Guest post by Lauren Souther
Speaking to a standing room only crowd at ADPR Connection 2013, Alfie Adona, Debbie Linder, Kim Tarasi, and Michael Tucker each provided their perspective on “getting your foot in the door.” The panel was specifically designed tips to help recent graduates land their first job.
Alfie Adona, Human Resources Director for MSL Group, began by discussing the importance of networking citing a Newsweek survey that stated 41% of respondents found a job through networking. The group quickly stressed the importance of joining organizations such as Adclub, PRSSA, and meeting people.
Debbie Linder, Executive Vice President of BBDO, focused on the importance of social networking through sites like LinkedIn. She emphasized the importance of making connections and being introduced on the site. The likelihood of securing an interview increases if someone on LinkedIn is available to make an introduction. The panel accepts most connections from prospective employees. However, they advise against using blanket LinkedIn invites, tailor the messages to fit the potential connection.
Also be creative when trying to network with an individual. Michael Turner, Human Resources Vice President at 22squared, recounted how a young professional followed him on Twitter, messaged him, and finally sent cupcakes to his office. Guess what?! This tactic led to an interview at 22squared and a job! When looking for networking opportunities, be inventive. The important thing to remember is never squander an opportunity.
The next issue addresses by the panel was the importance of first impressions and interviewing. An interview is a two-way street. A candidate conducts as much of the interview as the company holding the interview. Do not over rehearse beforehand, be natural. Decide who you are and convey that person in the interview. Do not fret about the size of your portfolio. “It’s better to have a thin book with great work than a lot of mediocre work,” said Kim Tarasi, Vice President of Creative Operations at Brunner. The work will speak for itself so speak to your personality during the interview.
Be yourself because you have to be yourself every day at work. The most important aspect of the interview is finding the perfect fit. The interview helps a candidate to discover where they want to work. They can become acquainted with the culture of the company. The person being interviewed needs to like the place they work; not job hop from one place to another. Debbie Linder gave sound advice saying, “fall in love with what you do.”
Intern, Intern, Intern. The panel could not stress enough the significance of internships. Experience is a key component when hiring for entry-level positions. Whether the experience comes from internships or just some form of agency exposure, any type of experience is valued. Once again, do not limit opportunities, students need to be involved and gain experience any way possible. Experience can come from volunteer work as well as internships. Companies like to hire interns. Former interns have proven themselves in an agency setting, and companies know they can count on interns to accomplish the tasks given to them. However, if an entry-level position is not available for the intern, the intern should still keep in contact with the company. No one ever knows when a position might become available.
The panel closed by again stressing the importance of finding the place that best suits a candidate’s interests and values. Students, discover the goals your have for your career, and find the company that will help you on that path.