Probably one of my worst attempts at a rhyme but lets move on. Will covered off the nice stuff on empathy but lets get to the nitty gritty of getting you in. You first of all have to love to compete and more to the point love to compete when you’re confident that you’ll win, why else bother? Remember that this is all about you, your future career will take about 70% of your life away from everything else so it has to be right. Also, don't you dare be intimidated by ad agencies whether it's calling them for an internship, having an interview or just thinking you're not good enough. In Paul Arden's words you're as good as you want to be so it'll be survival of the hunger (and witty). Also, ad agencies like a bit of attitude, it's what creative people generally have in advertising, don't be an all out know it all wanker (like I am) as you'll get slapped down very quickly, but it's okay to be playfully cocky which I'll come to later. This post really is about a level of self confidence, having a total disregard for the competition when trying to get into advertising and (although not really mentioned in this post) also when you do get in don't you ever let anyone talk to you like a piece of shit ever ever ever no matter what you've done or forgotten to do. Pick your fights wisely but at the same time don't allow some insecure twat to take out their inferiority on you. Sorry about that, was getting a bit ranty.
When applying for your grad schemes there will be approx 5 places for new grads. There will be on average about 300 initial applications. You would think that most of these will be at a high standard, wrong, the majority of applications I’ve sifted through are nothing short of being proper shit. However, that’s no excuse for you to take this as notion of comfort. Oh no, this is really an opportunity that can’t be missed. While your counterparts will be answering questions regarding their favourite ads with examples such a Transformers for Citroen or of course Sony Balls you have to think, maybe I should be different. Why not go back in time to some of the classics, Hamlet advertising for example or Iguana for Benson & Hedges, YouTube it, then google it and research it, get a few insights, facts into how they were made, what they did and then bullshit a rationale as to why you love it. You may of course like them in reality but this is application time so will require some verbal sugar around it. Always, always think of what the chump in front of you will be saying and working out how you can come across smarter.
Have any of you read Paul Arden’s 2nd book? ‘It’s Not How Good You Are It’s How Good You Want To Be’ was his first book but his second is ‘Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite’. I don’t care what anyone says about Arden claiming the obvious, the guy is a fucking genius and is so right on pretty much every page. You should get a read of it really if for no other reason that it’s quite motivating.
Anyway, back to the original idea of this post and my next comment may sound quite controversial so apologies in advanced. I really don’t believe you will have that much success in advertising unless you have (or harder to do, but develop) a slightly dark and cynical side to you. For one thing it allows you to cope with the everyday knocks and falls you have when you’re a grad. Secondly, it’s the currency of banter in the upper circles of ad agencies. The guy or girl with the slightly sick sense of humour seems to either have better ideas or gets more laughs and either of those two are what essentially advances your career. I don’t subscribe to a twee, lovely, sweet and oh so joyous outlook on life (like some of those famous for blogging do) and prefer to think of the inappropriate. I wont insist that you do this, it has gotten me into trouble more times than I care to remember. The very very very very long winded point I’m trying to make is that humour and colloquial verbalisation of natural thought are often key in this industry. It’s okay for you to maybe have fun in a dark way with some of your questions in applications, remember, these are colourful people, they have to sift through 299 other applications that usually say the most mundane tripe in a really dire way. Like a planner think of your audience, think of what state your reviewer will be in when they read your application, usually pissed off they've been given this job, hating the guy from Cambridge who thought it would be creative to write everything upside down, more than likely looking at emails whilst trying to care what you've written. So take artistic license, this isn’t an exam and this isn’t a job at a bank, enjoy writing them. Listen to nasty electro while you write them, whatever it takes. Anyway, I’m off, sicko night at Turnmills awaits. Speak soon.