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Breaking In

Freddie Mickshick | Recently graduated from SCA London

Issue 60 | September 2021

In a recession, getting any job is hard. Even more so during recent global events, which I feel little need to go into. 

I can't speak in detail for the challenges of becoming a professional athlete, neurosurgeon or thermonuclear astrophysicist, but it's hard to imagine any of them hold up quite as many hoops to jump through as the advertising industry does for its junior creative talent. 

I write this having recently graduated SCA, still on the hunt for a creative role. Attending 'the most awarded ad school in the world' is only the beginning of the beginning of a long journey towards a job. 

Why am I prepared to jump through all these hoops? I'm fascinated by the behavioural psychology of what makes people do things, want things and buy things. A career in advertising seems like the perfect melting pot of creativity, culture and commerce. In time it may even offer the platform from which I might make a positive difference in the world, however small. 

Throughout an extremely enjoyable and utterly gruelling year, SCA Dean Marc Lewis constantly reminded us that we are competing against thousands of others for a job. Not just with the students of the UK’s dozens of advertising degree courses but from the rest of Europe and the world. And Covid-19 has made it even harder. 

All graduating from SCA gives you is permission to approach creatives in agencies in the hope they will answer your email and give you a crit. (A crit, for the uninitiated, is when someone with a job looks at your work and tells you what you need to do to it to get a job like theirs.) 

A thick skin is required. The critiques are contradictory and can sometimes be savage. “Have you considered an alternative career?” was one suggestion. 

The ambition is not so much to land a job but to be given a two-week placement or internship. This is when you hope to impress with your talent and your attitude and land the job you crave. 

So, how you approach the creatives in the agencies that do offer placements is crucial. An email probably won’t cut it. That’s why many young hopefuls dream of crazy stunts to demonstrate their creativity as well as to get noticed. 

Peter Souter, now Creative Chairman of TBWA, was desperate to work at AMV. In homage to a famous ad written by creative director David Abbott of a hitch-hiker standing with a sign reading ‘Volvo Preferred’, he stood outside the great man’s house with a sign, ‘Looking for a Job, AMV preferred.’ 

Art director and artist Graham Fink, rejected by CDP because they didn’t take juniors, dressed as an old man when he went back to plead his case with the creative director. Successfully. 

More recently, Shan and Beth from the University of Lincoln have been offered creative directors free cab rides to work in the morning, showing them their portfolio en route. 

Naturally, my partner Beck and I decided we should try a real-life stunt of our own to get the powers-that-be at adam&eve DDB to notice us and look at our ‘book’. 

The question was, how could we get it onto the desk of the hiring team so they could see it as and when they returned to the office now Covid restrictions were easing? 

We put our work up on the Adshel sites near the agency then strode in, announcing ourselves as Creative Maintenance Services, here to fix the workflow leak. We were quickly shown the door. 

Next we dressed as clients. Still no joy. So you know what we did? We told the lovely people on reception the truth, gave them some chocolates and left a letter for Chloe Pope and Jess Morris. And it worked. Up to a point. We’ve had several more crits but we’re hoping for more. For that elusive placement when we can show our worth. 

The one of us had a brilliant idea. Let’s advertise. 

So that’s what we’re doing here in Directory. If you'd like to see out work, please email us at [email protected].

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