How a Tweet Scored Me an Agency Job

By Zack Kinslow, a contributing writer for FindSpark

It was the heart of the recession — May of 2009 — and nobody around me was having any luck in the job search. Morale was low across the whole graduating class. Many people were giving up after only a few weeks of searching, to move back in with their parents, revert back to their former summer gigs, while others were sticking with the comfort zone of school by pursuing their Masters Degrees, hoping to wait out the storm.

I couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, though. I absolutely had to get a job at a Philadelphia-area ad agency.

 

So, to get in the door somewhere — anywhere — I created a fake magazine to showcase my portfolio of work, and mailed it to literally every shop in town (about 30+ agencies). It was called Hire Me Magazine (forgive the crude Photoshopping; I had to get resourceful!).

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My little publication ended up getting the attention of several Creative Directors and agency CEOs. I miraculously received some nice comments from people in high places. However, there just weren’t any Copywriter jobs available at the time. The recession had really taken a toll on the job market.

 

Also, the work inside the magazine was pretty bad — which didn’t help my case. But that’s a whole other advice column.

 

Nonetheless, I persisted. Continuing to get my name out there in any way possible, I took to social media. Twitter was just catching wind at the time — and personally, I find it to be great headline practice — so I attempted to brand myself on the online platform.

 

I followed every Philadelphia ad agency from my Twitter profile. I retweeted interesting things they were posting. I tweeted relevant articles to flaunt my [minimal] grasp of the ad biz. I shared ad campaigns that I liked. And of course, I wrote a succinct Twitter Bio that said something to the effect of, “Aspiring copywriter looking to hit the ground running in the Philly ad industry.” 

 

This way, when the agencies took a peek at the random stranger who was e-stalking them on a daily basis, they could immediately see why.

 

And then, it happened.

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One of the agencies I was targeting (see: stalking) direct messaged me on Twitter. “Zack – thanks for the RT. Send me your resume.” Followed by his email address. The agency, Masterminds, just happened to be looking for a Social Media Intern who could help grow their clients’ followings and bring their ad campaigns into the digital era.

 

Long story short, I somehow managed to talk my way into a full-time Junior Copywriter job with benefits. (Not bad, considering the original offer was for an unpaid internship.)

 

I continued to work at this agency for the next three years, working my way up the ladder and launching my career in Philadelphia.

 

If there are any key takeaways from this experience that I can pass on to the next generation of talented up-and-comers, it’s the following:

 

    1. Use your resources. Whether it’s a campus print shop to make your own magazine, a friend’s band you can send to the hiring company as a Rapper-gram, a new app or social media platform, or just a simple referral from a connection within your network, make sure you keep your eyes open to what’s right in front of you.

 

    1. Brand yourself online. This doesn’t mean you have to prune all your party photos (though it’s not a bad idea during the job hunt). But your Twitter Bio, LinkedIn, website, and any other searchable profiles should reflect the exact message you’re trying to convey. Keep it consistent, clear, and humble. How do you want employers to judge you at a quick glance?

 

  1. Be persistent and don’t give up. A wise friend once said, “There’s no big secret to success. One person got distracted. The other one didn’t.” In my case, there were a lot of parties and weekend activities I skipped in order to land the job I wanted. Countless late nights working on my portfolio and building my online presence, instead of going to the bar to celebrate impending graduation. And it paid off. Even if you don’t get the exact opportunity you were going for, the simple act of working hard and persevering will always look good on your reputation — and could very well lead to something even better.
Have you had a similar experience? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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