How to Get An Interview at a Marketing Agency

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Marilyn Heywood Paige shares the real-world application of IMC in the agency setting

How To Land Your First Job at A Marketing Agency: A Two Part Series

Part II – How to Get An Interview at a Marketing Agency

informational-interview

In part I of this two-part series, I outlined five ways to position yourself for an agency gig even if you don’t have any marketing experience. After reading it, you may have thought, “That’s great except how do I get the interview in the first place?” It’s a fair question. Without experience, how will you get your resume through the HR software? The answer is, you don’t. You have to go old school on their asses. You have to pull out tactics from back in the day and use them like you have been doing them all your Millennial life.

Use Snail Mail

If you were creating a marketing campaign for a client, you would use your IMC knowledge and create a multi-channel effort. While the digital channels may be most in your comfort zone, snail mail gets through because it’s unexpected.

Create a direct mail postcard campaign with yourself as the featured product. Assemble a targeted mailing list, write the copy, design the piece, (or have it professionally designed) optimize the offer and the call to action.

Remember your IMC lessons on frequency and reach and send the same or a slightly different version of the postcard every month to your targeted mailing list of hiring managers at different agencies. Show them that you are a true IMC practitioner and include your social media profile and the web address of your portfolio on the postcard.

Network Like You Mean It

There are advertising and marketing associations all around the world where you can meet other marketing professionals. Use these associations’ websites to find events in your area that you can attend. Show up to at least two events with your perfected 30-second elevator pitch and your resume. Make it a goal to meet and talk with at least ten people and to ask each of them if they know of any agencies who are looking to hire entry level candidates. Follow up on every lead you get.

Ask For An Informational Interview

An informational interview is a twenty to thirty-minute interview that you initiate to gather information on an organization, industry or role within a company. It is not a job interview. Informational interviews are a tool to help you meet people in the industry you are targeting to learn more about their job, their challenges, and what they are looking for in new hires. You can use LinkedIn to research agencies and their personnel to develop a wish list of people you want to talk to. If you subscribe to LinkedIn Premium, you can send messages to people you don’t know.

The trick to informational interviewing is to make it clear that you are not looking for a job, but that you are gathering information about the industry, company or role so that you can make informed career decisions. Coming from this angle takes the pressure off the potential interviewee and makes them more open to helping you. (You can find great how to’s on getting an informational interview, preparing for it, and conducting one like a pro at themuse.com).

Be Tenacious

Jamie T. of Fort Collins, Colorado started looking for agency work in her junior year of her undergraduate marketing program. She emailed, and cold called dozens of agencies to secure a summer internship. The one agency she was most attracted to didn’t return her calls, and when she finally got someone on the phone, they weren’t all that interested and put her off. (Okay, it was my agency, and we initially blew her off.) Jamie didn’t give up. She kept asking the owner of the firm (my boss) for an opportunity until he finally said yes.

Perseverance won the day. Jamie got her agency internship and when she graduated from school the following summer we offered her a full-time slot in our firm.

If you’re short on experience, it can be difficult to get an interview at a marketing agency. But if you use these old-school tactics, you’ll stand out and likely get a hiring manager’s attention.

Marilyn Heywood Paige is the Vice President of FiG Advertising and Marketing in Denver Colorado. She earned her Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University in 2013.

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