7 Ways to Get Your Ad Career on the Right Path

Bart Cleveland
Bart Cleveland



advertising-career-adviceI speak to a great number of young people that are entering the advertising industry. They are all filled with hope. But they also have a lot of anxiety because they’re not sure what to do. Below is a list of things I tell them to do to get on the path to success.

1. Find your bull’s-eye. Research to find companies that best meet your personal and professional needs. To do so, you must learn what these needs are. For example, what do you need to have happen in the first three years of your career to achieve your five-year and 10-year career goals?

2. Target the bull’s-eye employer. Once you know your personal and professional needs, you can determine the best companies that offer the opportunities you need to succeed. Don’t aim for the target. Aim for the bull’s eye – the perfect employer. If you don’t succeed in getting a job there, wherever you do land won’t be far off. Above all, don't settle for a bad fit. It will set you back and may even put you on the wrong path. That can ruin your chances for success.

3. Stalk. Quietly. Research key people at your target employer and observe them through social media channels. Learn everything you can about those you would be working with, those who founded the company and why. Learn about the culture of the company and its philosophy. But do all this without being invasive. Don’t bother people. Don’t try to be friends until you’ve been properly introduced.

4. Talk. Loudly. Your portfolio speaks volumes about your abilities but not as much about you. Start a blog about you — the professional. About your career experience. About what you love about your profession. It should reflect your efforts to succeed. It should show you as a consummate professional. In other words, it’s not a platform to rant. It’s a platform to show your value as a potential employee.

5. Trust your instinct… to a point. Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." Even if you're not sure what you're doing is right, chances are you're doing something that is helping you succeed. However, the best efforts are those with professional guidance. There are great discussion groups on social media platforms such as LinkedIn where you can get advice. Be careful taking all advice as good advice though. Measure its worth by what the person giving it has accomplished. Does his or her career mirror the one you’d like to experience? If not, they had different goals in their career. Consider that before acting on advice.

6. Don't give up. It can seem pretty overwhelming not having support or encouragement from the industry. Keep putting one foot in front of the other — one step at a time and one day at a time.

7. Stay positive. To fulfill tip No. 6, remember that you have qualities that are going to ensure your success. Focus on those, and you will minimize the negative.

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