10 Commandments of How to Land a Job in Advertising— from a Creative Director
In last night’s workshop at the Miami Ad School Toronto — we had a sneak-peek into the mind of The Most Interesting Man in Utah, Patrick Maravilla, where he shared his insights on his 10 Commandments when it comes to the world of advertising and how to get a job in any creative environment.
Commandment I: Thou shalt know thyself
> What are your strengths, weaknesses? Know yourself, and align them to the opportunities you want to get exposed to.
Commandment II: Thou shalt not rely on classwork for thy book
> Your book (portfolio) is to be more than just the required projects you’ve done in school, it should reflect your curiosities that you’ve explored outside of class.
Commandment III: Thou shalt not need to make a case study video for everything in thy portfolio
> Not unless you want to explain the unique technicalities behind your work.
Commandment IV: Thou shalt make thy book easy to read
> Make life easy for your prospective Creative Director (or hiring manager) when they review your work (be thoughtful & make it legible — easy to read fonts, use of white spaces etc)
Commandment V: Thou shalt disrupt this industry before thy graduation
> Check out Genderless Nipples — a social project carried out by Miami Ad School students (with over 77k followers) to challenge Instagram’s policy on censoring the female nipples. Create a ripple via the nipple *
> To paraphrase what was said in the workshop, “PR the shit out of it” and be remarkable in the public sphere with the idea that you’re planning to execute (e.g. get your story covered by a major news outlet).
Commandment VI: Thou shalt not fill thy book with ads
> Similar to Commandment II — but be willing to display more of your personality, quirks, and even, your poetic prose about your beloved belt buckle (look below) — mix it up 60/40*
In my interview, Alex Bogusky flipped through my book and stopped on this poem. He shut my book and said, “That poem is funny. It’s the best thing in your book.” I was hired three days later.
Commandment VII: Thou shalt remember thou art a noob
> Be teachable | Learn from everyone | Be a sponge | Work hard
Commandment VIII: Advertising is one way to get thy creative rocks
> As tech companies e.g Airbnb are growing their in-house creative teams (designers, copywriters etc), creative opportunities outside of the traditional advertising realm exists more than ever
Commandment IX: Thou shalt not sell out right out of school
> Are you able to be prolific with your creativity at a bigger firm with a bigger paycheque (glorified labour) V.S. a smaller firm where you could move the needle with your skill sets?
>Summary: Be in an environment where you fit in, can consistently develop and show your craft — especially in the early stages of your career.
Commandment X: Know thy commandments then breaketh the crap out of them
> Play by the rules of the game and when you’re no longer a pawn on the chessboard — become the player.
Bonus words of wisdom *
- Don’t worry about the money — yet
- Diversity of medium is more important than diversity of clients (context: having opportunities to express a client’s brand with various mediums e.g. Digital, Social, Broadcast)
- Advertising these days are pushing messages and paying people to watch them — instead, be compelling and create advertising that pulls people in
- Always have your next meeting in this meeting (e.g. anticipate client concerns and problem solve with done-up mockup [wireframe UX/UI ] solutions)
- Your gig can’t be what defines you creatively — do more than your day job (start a side hustle)
- Want to deliver a winning pitch? Be able to fit your creative concept in a Post-it note with the following: 1. What it is | 2. How it works | 3. Who cares
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