Rant: Advertising Job Search (& Welcome WAS readers!)

One of the sites I visit daily is Why Advertising Sucks, a multi-writered blog that covers pop culture, has funny “Top 5”-type entries, and of course, poops on advertising.

Here’s a mini-rant, dedicated to the WAS peeps and their many other devoted readers:

(Disclaimer: I am blessed enough to be currently employed and NOT searching for a new position.)

A colleague of mine (never worked with or even met the guy in person, but he’s a fellow copywriter in the DF-Dub, funny/brilliant/creative/etc. and we “met” through online networking) who’s currently unemployed hit me up yesterday, asking if I knew anybody interested in a copywriter gig.

Now why was this guy – who’s been at several of the “major” shops in the area – not even considered for the job? Because he didn’t have enough experience with the certain industry/market in which the major new client did business.

So this writer who’s been putting words together professionally for the better part of a decade, a guy who comes highly recommended by former bosses and colleagues alike, and a highly intelligent human being, is told that he’s not qualified for a position.

This is a problem that runs rampant throughout advertising. “If you haven’t done it, you can’t do it” is the attitude of many hiring-decision-makers (HDMs, for our purposes) in our biz, which is incredibly stupid. Eminently qualified creatives with years of experience and high IQs can’t “learn” a new industry?

Here’s a quick lesson on some of the “niche” industries that these decision-makers are so picky about:

  • Pharma = Don’t say it if you can’t back it up or have Legal back it up. Have disclaimers ready for everything.
  • B2B = Give up now. Mediocrity reigns supreme. Pick up any trade magazine and you’ll see 90% crap. Just ask the client’s company president’s wife to throw something together. Either that, or use a big-ass product shot. They love that. “Ooh, show ’em our new flibbertygibbet valve!”
  • High-tech = Buzzwords, buzzwords, buzzwords. Robust. Synergistic. Leverage. Platform.

Final message to HDMs: Don’t eliminate candidates who don’t have the exact specifications you’re looking for, because frankly you’re eliminating new, fresh perspectives on the industry/market. If they can write or art direct or run an account or buy/plan media for other types of accounts, they can handle yours too.

One Comment

  1. I would submit that this is the case in many, if not most, industries. Wherever you get started entry-level is where you get stuck… forever.


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