FIVE

How i learned to love networking.

Networking? What? No way, never in a million years! I’d rather clean toilets…

So, for those of you that don’t know me (and know me). I was incredibly shy – however, I’ve worked on shyness over the years by putting myself in uncomfortable social situations. In my teenage years and early 20s I’ve worked customer service jobs and hospitality jobs because I knew I wanted to get better at talking to people. I’ll never forget pushing my restaurant manager to make me a bartender, because I needed the challenge of talking to people.

But the time came when I needed to start looking for a new job. I wanted something more, but I just didn’t know what. That’s when my dad mentioned that I should start networking.

“What? Networking? No way will I ever be able to do this! Getting coffee with people, talking to them? No way!!!”. I remember being so overwhelmed with this idea, and thinking that I would not be able to do this. Something about reaching out to people and meeting up with them and asking them questions and talking to them was incredibly intimidating. I couldn’t even imagine myself doing this. It was way too scary. I would much rather stay at my job that I was clearly unhappy at… or clean toilets.

But then I hit that point of my serving career that I couldn’t bear anymore. There was no chance I would do this forever, and I needed something more. So, I got in touch with a few people. I started small, people that my dad knew. Then I kept going. I started talking to people on LinkedIn, people that I didn’t even know. These people helped me figure out that I wanted to go into advertising, and if I didn’t make a small move I wouldn’t have built the courage to reach out to them.

Fast forward a few years. Since then I’ve been meeting with people, grabbing coffees, going in for portfolio reviews, informational interviews and even real interviews. Of course, many of them were still intimidating, and I definitely think I’ve messed up a few with being too nervous. I’ll still have those nervous meetings from time to time, especially when I stumble on my words or forget a question (or ask a question that is way too broad…).

But with each face-to-face meeting, I’ve gotten better at it. This is a big thing for a former shy person to say (who am I kidding… I still am shy… but I fight it pretty hard!).

Never would I thought that in a few years’ time I would be reaching out to people and networking with a sense of each. This time 3 years ago, I would have not believed it.

If it seems overwhelming at first and you can’t seem to get past it, start small. You don’t have to see the peak of the mountain, you just have to see the first few feet. You being intimidated by something that you cannot perceive yourself doing may hinder you from taking action.

That’s why I believe it’s so important to start small.

And honestly, at this point. I love meeting with people and learning something new. I hope one day you will too!

Now get networking:)

-S.

FOUR

Still looking for an internship in advertising? Here’s some advice.

The internship, or job hunt is definitely a trying time. You are faced in a world of uncertainty, talking to strangers and getting ghosted/ rejected on a daily basis (depending on how many interviews/ informational interviews you are getting). Especially in advertising, when your book is the biggest part of your career. You put so much hard work and effort into making something that you have much pride in, only to get feedback that you have to work harder.

This is a good thing.

Feedback is so incredibly necessary when improving on your book. Without it, you won’t know what to improve on. And it’s a whole lot tougher when you’re in it alone.

Here’s some useful advice I’ve learned so far.

Get a copywriter/ art director partner. If you can’t find a partner to commit, find someone to bounce ideas and share the work with. Working alone is a lot harder. However, don’t rush into finding someone just for the sake of having a partner. You need to work well together.

Set up interviews/ portfolio viewings. But then get back to the grind and make working on your book a full-time job. Try and find a few ACDs and CDs to give you feedback along the way. In the end, they’re the ones that will hire you.

Set a work back schedule. Give yourself a set amount of time to complete a project.

Once you improved your portfolio. Repeat. Meet with the ACDs and CDs and get more feedback. Who knows, maybe you will get hired? It’s about making your book great and making connections. A bit difficult, but from what I’ve learned… this career is about passion, determination and hard work. Getting an internship doesn’t guarantee you a job either, so working on your skills before you find one is a good thing to do.

Right now, this is the stage where I’m at. I’ve learned an incredible amount, but now it’s time for me to get down and dirty and work on my book. I just finished my program 3 weeks ago, and literally just started searching for internships a week ago. It doesn’t happen overnight. And in the end, your persistence and grit will help you in the future of your career. When you get discouraged, just remember this is part of the process. This will only make you better.

Comment below to tell me about your experiences finding an internship or even a job as an art director or copywriter. What have you learned so far? Or any advice you can give?

 

-S.

THREE.

The job hunt.

Yup. It’s hard writing about this. Job hunting is extremely difficult. The discouragement, the rejection. All I can say is that you have to have a good attitude about it. And a heck of a lot of patience.

I wanted to write something for all of you looking for jobs that you’re passionate about, and going through that feeling of discouragement. This is definitely a difficult time. All I can say is… be patient, and be persistent. You will get there. Take in all the lessons that you receive. You will have your days when you feel as if you’re not good enough and that you won’t land that job. But let me tell you, you will get there. Learn from your interviews, write down what you did wrong and how you can improve for next time. Send thank you e-mails or cards. Do what it takes. Eventually you will land something, but it has to be the right time and the right place. Don’t give up. The bad days will come with the good, and in the end, it will be worth it.

I have a goal in mind. I know I want to be an art director, and I am going to stop at nothing to get there. I’ve learned so much along the way, and these lessons will be incredibly helpful for my success in the future. So far, I’ve met with many great art directors, creative directors and designers. The feedback I’ve received is so incredibly helpful and encouraging. It just reinforces that this is the career I am meant to get into.

 In the end, this message is for me just as much as it is for you. Keep on going, it will only make you stronger and more resilient for your career.

If anyone has their job hunt story, feel free to share in the comments below:)

-S.

Two.

Why Advertising?

First and foremost, an important question is, how are you passionate about something that you’ve never truly experienced? 

The truth is, you need to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions about what you’re going into before you can even know the slightest bit. Of course, there are internships you can learn from… but you still need to do the work to get them, and it will be difficult without the slightest bit of knowledge.

We can guess what a career would be like, and we can fantasize and idealize. And for people wanting to go into advertising, we can dream about being like Mad Men and drinking in our offices (No joke, I’ve actually talked to students who think advertising is exactly like Mad Men).

But that’s not reality.

I started with a grain of interest. I knew that I needed to be creative in order to be happy. I’ve always found ways in my life to create something, whether it be YouTube videos, paintings, crafts, social media content and stories… I’ve just always had that passion. I also knew that I needed to be challenged. Sitting and painting in a studio all day wasn’t for me. I learned that quickly in university. I also had a huge curiosity for understanding human behaviour. Why do we act the way we do? What is the driving force behind our behaviours? These were questions that I asked myself every day, and still do. And lastly, I needed to be around people. Working in a collaborative environment was something that I discovered that I thrived off (I worked in a restaurant for some time, so working with people was like a recharge to my batteries).

I knew these things about myself. And I knew I wanted to find a career that would challenge me in all sorts of ways.

That’s when the networking began. I started off small. Chatting to people in marketing, sales and other careers. I needed to find answers. I learned what I liked and didn’t like. I then started speaking to account directors, and then this all eventually led me to creative directors. Soon enough, I got some pretty good advice from a creative director that worked at Grey at the time. By that point, I decided I wanted to go all in, and go back to school.

-S.