.

And 10 Unexpected Jobs for Creative Types (click to view all)

How to be happier at work

I was going to write a preamble and/or highlight the parts I really agreed with but then I realised I'd pretty much have just paraphrased and highlighted the whole article. So read it for yourself and share it with someone you think needs to hear this today.

At a glance: 17 Ways To Be Happier at Work

1. Don't compare yourself to others.
2. Never obsess over things you cannot control.
3. Know and keep your personal limits and boundaries.
4. Don't over commit yourself or your team.
5. Remember you get the same amount of time every day as everyone
6. Don't take yourself so seriously; nobody else does.
7. Daydream more rather than less.
8. Don't bother with hate; it's not worth the effort.
9. Make peace with your past lest it create your future.
10. Don't try to "win" every argument.
11. Remember that nobody is in charge of your happiness except you.
12. Smile and laugh more frequently.
13. Don't waste precious energy on malice and gossip.
14. Don't worry what others think about you; it's none of your business.
15. Remember that however bad (or good) a situation is, it will inevitably change.
16. Trash everything in your work area that isn't useful or beautiful.
17. Believe that the best is yet to come, no matter what.

Read all below in this great article I found somewhere on the Internet (oops. I totally forgot who wrote this...) 

17 Ways to Be Happier at Work

It's not difficult to experience more joy at work. You just need to know the rules.

A reader recently pointed me to some "rules for a happier life" that various folks have posted in various forms. Here's my take on those rules as they apply to the workplace:

1. Don't compare yourself to others.

Everybody, and I mean everybody, starts out in a different place and is headed on their own journey. You have NO idea where someone else's journey might lead them, so drawing comparisons is a complete waste of time.

2. Never obsess over things you cannot control.

While it's often important to know about other things--like the economy, the markets that you sell to, the actions that others might take, your focus should remain on what you actually control, which is 1) your own thoughts and 2) your own actions.

3. Know and keep your personal limits and boundaries.

While your job might sometimes seem like the most important thing in your world, you're killing a part of yourself if you let work situations push you into places that violate your privacy and your integrity.

4. Don't over commit yourself or your team.

It's great to be enthusiastic and willing to go the "extra mile," but making promises that you (or your team) can't reasonably keep is simply a way to create failure and disappointment.

5. Remember you get the same amount of time every day as everyone else.

You may feel you're short on time and that you need more of it, but the simple truth is that when the day started, you got your fair share: 24 hours. Nobody got any more than you did, so stop complaining.

6. Don't take yourself so seriously; nobody else does.

The ability to laugh at your foibles not only makes you happier as a person, it makes you more powerful, more influential and more attractive to others. If you can't laugh at yourself, everyone else will be laughing behind your back.

7. Daydream more rather than less.

The idea that daydreaming and working are mutually exclusive belongs back in the 20th century. It's when you let your thoughts wander that you're more likely to have the insights that will make you both unique and more competitive.

8. Don't bother with hate; it's not worth the effort.

Hate is an emotional parasite that eats away at your energy and health. If something is wrong with the world and you can change it, take action. If you can't take action, you're better off to forgive and forget.

9. Make peace with your past lest it create your future.

Focusing on past mistakes or wrongs inflicted on you is exactly like driving a car while looking in the rear view mirror. You'll keep heading in the same direction until you collide with something solid.

10. Don't try to "win" every argument.

Some battles aren't worth fighting, and many people are easier to handle when they think they've won the argument. What's important isn't "winning," but what you, and the other people involved, plan to do next.

11. Remember that nobody is in charge of your happiness except you.

While some work environments are inherently difficult, if you're consistently miserable it's your fault. You owe it to yourself and your coworkers to either find a job that makes you happy or make the best of the job you've got.

12. Smile and laugh more frequently.

Contrary to popular belief, smiling and laughter are not the RESULT of being happy; they're part of a cycle that both creates and reinforces happiness. Find reasons to smile.  Never, ever suppress a laugh.

13. Don't waste precious energy on malice and gossip.

Before you tell a story about anybody else, or listen to such a story, ask yourself four questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary? and 4) Would I want somebody telling a similar story about me?

14. Don't worry what others think about you; it's none of your business.

You can't mind read and you don't have everyone else wired into a lie detector. Truly, you really have NO IDEA what anyone is REALLY thinking about you. It's a total waste of time and energy to try.

15. Remember that however bad (or good) a situation is, it will inevitably change.

The nature of the physical universe is change. Nothing remains the same; everything is, as the gurus say, transitory. Whether you're celebrating or mourning or something in between, this, too, will pass.

16. Trash everything in your work area that isn't useful or beautiful.

Think about it: you're going to spend about a third of your waking adult life at work. Why would you want to fill your work environment--and that part of your life--with objects that are useless and ugly?

17. Believe that the best is yet to come, no matter what.

When my grandmother was widowed in her 70s, she went back to college, traveled across Europe in youth hostels, and learned Japanese painting, among many other activities. The last thing she told me was: "You know, Geoffers, life begins at 90."

