Love Advertising

A full-service advertising agency based in Houston, Texas

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

By Love Advertising

Houston, Love Advertising

5 Key Tips to Landing an Ad Job out of College

Well, here it comes. It’s the time of year when young soon-to-be-college-graduates are ramping up their anxiety about finding a job. With graduation just around the corner, pressure begins to mount from all angles…parents, classmates, professors, counselors and your own desire to find success.

When it comes to a career in advertising or marketing, unfortunately you’ve chosen a field that is highly competitive and sometimes even poorly compensated for the entry-level personnel. But, you’ve also chosen a field that interests you because of the innumerable upsides that make it exciting. A job within an ad agency allows you to experience the rush of new creative ideas, a variety of brands and personalities, assignments and opportunities that you may not find elsewhere, all with the potential to shine like never before.

What about the money?  Excuse me?  Did you think there was any?  Actually, the ad biz gets a bad rap for having a reputation for low-paying jobs. The reality is that those people who flourish and generate results move quickly up the ladder (meaning your compensation increases with each new challenge tossed your way along the path). Coming straight out of college, you can expect to make around $30-35K as an entry level account assistant or creative staffer in Houston. It can vary by firm and by geography, but not dramatically. How briskly that number increases is entirely up to you.

So how does one land a job with an agency right out of undergrad?  Beyond having the innate people-skills required in a very high-touch industry, along with creating positive chemistry in your interview, there are some things you can do proactively to get the edge in landing an ad job. Based on my experience over the years, here are the five key areas that you can, and should, influence:

1. Résumé. Build a strong one page resume…make it pop, this is the ad world after all. If you held a job while in college, describe your duties. If you helped fund your college, state that as well. Did you intern and gain real-world experience?  Your resume makes your first impression, without you being in the room to defend or explain it. Does it tell the story of YOU?  It should sell you in your absence. If it doesn’t, then rewrite it. But always make sure you have the right contact information on your resume. You’d be surprised how many new grads put down their temporary addresses and emails and forget to update them once they leave campus. Also, proof it well. I have tossed out many resumes simply because there was a single typo. The agency business is a detail and deadline oriented business. Embrace it.

2. Cover Letter. Wow. I’ve seen cover letters that actually have the agency misspelled in the first sentence. Or the letter is addressed “to whom it may concern.”  Actually, no one I know is concerned, so do some homework and find a name of the right person in the firm to send it to.  Make sure the right letter goes in the right envelope, or if you email it all in, make sure the attachments match. Nothing hits the round file faster than typos and perceived laziness via your documents. Get to the point, toss out a compliment, prove you know the agency and make them want to know more about you. Your goal is not the job, but the interview. Once you have that, THEN you can focus on the job. Many times you will find that an agency may create an opening where one does not exist because you are such a find.

3. The Search. This is where you get the real advantage. Almost every agency has a jobs tab on their website.  Almost every city has a professional organization for ad agency types that typically have an online job bank. In Houston, for example, it resides on www.aaf-houston.org. Very few newcomers I meet ever bother to look around at sites like these.  Exploit them and make a hit list of those companies or job types you really want to go after. Talk to your placement office at your college. Look up industry trade journal web sites… anything that will give you more information on an agency’s needs. Random salvos to agency’s that are downsizing or stagnant are just a waste of time. Spend your valuable time going for the hot ones.

4. Internships.  Participate in at least one if you can. Many agencies have developed strong programs to not only provide the experience to students, but to ultimately identify those all-stars that they would likely want to hire. Call around.  Search the Internet. Talk to professors and friends. Find the agencies that have the program and make contact. No recent grad wants to begin a career with an unpaid internship, yet unfortunately, we see that all the time. The best time to intern is during the summer and holiday break before your graduation. You want a real paying job offer BEFORE you graduate, not six months after. An internship either lands you a job with the agency or expands your network and experience.  Either way, you can’t lose.

5. Leverage. This is the biggest and best tool in your job search toolbox. You need to leverage your contacts. By that, I mean you need to talk to your parents, your friends’ parents, your professors, old bosses, rich uncles and other extended family. No one, and I mean no one, gets to the top of the interview list faster than a person that comes recommended from a “friend of the agency.”  Remember that many of your personal contacts may know agency people, or even may be a client of an agency. Make those calls and ask for help. Most decent folks won’t refuse to assist a new grad when and where they can. All of us went through the job hunt after college and still understand the stress. So ask and pull whatever strings you can to get in front of an interviewer.  If you are ever turned down after an interview, ask how you could improve, and always ask for other leads on job openings. Sometimes you may not have been hired simply because of the timing, so they may give you a name or two to contact if you ask.

Finally, be sharp. Look sharp. Know your audience and pay attention to detail. If you follow those above steps and still can’t land a decent ad job, you’re not working hard enough at finding the right fit. Go get ‘em.


