Advertising and marketing jobs used to be concentrated in advertising agencies. The primary job titles were art director, copywriter, account executive and media planner/buyer. "To survive these days, you need a much broader range of skills - interactive, creative, media and project management. You have to be able to connect the channels," says Janna Sperry Sundby, membership manager for AMIN Worldwide, an alliance of independent advertising agencies.
With so much diversity, it can be hard to connect with the right people. One good option, Sundby says, is the AdFed Mentorship Circle program. Mentorship Circle events, held four times a year, allow mentors and potential mentees within an area of interest to connect and meet for further discussion. The meetings are free for members. Non-members who wish to act as mentors can attend for $15. Students pay just $10 per session. For more information, go to adfed.org/mentorship.
The other organization that's "hot right now," Sundby says, is the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA). "They have awesome educational speakers and programs. It's one of the most relevant places to get educated and network," she says.
The MIMA website describes the organization as "a forum for all the smart, curious folks of MN who work in web-based marketing, design, publishing, development and promotion." MIMA offers monthly events, a newsletter and a job board. For more information, go to mima.org.
Coffee and contacts
Fortunately, some things about the advertising and marketing field haven't changed. One-on-one networking is still the most effective practice. "Call anybody you know, invite them to coffee, and don't leave until you have three more names," Sundby says. She cites a recent call from a woman she'd never met as the perfect networking approach. "She asked me to have coffee with her. She was at the coffee shop when I got there. She told me exactly what she was looking for. She followed up with an e-mail saying, `Here are the people you said you'd provide information for.'"
When you get a job, "Let people know where you landed," Sundby advises. If you don't find something, "Don't forget to follow up every four to six months. Otherwise, you fall off people's radar."
In a creative business like advertising, networking can sometimes be a creative activity. "In the '80s and '90s, it was big to do stunts. Then they went out of fashion," says Miles Turpin, senior creative director for Hoffman Lewis in San Francisco. "With the emergence of social media, it's come back full steam. I think we're in for a good decade of self promotion!"
Turpin cites the example of Alec Brownstein, a 28-year-old copywriter who bought the names of his five most-admired creative directors in Google Adwords. When anyone did a Google search for those five people, an ad appeared with a link to Brownstein's résumé. "Everybody Googles themselves. Even if they don't admit it," Brownstein told Lauren Indvik of Mashable.com. By the end of the year, Brownstein had received job offers from two of his five top picks. He also won the self-promotion category at two major advertising award shows. Total cost: 15 cents per click, or six dollars.
To read about Brownstein's Google Adwords campaign, go to: mashable.com/2010/05/13/job-google-ad-words.