Bits & Pieces?
Last night I had the great pleasure of sitting on a United Adworkers-sponsored panel discussion at Discovery World with Jigsaw CD Nick Pipitone, Mitch Markussen from BVK, Dennis Jenders from Laughlin Constable and Andy Larsen from Boelter Lincoln.
It’s always fun talking to students, and this was clearly a highly-motivated group, to come out during finals week to hear Nick pontificate about the Chicago Cubs and give some career advice in between sports metaphors. The students asked a ton of excellent questions, and while I wasn’t taking notes, I’ll do my best to capture some of the key themes from the discussion.
1. NETWORK. The old cliche “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is true; often that’s what will get you in the door. And if nothing else it will make your cover letter, the necessary evil that we established that we all dislike, less awkward. Use the tools at your disposal – social media in particular – to research your audience and know what they care about. Connect with them and offer some value.
2. BE PERSISTENT. Nick and I often disagree, but not on this point – if you contact someone, and they don’t respond, don’t give up. I get that you don’t want to be a “pest”, as someone said to me last night, but you have to understand that we are all crazy-busy people with a million balls in the air at any one time. It’s entirely possible that we read your email or your letter and are absolutely open to meeting you, but it just gets lost in the day. Try, try again. Unless we say “No” and then, it’s time to move on. : ] Likewise, if one agency says “no”, don’t give up then either. You might be a great fit with the next agency.
3. MAKE YOUR WORK AS GREAT AS IT CAN BE. Mitch said it well: “Who you know will get you in the door. Your work will keep you there.” Whether you’re a designer or writer or a strategist or a PR person, we’re all obviously looking for mad skills. Ask as many people as you can for honest feedback on your work, and keep polishing it.
4. LESS IS MORE. Whether it’s a cover letter, a resume, or a portfolio of work, share only your best stuff. A paragraph written smartly and with personality is a better cover letter than a page-long regurgitation of what’s already on your resume. Keep your resume to a page or, at most, two, just summarizing your major accomplishments.
5. BE YOURSELF. When making hiring decisions, agencies are looking almost as much for a personality that fits the agency as they are for great work. Both have to be there. And you owe it to yourself to find an agency that is a great fit with YOU, too. So don’t be nervous or try to fake anything. You have to be you.
6. BE PASSIONATE. One of the most important factors in getting our attention, an interview, an internship or a gig is your passion. Demonstrate that you’ll bring energy and initiative to the job.
7. DON’T ACT LIKE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM. We want you to speak up and share your ideas, and we want to learn from you because you ARE smart, and we’re all still learning too. But the sense of entitlement that we see from young professionals sometimes is not attractive. Be confident, but also be humble.
8. EXPECT TO WORK HARD. We’re in an incredibly fun, interesting, always-different business. But don’t expect it to be a walk in the park. We often work long hours…be ready for it. It’s a mad and crazy business but worth it. So, no, you’re not crazy to get into it…but sometimes you will think that you were.
I think those are the high points. What did I miss? What other questions do you have?
Bader Rutter 15. Jigsaw 11. But it was much closer than the score says because these guys were GOOD—from top to bottom; tight on defense and monsters at the plate. Some of these balls traveled so far that they should have had a damn stewardess on them. To add insult to injury, our pitcher was drilled by a line drive leaving her with a goose egg on her shin that I’m sure by now is a dark shade of purple. Our third baseman broke his knee brace sliding into home (a knee brace acquired last season by trying to stretch a double into a triple). It’s full contact softball out here.
But we persevered. We had our version of monsters at the plate. Well placed hits. Hits exactly when we needed them. Hits just over their heads. They all added up to runs on the board. We made our share of defensive plays too. Strike outs. A double play. A shoestring catch late in the game. Good stuff, just not quite enough of it. It happens. That’s why we play the game. Good players rise to the occasion to play against good opponents. We have nothing to hang our heads about. On paper they should have beat us bad. But Jigsaw has heart. I’ll take that any day.
It was a dark and stormy night. The clouds were ominous and the wind was howling. Oh, and it was opening day for Adworkers Softball. Our first opponent, Versant. We won the coin toss to determine the home team and never looked back. We started fast scoring 10 runs in the first 2 innings while holding our opponent scoreless. It sprinkled. It thundered. It rained. But we played on. Versant managed to come to within 2 runs late in the game, but it would not be enough. Jigsaw scored 5 more in our half of the inning making the score 18-11. And then the lighting. Lighting and aluminum bats don’t mix.