What do you know about the future?

Google and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the products and quick and easy assess to information. But seriously though, no one likes a know it all.

Especially not a Big Brother type, I-know-everything-about-your-life-and-have-it-all-saved-in-a-database-until-I-can-figure-out-how-to-use-it-against-you know it all. If we were in high school we'd totally be Mean Girls type friends.

All that being said, I effing LOVE Art, Copy & Code, Google's latest advertising experiment.

Check out the site Art, Copy & Code

I can't embed the video (either bc they don't want me to or bc I'm not smart enough) So you can view the video here

And there's also a talking shoe. 

The film is pretty cool. Showing you in real-time where you are and the time you're watching it, and bits and pieces change each time you watch it, making it very dynamic and alive.

Which is where we need to be in today's world. It's a bit easier with social media that totally lives and breathes on the here and now and requires brands to stay on the ball in order to stay relevant.

But when it comes to ad campaigns and such, when we're working on holiday campaigns in August and Mother's Day campaigns in January... we're kinda always behind the curve. We have to be reactive instead of proactive.

My challenge to you today is to think about what you can do as a creative to help this. Off the top of my head - being fluent in the hows and whys of social media, keeping up with trends and changes in just about everything and staying up to date with art, culture, technology and everything that's going on in the news all around the world (gosh that sounds like a full time job all by itself).

The bottom line is: you need to know what's happening now AND more importantly, what's happening next.

Get to work.

Missed Job Opportunities

Last week I posted on various social networks about a job opening for junior creatives needed
ASAP. I was kind of surprised (aka disappointed) by some of the responses, so here are some tips for the future.

Next time you hear/see someone post about a job: 

1. Always, always and always include the link to your portfolio.
What if the person is busy, getting a lot of responses or posting on behalf of someone else (as I was)? You need to make things as easy and clear as possible.

2. Introduce yourself and give reasons why you're awesome.
Show that you're interested, show your personality and give a bit of history so they know something about you - that may be what compels them to actually click on your link.

3. If someone is recommending you (as I was) tell me what makes you so great.
Give me talking points to use when I share your work. Make it as easy as possible to get your work from your hands through mine and to a hiring manager.

4. Ask a few questions about who/what/where.
Sometimes that info cant be released too publicly or unless you're the right fit. But feel free to ask - is there any more info you can give about the opening? Agency? Client?

5. Include your contact info.
In the email and on your site. Go look right now and make sure your email adress is there and easy to find

Overall: Whether it's on Facebook or Linkedin, on a job board or from a friend on the inside - be professional, prompt and personable.

ASAP means as soon as possible aka right this instant bka blink and you'll miss out.

Sample Response:
Hey Neisha, heard you were looking for juniors - which is perfect because I'm a junior copywriter. I've been freelancing a bit at This Place and That Place for a bit, writing for Brand A and doing digital on Brand B. 

Here's my portfolio and one of my side projects - - 
a flowchart for creative concepting. I'm working on some cool stuff right now for Brand X, too. I can share if you're interested. 

Can you give me any info about the agency or client? Would it be on your team? I see on Linkedin you're connected to So Andso and he had great things to say about you. Whether or not this opportunity works out, I'd love to chat more. 

Looking forward to hearing from you. 

It's not perfect, but you get the idea.

Friday Treat: Real Beauty & Advice from a Bluth

With everything in the news this week, we all deserve a few reasons to smile. Here are two little treats, from my heart to yours.

Find something you can share with someone today to make them smile. Even if it's just an emoji song.

1. Parody of Dove Real Beauty Sketches:

The original, if you haven't seen it:
(warning, it may tug at your heart) 

2. And a word from the great Lucille Bluth: More at Buzzfeed's 28 Ways to Live Life Like Lucille Bluth.

We Need To Talk

Tonight  let's get together, and sit and chat for a bit. About advertising, life and everything in between (including how sometimes advertising is your life or ruins your life or just completely ignores that you have a life.) 

Join me for NYCCreative Intern's virtual event tonight (Thurs April 18th) at 8:30pm to talk about things and stuff. What I don't know I will ask Google. What Google doesn't know, I will make up. 

Start thoughters for questions: 

* Why did you become a creative?
* What do you look for in a job/agency? 
* What are some of your favourite things about being a copywriter/creative? 
* What is your average day/week like? 
* Is working in advertising just like they show on Mad Men? 
* Why have you never watched Mad Men? 
* How do you come up with ideas? 
* What are you currently obsessed with? (Spoiler alert: popcorn and anything mean about cats on buzzfeed.)

Other topics I may or may not be willing to discuss: going to portfolio school, getting your book together, getting a job, picking out your afro, finding a partner and what makes a good creative director/mentor/job/assignment/lunch. And anything about 30 Rock and/or Happy Endings.  Plus you'll be able to talk to other people too.

