How to get a job in advertising

What do advertising creative directors look for when hiring new graduates? Here are some answers to questions that all new advertising creatives have.

 

What is the top quality you look for in junior creatives?

NANCY VONK (co-founder, Swim; former co-creative director, Ogilvy & Mather)

“Passion like, ‘I’m on fire to do this, and it’s 100 per cent what I want to do.’ I think you’d find over and over again, most leaders would say that, strangely enough, talent is not at the top of the list. It really is mindset. It’s a tough industry; if you don’t have real passion for it, you’re not going to make it over all the hurdles. You don’t want somebody who is only part-way in. You want someone that’s all in. And that’s really evident when you interview people. It really comes out quickly.”


DEREK BLAIS (associate creative director, BBDO Toronto)

“Passion. If you’re passionate about cooking, and 90 per cent of the interview is about cooking, that’s amazing. I just want to see that passion towards being creative.”

 

Work by OCAD U advertising alum Neha Patel Work by OCAD U advertising alum Neha Patel


What do you look for in books (portfolios)?

JANE MURRAY (freelance creative director; former executive creative director, Lowe Roche)

“A breadth of ideas. You’ll have to work on a whole bunch of things, so if someone is just super into cars or apps, or apps for cars, that’s great they’re super focused. But, you might have to sell flowers or a bank. So a voice that can change properly for whatever the task is at hand is important.”

“Simplicity. You want to solve a difficult problem in a very simple way. I’ve had students come in and they’re like, ‘so there’s this video and then it takes you to the microsite’ and so on, and I’m like, ‘I would never do any of this.’ I would never get that far because you haven’t hooked me in with the idea yet. It’s impressive that you can work out how all the technology works, but there’s nothing there.”


NANCY VONK (co-founder, Swim; former co-creative director, Ogilvy & Mather)

“In a really good book, the work would actually solve the client’s problem. So many students will say ‘well, I’m just a student, so I can just show how creative I am.’ The creativity without solving the problem is worth nothing. I think there was a time when people let student books off easier. Now we want someone who is already there and in this business to solve problems. If it is not evident they solved a real problem, then I’m only so impressed by something that made me smile or laugh.

“Another feature of a really good book is that it’s media-neutral. It’s not about how many surfaces or screens you can get it on. The more the thinking shows that it would have transcended any medium and traveled into any space, the more you’ve got a home run. Something that’s never changed from when I started in the business to today is that the idea is king.”



Work by OCAD U advertising alum Anton Mwewa Work by OCAD U advertising alum Anton Mwewa


 

What is a good way to get your foot in the door?

DEREK BLAIS (associate creative director, BBDO Toronto)

“Get Marketing Magazine or Strategy Magazine and look at specific people that are working at different shops. If you see a campaign that resonates with you, look for that person’s name on LinkedIn and message them there. For me, personally, if I get someone reaching out to me directly, citing a campaign I’ve done, that starts a bit of a dialogue. I think LinkedIn is a great tool to meet people directly, instead of going to the website and emailing HR.”

 

ALLEN OKE (creative director, Zulu Alpha Kilo)

“Portfolio shows are great. I usually do about three of them. They’re a really great place to meet people. As for your book, be compelling and be yourself.”

Author: 
Katie Liang
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GLENFIDDICH PRIZE WINNER DANIEL BARROW’S CAREER ADVICE FOR STUDENTS

Daniel Barrow's Kiss Me Before I Die. Image courtesy Glenfiddich.
Daniel Barrow in performance. Image courtesy Glenfiddich.

Daniel Barrow, a Montreal-based artist working in video, film, print-making, drawing and known for his projection installations and performances, is on his way to work in Dufftown Scotland after winning this year’s Glenfiddich Artist-in-Residence Prize. 

Barrow is one of eight artists chosen from around the world for the three-month residency. Valued at $20,000 per artist, the residency covers travel, living expenses and materials. The artists live in crofts (traditional small Scottish farm houses) and work closely together, making it an inspiring opportunity for cross-disciplinary ideas. 

OCAD University’s Vladimir Spicanovic, Dean, Faculty of Art, and Lisa Deanne Smith, Acting Curator of Onsite [at] OCAD U, were involved in the highly competitive jury process for this year’s award. The jury selected Barrow for the depth of his imagination and innovative practice. Barrow was also the winner of the 2010 Sobey Art Award and is represented by Jessica Bradley in Toronto.

While preparing to leave for his residency, Barrow shared his thoughts about what winning the prize means, along with some advice for students:

OCAD U: Congratulations on the prize win! When are you going?

I’m leaving early, in mid-May because I have shows booked in Europe before it starts. I’ll be doing performances in Oslo, Brussels, Venice and Croatia. The residency itself will be from June through August.

OCAD U: What kind of impact do you think it will have on your work?

DB: I’m not sure what to expect. I’m looking forward to a certain degree of isolation and getting work done in the Highland Mountains, and I really like the works coming out of the residency. I’m hoping it will inspire me. I’d like the work to unfold organically within the context, however, I do have to ship all my art supplies. I anticipate I’ll be working on a narrative performance project while I’m there.

OCAD U: How do you keep learning and challenging yourself as an artist?

DB: I went to art school at the University of Manitoba. It was a very exciting time in the early to mid-90s, and I went to school with a lot of artists who went on to establish themselves in the art world. So my peers and professors were a source of inspiration, and it was because I went to school with so many dedicated and inspired artists that I felt emboldened to quit my day job and work as a full-time artist. The thing that people need to know about being a full time artist is that it’s a lot of work. It requires a certain degree of sacrifice and dedication. I saw that in art school and the other students offered me a path. I still keep in close touch with my peers.