Final score Jigsaw: 18 Versant: 11 in 5 innings.
Kudos to everybody who played. Not any standout performances, but we stood out as a team. Next up: Bader Rutter at Estabrook Park May 18th @ 6pm. All are welcome to stop out and witness the majesty that is Adworkers Softball. You might even get a cold beer for the effort.
Very early in my career, a veteran of the ad world said to me, “75% of the stuff you work on is not going to get produced.”
Ouch. Wow. Sheesh. Really? Regardless, I didn’t let this get me down, stayed the course, and now I’m still here, 15 plus years later. And now that I’m here I have a little bit of advice for you all.
75% of the work you do isn’t going to get produced.
I know it’s a harsh reality; a lot of times you’re going to put your heart and soul into an idea and a client is going to kill your idea for any number of reasons. But the key is to pick yourself up and move on. All you have to do is keep coming up with ideas. The more ideas you have, the more chance you have of getting a great idea produced, right? Make the numbers work in your favor. All you have to do is be one thing: persistent.
But not just any kind of persistent. A kinder, gentler, version of persistence. There are two scenarios when it comes to being persistent: There is the overbearing jerk type of persistence in which one fights and fights and fights for their idea and doesn’t know when to stop. Their world hangs on that one idea and it’s all they have. Most of the people I have encountered in my career who were like this aren’t in advertising anymore.
Then there’s the other kind of persistent. The kind of persistence that says, “I’ll show you, I’ll come up with ten more good ideas, all better than the one I just showed you.” It’s the type of persistence that goes back to the office, rallies the team and says “We can solve this.” Those are the type of people that hang around and have long illustrious careers in the ad business.
As I’ve said many times (to an equal amount of guffaws and applause) “Ideas are like Doritos, we’ll make more.”
It’s been an interesting year here at Jigsaw. Change has been inevitable and the last 365 days of 2010 have reached moments that will never be forgotten and moments we all wish we could forget. Addy and I thought it would be fun to send out an e-mail to everyone asking for their favorite moments of the past year — the responses varied from hilarious to down right sappy — but always, they left us with the feeling of “togetherness” and “great accomplishment.”
So here’s to 2010. Here’s to Jigsaw. And here’s to each and everyone of you that make up this place. Each tear, each chuckle, each politically incorrect statement (those moments could not be included below due to legalities), and of course, each smile. Here’s to some of those moments captured in words:
2. Saddened by the (deep) loss of our 4-year-old, orange, trianglular-shaped goldfish Pedro, in true Jigsaw style, we held a Viking funeral and sent him down the river in a tugboat. We miss you Pedro.
3. We think Steven Wold cleaned his desk on July 12th.
4. 21 people made the Jigsaw website in just 20 short days, we like to call it “Bits & Pieces. The site launched on Sept. 21rst.
5. To date, almost 1,000 messages of Hope have been shared with the world through the “Hope is” project. We continue to help battle in the fight against cancer by growing the community.
6. Talent has expanded and we think it’s pretty nice that we now have enough people to make another softball team. Say hello to our 2010 newcomers: Anne, Addy, Amanda, Ben, Dione, Erin, Eric, Jacque & Sue (please note Sue starred in the 2008 recap of Jigsaw as well).
7. Our fearless coach, O’Donnell, led us to the playoffs in Adworker’s softball league (ok, almost). With a 5/5 record, only 1 injury and almost 500 cans of beer consumed, we like to call it Jigsaw success.
8. At our holiday party, we won (with skill) a “sluty” gorilla (as Wold nicknamed him in an e-mail). Yet to be given a real name, our agency gorilla likes to be naked. But don’t worry, if you stop by he is wearing black “censored” strips thanks to Beki.
9. Rumor has it that Madonna actually hugged someone (but really folks, it’s just speculation, so don’t get your hopes up).
Featured Blog Posts
Given two studies on preference for mobile web versus mobile…
Anyone can be creative. Often the biggest obstacle to innovative…
I’m involved in a couple of professional groups that are…