Sunday, January 25, 2009

Be Selfish. Volunteer.

I just wrapped up one of my favorite weekends of the year – ADDY judging weekend.

As judging chair, I was responsible for putting together our panel of judges. After a few months of searching and calling, we landed some of the top talent from around the nation.

This past weekend, they came to Kansas City for two days to judge 1,200 or so pieces.

In order to make judging weekend happen, we needed volunteers. About 25 or so.

Our volunteers included creative directors, art directors, writers, photographers, account managers and, yes, students. And they all worked together to make judging run smoothly. 

What a great chance to get to know people in the industry (and for them to know you). How often do you get the chance to work on an equal level with a creative director? Or a well-connected writer? Or even a potential co-worker? (Remember, the best way to get in the door is through a current employee.)

Want to get hired? Be known. Want to be known? Get involved as an industry volunteer. 

I know many volunteers who landed jobs based on connections made through organizations like Ad Club.

You just have to be selfish – by volunteering.

(And who knows? You may even get the chance to meet people whose work you admire. I did.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Follow and Be Followed

Most job openings are never advertised. You just have to know about them ... or luck upon them.

Unfortunately, luck is an inconsistent (and unreliable) ally. So you need to become an information junkie. And the more information you have, the "luckier" you become.

Target the places you want to work. Yeah, yeah, you've heard this before. "Read their web site, Google them, blah, blah, blah ..." Yes, you need to do that, but everyone else is doing that too. You need inside information. How to find that?

Simple. Follow them. On Twitter. On LinkedIn. On Facebook.

You'll be amazed at the daily going-ons you learn through following people. Especially on Twitter. I've seen tweets that tell me about layoffs, job openings and job changes (which means their old job is open). The secret is to follow people who work there rather than the company itself. You'll get the real story that way.

Armed with that information, you can "luck in" to calling the hiring person just as they need someone. Amazing how timing can change their reaction to your call.

Get out there and follow, follow, follow.

By the way, to get you started: Kevin on Twitter, Kevin on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Read "You Are The President Of Your Career"

Here's a great post by Chris Brogan about taking charge of your career. 

Here's a sample:

"Understand that just doing what you've been doing won't really work for more than a handful of months, because everything around you is changing. If you don't change, you'll fall behind."

Then he gives a simple prescription.

Give it a read.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Print-Only is Dead

"I'm a print designer. I don't do interactive."

Sorry. Then you don't stand a chance of working here.

If you can only deliver print, your chances of getting the job drop – drastically. We're in a digital world. Our clients need digital solutions. And most of us older (over age 35) advertising folks are counting on you to help us deliver. If you can't, we move on to someone who can.

And in this incredibly tight market, you'll be left high and dry.

What to do? Upgrade your skills.

Learn programming, yes. But also make sure you have a good understanding of a variety of communication methods. How can you offer your clients the best solutions if you're not aware of the options available?

We all need to know digital communications. And for recent grads, it's simply the price of entry.

Print isn't dead. But print-only communicators are.

(By the way, my good friend Alistair Tutton lectured me for not being on Twitter. Now you can follow me here. Or, if you're LinkedIn, you can follow me here.)