After going through a recent recruitment bout, I thought it would be helpful to give some tips as to how to secure that all important job in the creative department of an agency.
In these hard times, if you can get your CV into the right hands you are far more likely to be awarded the job over someone coming through an agency. No one likes paying extra for someone, who with a little effort of looking at CVs they could have found themselves. So go that extra mile, do your research and send your CV to the places where you would like to work, regardless of whether there are available positions. If that fails, you have nothing to lose by going on recruiters' books.
The right person
Make sure you send your CV to the right person. Getting a CV that has come via [email protected] instantly feels impersonal, as if it has been sent out as part of a blanket email. Even worse when you get it twice from both sources. Even worse than that is when the sender has forgotten to replace the previous agencies name! The CV goes straight in the bin.
Stand out from the crowd
Everyone sends an email with an attached PDF or web link. When you receive at least four or five a day, they start to merge into one. Go back to old school, send something in the post, this could be as simple as a nicely handwritten letter with your CV, people rarely get post these days, so the novelty of a letter provides impact.
Try, try and try again
If you do send something in the post, email two days later mentioning what you sent, this ensures there’s more than just a name to connect everything together. Ensure your email has a PDF or web link to samples of your work, if you have not heard anything a few days later give them a ring! If they haven’t had time to read it they will say so. Two days after the phone call, if you have still not had a reply send another email. If nothing else the creative director will be so sick of you that you will get a definite no thanks, please come in and see us, or please call back in 6 months time. Do not take this as a brush off. Put it in your diary and stick to it. It is all about timing and by this time, your name will seem so familiar you will be like an old family friend.
There is nothing worse than bad typography on a CV. Make sure you check it thoroughly before sending. This is all your prospective employer has to go on, so you need to make an amazing impression. Don't say you have great attention to detail and then pepper the piece with widows!
Content is king
Be passionate in what you say and how you say it. Take time to look at the work that the agency has done and demonstrate how your skills will complement and enhance their offer. Tailor your examples to pieces that are relevant to the agency’s main client base. If they mainly do B2B a variety of nightclub flyers aren't going to cut the mustard.
Word of mouth
This is the best way by far to get a job, use your contacts, if you know anyone that freelances around different agencies ask them if they know of anything coming up. Go on LinkedIn see who’s recently moved and send your CV to where they have come from. No matter how few jobs there are around there is always something.
Do not take it to heart
If your kind of work isn't right for one agency it doesn't mean it won't be for another. If you really want to get in somewhere research their client base, find an angle and produce a piece of speculative work for them. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Good Luck!