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Landing your first job in an agency, or anywhere really

It’s pretty daunting to find yourself staring down the barrel of a whole future. We’ve all been there: excited to find our dream job but scared of all the rejection that might come with it, and not knowing if what you’re applying for is actually what you want to do for the rest of your life!

The good news is that you don’t have to stick to one career for your whole life, as long as you give each career choice a good go. So, if you’re just starting out or looking to venture into the world of agency life, then read on for a few tips on how to grab your future employer’s attention and convince them to give you an interview.

Let’s start with your billboard – I mean your CV.

To be honest, this is exactly what your CV is, it’s the very first impression that you’re going to make on your possible employer, so you’d better make it good. If you’re a designer, make it beautiful; if you’re a copywriter, make it witty; if you’re a developer, make it a webpage. You need to make sure you’re going to grab the right person’s attention right from minute one, so don’t let that opportunity go to waste.

One thing that all employers or recruiters have in common (actually, maybe even all people nowadays) is that they have limited time and attention spans. Don’t send an essay about your life. Make it a highlights reel. If you don’t have a lot of (or any) job experience, just say so, don’t try to bulk it up with babysitting gigs and bartending jobs. Rather highlight what you’ve learnt throughout your education, what you enjoyed and what you’re excited about upskilling yourself in. Bring in your interests and future goals – make the employer understand what you want for your life so they can see if that aligns with what they are offering.

These days there is no need for a ‘cover letter’, unless specifically asked for. A well-worded email with your CV attached or a link to your website portfolio is gold. The shorter and more authentic the better. Be succinct and don’t divulge details about your life that the employer does not need to know; rather leave that for the interview if you want to share or get asked a relevant question.

Explain why you are best for the role or a good fit for the company but do your homework. There is nothing worse for us than receiving an email such as: ‘Dear Sir/ Madam’ (have you seen our website, we are a team full of women!)… remember that there are real people on the other side of the email and they want to engage with you as a person, not like a robot. Find out who the email will be going to so you can address them by name, or just start with ‘Good day’.

In this day and age, it’s not enough to just send your CV, you also need to clean up your digital footprint. Once you’ve piqued the person’s interest, the first thing they are going to do is ‘Google’ you. So, start with a professional looking LinkedIn profile. Yes, we all use LinkedIn.

  • Make sure it’s up to date with your latest courses and education, interests, skills and a professional-sounding blurb about yourself.
  • Ask someone to write you a recommendation – which can be for a specific skill or a character reference.
  • Choose a profile photo that reflects your current self (they will find out pretty quickly if you are not who you look like in your photo!).

Make sure your other social profiles reflect who you are as a person as well or just make them private if you prefer not to show that side of you just yet.

And if you manage to get an interview, congrats! Now the real work begins. Read up about the company and people you’re meeting and find out what it is that makes them different to others in their industry. Prepare questions for the interview – it is just as important to ask pertinent questions as it is to be prepared for their interview questions. Many companies, like ours, have their own blogs with interesting content which gives you the perfect insight into what makes them tick. Read a few of the latest articles and cleverly drop how interesting you found their blog post on Black Friday preparation or how to create an e-commerce website 😉

Finally, arrive on time (not too early), dress appropriately for the company you’re interviewing for and breathe – we’re all human, so just be yourself.

Do you have any go-to interview tips? Drop them in the comments below.

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