Find the names inside the door, not on it

Originally published on LinkedIn in May, 2023.

Unpopular opinion: It’s not about working at a big name, trending ad agency. It’s about who you work under.

I can’t tell you how many students I’ve had that want to work at the top ad agency, rightfully so. But then they hit me up when they’ve “made it” and have no clear mentorship or support. They checked off the name in their resume, but not someone to take them under their wing.

Granted, I was in this position myself. I didn’t know the first thing about how to look for who to work under, let alone what agency to work at all. But here are some things I wish I knew before I started my search as an intern/rising junior.

-Ask creatives who currently work at the agency what their experience is working under their CD/ECD.
-Check out campaigns on Adweek, Ispot, Adage, Cannes Lions, One Show, etc. literally anything that houses work and check to see the CDs/ECDs that executed it. Good starting point.
-Define during the interview what are key things you’re looking for—bettering craft,ideation, presentation, skills, whatever. 

I’m sure there’s more nuggets I left out. But all in all, I think this is a perspective I never once heard during ad school, and once I broke into the industry realized it more and more.

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