OCAD U: What advice would you give to the OCAD U community?

DB: I taught at Concordia for two years and what I told my students is that those who go on to succeed in the art world are not necessarily the best, but those who establish themselves in the community. That’s so important — establishing a peer group and creating relationships with other artists.

 

New online tools boost the careers of OCAD U students and alumni

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 4:00am

(Toronto—September 11, 2013) OCAD University today unveiled two new online services designed to help develop careers and entrepreneurship opportunities among its students and alumni: the 4ormat online portfolio solution and the OCAD U Talent Network.

Through an innovative industry partnership, OCAD U’s entire student body, as well as its faculty members, will have free access to the premium tools available in 4ormat (4ormat.com), a leading portfolio management platform used by creative professionals around the world. 4ormat offers simple drag-and-drop site customization, dynamic theme templates, and integrated tablet/mobile capabilities, among many other powerful features. The partnership has undergone a year-long pilot testing phase at the university, and plans are underway to integrate 4ormat directly into curriculum in the coming months. Students will continue to have free access to the platform for 6 months after graduation.

The OCAD U Talent Network (www.ocadu.ca/talentnetwork) helps students and alumni more effectively connect with potential employers and community-based opportunities. Tested over the summer, the Talent Network replaces OCAD U’s job board tool with a sophisticated, tailored platform that encourages users to upload comprehensive creative profiles and facilitates connections directly through the system. Users can upload professional documents, access customized content and resources, register to participate in events, share information via social media and access the latest information about related service offerings.

“At OCAD University, we aim to develop in our students the skills and entrepreneurial spirit that empower them to forge their own career path,” said Deanne Fisher, Associate Vice-President, Students at OCAD U. “Both 4ormat and the Talent Network represent major investments we’ve made towards preparing tomorrow’s leading artists and designers to apply their creative potential to any number of fields and industries.”

“It is very important to us to make sure our tools are available to the creative minds that will not only help shape our future, but define it,” said 4ormat CEO Lukas Dryja, who is a graduate of OCAD U’s Graphic Design program. “We are very excited to be working with OCAD U, and we look forward to what other possibilities the future will bring.”

“I have used multiple online portfolio services, and I found that 4ormat eclipses them all,” said third-year graphic design student Laura Livingston. “In terms of creativity alone, I can personalize so many different aspects of the site. Not to mention the professional quality of the results. On top of all that, it's all free for us!” 

“The OCAD U Talent Network proved to be a genuinely pleasant way for us to connect with student and alumni creativity,” said Manyun Lucy Zhang of interior furnishings designer Moss and Lam. “We were able to easily and successfully facilitate our recent recruiting efforts.”

About OCAD University
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s “university of imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, OCAD U Marketing & Communications
416 977 6000 x327
mobile: x1327

Career Planning for Artists

 Career Planning for Artists
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 8:30pm

Learn about developing your professional practice!

Developed for Faculty of Art students and recent alumni, this practical session will offer you ways to start thinking about how you can help your art practice thrive beyond school.

Delivered by the Career Development office, this is part of a comprehensive series of FREE workshops intended to support student success.

 

416-977-6000 x3843

 

www.ocadu.ca/careerdevelopment

zfarber@ocadu.ca

Free

Venue & Address: 
Room 240 100 McCaul St., 2nd Floor Toronto, Ontario

Career Planning for Artists

Career Planning for Artists
Friday, October 4, 2013 - 7:00pm

Learn about developing your professional practice!

Developed for Faculty of Art students and recent alumni, this practical session will offer you ways to start thinking about how you can help your art practice thrive beyond school. This is a repeat offering of our October 2 session.

Delivered by the Career Development office, this is part of a comprehensive series of FREE workshops intended to support student success.

 

416-977-6000 x3843

 

www.ocadu.ca/careerdevelopment

zfarber@ocadu.ca

Free

Venue & Address: 
Room 1516 113 McCaul St., 5th Floor Toronto, Ontario

Career Planning for Designers

Career Planning for Designers
Friday, October 25, 2013 - 7:00pm

With special guest Yousuf Afridi!

Developed for Faculty of Design students and recent alumni, this practical session will help you to start thinking about how you can leverage your design skills beyond school.

Joining us to share his insights will be OCAD U design alumni Yousuf Afridi, who is currently an Account Manager at TAXI 2 and was recently named one of Marketing Magazine's "30 Under 30".

 

416-977-6000 x3843

 

www.ocadu.ca/careerdevelopment

zfarber@ocadu.ca

 

Free

Venue & Address: 
Room 1516 113 McCaul St., 5th Floor Toronto, Ontario

Career Planning for Designers

Career Planning for Designers
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 7:00pm

A practical look at professionalism in the field

Developed for Faculty of Design students and recent alumni, this practical session will help you to start thinking about how you can leverage your design skills beyond school.

This is a repeat offering from Oct. 25. We will share specific insights from OCAD U design alumni Yousuf Afridi, who is currently an Account Manager at TAXI 2 and was recently named one of Marketing Magazine's "30 Under 30".

 

416-977-6000 x3843

 

www.ocadu.ca/careerdevelopment

zfarber@ocadu.ca

 

Free

Venue & Address: 
Room 240 100 McCaul St., 2nd Floor Toronto, Ontario

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