Monday, April 9th, 2012

By Love Advertising

Houston, Love Advertising

“And this agency feels just right.”

It is just a typical Tuesday afternoon. The stairwells swarm with “groupers” as everyone huddles around the banisters to see the man in charge introduce us to a potential new client. This is no “hi and bye” and we all go along our merry little way, oh no, once proper introductions are made it is time to show our visitors what groupers are made of. How you may ask? Obviously through a game of bowling with mangos, a round of agency jeopardy, or a pie eating contest, of course. It may be a little intimidating for a potential client to scarf down mouthfuls of whip cream and pie crust in front of an audience of 750, but have no worries, this is the norm for client visits at one of the largest independent agencies in the nation.

Fast-forward two years to today, and here I am 200 miles away working at Love Advertising. I am surrounded by 40 employees that all know my name and most likely my clients’ names too! While there are no pie eating contests to introduce new clients, potential clients always receive a warm welcome and usually have the opportunity to meet not just the team members working on their business, but a lot of times, the entire agency.

While client introductions in no way define an agency, it is just one of the differences I have encountered having worked at both a large and mid-size agency. Here are a few others:

While there are probably a million other differences, both agencies share some of the most important qualities that make them each successful – they are dedicated to their clients, they employ extremely hard working individuals, and they have a passion for producing great work.


Monday, February 6th, 2012

By Love Advertising

Houston, Love Advertising, Media

Shannon Sweats the Small Stuff

Last night, people gathered around their televisions to watch one of the biggest TV events of the year- the Super Bowl! Party invitations were sent out a month ago and meals were planned a week in advance. Die-hard football fans got together to reminisce about their Fantasy Football teams, and placed final bets on the color of the Gatorade poured on the winning coach. Even non-football fans attended parties to get in on all of the fun. While some wouldn’t miss one second of the football game, others didn’t miss one second of the commercials.

What did I do? I probably did the opposite of most viewers. I got in my sweats around 5 p.m., set the game to record, an headed to the grocery store. The game was about midway through the 2nd quarter when I finished dinner. I started the game from the beginning and then fast-forwarded through the game to only watch the commercials and of course, the halftime show by Madonna. Sitting alone comfortably in front of the television, I was really able to focus on the ads. I guess you can say that I take my commercial watching pretty seriously.

This morning, I collaborated with our Senior Art Director, Adam Faust, to evaluate and reflect on all of the Super Bowl advertising. Traditionally, we evaluate the ads based on its hilarity, but there is a lot more to it. A few other tidbits that came to mind when watching this year’s commercials;

Social Media. This was the first year that social media played a huge role before, during and after the game. We were given previews of several Super Bowl commercials weeks before game day, and others were launched entirely on the web and shared throughout various social media outlets. This is a good article from Ad Age that shows the impact of social media on this year’s Super Bowl game.

Other opportunities.   Some local and national advertisers took advantage of the Super Bowl without having to purchase a spot during the game. Some advertisers created an entire campaign to promote a Super Bowl special offer. Check out what Papa John’s did this year

We decided to get the entire agency together over pizza to dissect the ads. Here is what the folks at Love Advertising think about the commercials. Well…

  1. We often times see the same advertiser run a commercial year after year, so we are able to anticipate what ads we think will do the best based on what they ran in  prior years. Some of them pay off while others are a big let down. While Bud Light had some good contenders, we thought that the Bud Light “Platinum” ad was a disappointment. Another let down was the Coca Cola Polar Bears campaign. However, Doritos kept up their pace with “Sling Baby” and “Man’s Best Friend.” And with all the social media buzz over the Honda “Matthew’s Day Off” ad, a take-off of the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, we could only expect nothing but greatness. We saw greatness, and it definitely paid off.
  2. Automakers definitely took over the night, but which one was the best? Our successful consensus went to Audi who decided to play on the vampire pop culture trend with “Vampire Party.”
  3. Who was our favorite celebrity appearance? Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno in the Acura “Transactions” commercial.
  4. There were several ads that made a big impact; for instance, the Best Buy “Innovators” commercial made us want to go invent something that will change the world, and who wouldn’t want to rescue a dog after seeing the Bud Light “Rescue Dog” commercial? But it was the Chrysler “Halftime in America” ad that touched us the most.
  5. Which ad made us laugh out loud the most? The “Happy Grad” commercial for Camaro had us rolling, and the dog, or “underdog” that moonwalked across the finish line in the Sketchers “Go Run” commercial was hard to beat.
  6. Our overall favorite ad goes to the M&M’s “Just My Shell.”
  7. And the worst ad of the night went to TaxAct.com with “Feel the Free.” Not only did this ad had nothing to do with the product it was also just kind of gross.

We’d love to hear your take on this year’s ads, best, worst, most impactful?

 


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3550 West 12th Street
Houston, TX 77008
713-552-1055