I promise not to talk with food in my mouth. Probably.

Go here to register (click this link) and here is all the relevant info:

[Virtual Event] Creative Q&A: Neisha Tweed, Senior Copywriter at Publicis Kaplan Thaler
Join us for a free, live, virtual, Q&A session with Neisha Tweed, Senior Copywriter at Publicis Kaplan Thaler.

Date: Thursday, April 18th
Time: 8:30pm  - 9:30pm EST
Where: Around the world, LIVE on your computer. This is an online/virtual event.
Registration: Free
On Twitter? Use the hashtag #CreativeQA

Are you wondering how to break into a certain industry? Trying to decide what position or role might be right for you? Our Creative Q&A series is designed to give you access to a successful creative who will share insight into what it takes to break into and advance in a particular industry.

The event will start with our speaker’s short version of how they got to where they are now. The majority of the time will be spent answering your questions, moderated by NY Creative Interns Founder, Emily Miethner. You can ask them live during the event and submit your questions ahead of time when you register.

This is a great opportunity to network with our speaker and your peers.

(IMPORTANT: Once you register here you will receive a link with information with how to access the event on

(this is the link again) ttys

Inspiration: Beautiful Art Direction

What sucks is the fact that no matter how great of an idea I come up with, or how amazing and
smart my headline/tagline is - without great art direction - it all falls flat.

This is tough for a writer because you have to understand your limitations and you have to depend on someone else who may not share your vision or have the skills to properly bring it to life. (This is why you should be very discerning about picking a partner.)

At the same time, this is why good art directors should pat themselves on the back. It takes skill to make a good idea shine and a bad idea look shiny.

Here are some examples of beautiful and creative art direction. 
(Please note - that are also - mostly - good and strategic ideas. I know I just mentioned making bad ideas look shiny, but that is the opposite of what you should do. Good design makes great things greater. Write it down. That should be your goal today. "I'm going to make a great thing greater." Ok carry on.)

(via Copyranter )

American Psycho




Grass Roots


Swedish Fish

Makati City fire station

Free & Discounted Tax Day Treats

April Fools isn’t the only day brands do things to get attention. Tax Day (April 15th) is also seemingly random day that non-tax-filing-related brands get hype about. What's great is that they get more people in the door and most likely spending more money. Plus, they're getting publicity, which is always a good thing. 

The question is - how do you get them to come back on April 17th. Or May 21st? 

Hmm. Pondering. 

But hey - I'm not complaining – I love free stuff!

Here are a list of freebies and treats you can get today: 

AMC Movie Theatres – Free small popcorns. 
Arby’s – Free curly fries or potato cakes
Auntie Anne’s - $1 pretzels (offer through 4/30)
Baskin-Robbins – Buy one cone, get one for 99 cents (through 4/16)
Bonefish Grill - $5 Bang Bang Shrimp from 4pm to closing
Boston Market – Two rib meals (with mashed potatoes, sweet corn and cornbread) for $10.40). Also, enter online to win free ribs meal.
Brio Tuscan Grille – no tax on your bill
Bruegger’s - $3.50 off 13 bagels and 2 tubs of cream cheese. ($10.40 total)
California Pizza Kitchen – Free small plate with drink purchase (through 5/1)
California Tortilla – free order of chips and queso with purchase when you use the password “1040”
Carvel – 18-pack of Oreo Lil Rounders for $10.40
Chili’s – free appetizer or dessert with entrée
Cinnabon – Two free bites between 6 and 8pm
Entertainment 2013 Coupon Books - $10.40
Great American Cookies – Free birthday cake cookie
Hallmark – Free, personalized and animated e-card – 15% off any deal $100 or under with promo code TAXDAY (before 11am)
McDonald’s – Buy 1 Big Mac and get the other for 1 penny. (South Fl only)
Office Depot – Free copies of your tax return and free document shredding
Olive Garden – Buy one entrée and take one home for $12.95 (I don’t think this is a tax day related promo but it’s a good one nonetheless)
Outback Steadkhouse – Free Bloomin’ Onion with mention of “Ryan Newman”
P.F. Chang’s - $10 off your meal with entrée purchase
Panda Express – (Wednesday 17th) free Samurai Surf and Turf entrée
Papa John’s – Large three-topping pizza and 2 litres of Pepsie online for $10.40 with the code TAXSPC
RaceTrac – Free pastry with coupon (through 4/30)
Sonic – 50% off drinks and slushies
Starbucks - $2 Starbuck Refreshers noon until close with a morning receipt
Subway – Biy one get one free breakfast sandwiches before 9 am (through 4/30)
Taco Bell - $1 Loaded Grillers, Sparklers, Freezes and medium drinks from 2 – 5pm
Teavana – Buy one cup of tea and get one free. (Through 5/12)
White Castle – 15% off in-store and online orders

·      * Note that some of these offers require coupons, so ask Google or check Facebook for those.
·      * 1040 is a nod to the tax form