There’s been some questions knocking about on how to secure a year long placement and having started my career with one I thought I’d write a quick post on it.
The first thing to really bare in mind is that these are quite rare and that it is at the total discretion of an agency to give one outside of their usual grad scheme. You’ll be going there with little to no experience and it will take time and resources of the agency to get you up to speed to become useful to them. So what you have to barter on is your passion, willingness to learn and contribute beyond the call of duty (late hours) and that you’re cheap….really cheap. It’s not a pretty picture really but if you secure a year long placement I can’t begin to explain how invaluable it will be to your career. You’ll walk into grad schemes knowing how agency depts work, you’ll understand the processes and more than likely you’ll know more about the agency than your competition.
Secondly is getting in the door to be considered. The best thing to do is get your CV in total tip top quality. Rather than writing one which follows the standard template start to think about what someone in an ad agency will look for in an account assistant. It’ll be admin skills, co-ordination, commitment and dedication and also a glimpse that you’ll be a fun addition to the team. I tried a number of styles of cover letters to secure mine, the out there ones rarely worked to be honest, it was more the demonstration of passion and interest in the said agency and industry.
Thirdly, get really tight with the IPA. Call them up and ask to speak to someone who can give advice on graduate training schemes, then ask about a year long placement, do they know of any, how often do they come about, will you look at my CV and see if its ok and if you hear of one pass on my details. Send an A4 envelope with your CV and bespoke cover letter to every agency under the sun. It’s a DM campaign so the more you send the more chance you have to secure an interview. All this seeding should be done over the course of around 9 months before you want to take a placement. You may get one early but in case you don’t this kind of planning will allow you to chip away at the industry for a long period of time before you crack your way in. The more desks and HR people that see your name the more likely they’ll remember it if you come up again. Familiarity leads to consideration which leads to conversion.
Then when you secure that interview, it’s the case of researching that agency over and over again well as its competitors.
That’s the basics really, post a question if you want to know specifics.