Liam Danby, creative planning director, ID Experiential
Work placements and internships are often limited to those who can afford to work for next to nothing, but running a club night, setting up an eBay store, designing a website and booking a market stall are all great ways to gain insights into consumer behaviour and demonstrate business acumen.
In many ways, most experiential campaigns are like mini start-ups. You have a budget, require a return and must engage and excite people. Self-starters with this kind of experience are often well-prepared for agency life and stand out in the application process.
Break the mould
If you’ve just graduated from university it’s likely that your CV is going to look pretty much like everyone else’s. A potential employer is likely to require the basics such as your qualifications and experience, but this alone is not going to get you an interview.
Consider curating something from the vast range of content that’s out there that says something unique about you or your suitability for the job. It’s easier, and often more effective, than creating something from scratch.
Clients are at the centre of everything a marketing agency does. Make your application directly relevant to the agency’s clients. Have you spotted some work that might be relevant or do you have any great ideas for future work? Ultimately if you prove you can solve the business challenges an agency faces, you’ll probably get an interview, and again, no direct experience required.
It is not necessary to have a degree in marketing or advertising to work in a marketing agency. Our last recruit had an architectural background. Any degree that develops analytical skills and critical thinking will, broadly speaking, be applicable. A good agency will train you on industry specifics and at the rate media is changing, many of the stats and metrics universities are teaching could well be outdated by the time you graduate.
Andy McDonald, managing director, The Persuaders
One of the most important things we look for in an applicant is someone who shows us a wealth of knowledge and interests inside and outside the industry. We want someone who understands the world we live in and has a savvy perspective on life. It shows that they’ll be good at problem solving and good under pressure.
We need someone who can take their own initiative and not be afraid to think outside the box on how to solve a problem. This is why we feel that a degree in marketing is not always essential. Our own way into the world of events was via a series of experiences in the industry, from clubs, through theatre and TV to working with brands.
We greatly value experience more than any kind of degree. It’s about learning from the bottom up. We are always looking for new ideas and new angles to see things. Be prepared to learn, every day.
Creative cultural history
Another thing we look for is someone who has an understanding of creative cultural history, not just stuff that’s trending right now. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be found out there and we’re impressed by your knowledge of art and film as much as how many Twitter followers you have. A keen interest in books and newspapers is as important as social media.
Preparation is key
When meeting new agencies or going for job interviews, we always think it’s nice when the prospective applicant has researched the company’s work and ethos before they go in to meet them. A little bit of groundwork is always flattering and shows that you’re interested.
Sarah Yeats, client services director, Sledge
Cannes and cold car parks
The world of experiential is so varied and exciting but it doesn’t suit everyone. One weekend you can be at Cannes enjoying all the sights and sounds of the film festival while ‘working’, and the next you are standing in a car park in the cold and wet.
No matter what your age or level, get out there and start working on events, either through promotional work or volunteering. Everything you experience and the people you meet will be invaluable.
Being confident but personable is important. It’s surprising how an event or key contact comes about, so always be interested in those you are interacting with as you never know when or how you might be working together again in the future.
Being organised is a key skill to have. How an individual manages their own time can be very reflective to how they work on site. A calm approach is also needed as no matter how much planning takes place, things will always change at the last minute and you need to be able to deal with this effectively to ensure a successful event for all involved with as minimal disruption as possible.
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