Getting that big break: advice on taking your first steps into the creative industries

Thought Leadership
Sofia Maddalena
With the final deadline fast approaching for We Are Upstarts, our new six-week creative placement in partnership with the Creative Mentor Network; our two fully trained mentors, and one of our mentors-in-training, have shared their advice to those looking to break into the creative industries.

Laura Muldoon, Editor at We Are Social in London
Don’t get hung up on qualifications or feel like you need a piece of paper to validate your talent. I spent four years “studying” to get a 2:2. No one has ever commented on my degree (well, probably the less said about it the better to be honest!) in interviews but people always ask me about ‘Mother Souperior’ – my old soup blog and the fact that I started my own pub quiz business – both things I did in my spare time because I thought they would be fun. Make sure you don’t leave out the things that might seem ‘weird’ or ‘different’ from your CV, they’ll be your strongest attributes when it comes to standing out from other applicants.

Casper Vahlgren, Junior Strategist at We Are Social in London
The beauty of advertising is that, at its heart, it’s about culture – or at least it should be if it’s going to be any good. This means a lot of what we do revolves around understanding people’s interests and passions and using that to create our work. It’s this aspect of advertising that creates an enormous opportunity for new people in the industry.

As someone starting out in advertising, no one is expecting you to know everything and be able to do it all from day one. You’ll learn that along the way. However, having a passion, an interest or knowledge about something niche gets you a long way. Most of the people working in my particular department have something that makes them tick outside of work and, for most of us, we use that interest in popular culture every single day.

Whether it’s sneakers, fashion, music, film or even video games, your passion is your biggest asset when it comes to finding your first – and subsequent – job in advertising. You don’t have to run a blog or have 10,000 followers on Instagram. Just look for companies or agencies that work with brands that align well with those niche interests and make sure it shines through in your application and you’ll spark an immediate interest in the recruiter.

Rachel Hardicker, Account Manager at We Are Social in London
Breaking into this advertising industry wasn’t the straight and narrow road I thought it would be. I worked in a few different areas until I found my sweet spot; and that would be my key learning to pass on. Don’t be afraid to try out different disciplines, from social to PR to media. Be eager to learn and adapt to your surroundings and to new opportunities. Experience is key in this industry and the more you get, the better your CV looks.

If you want to find out more, check out our website for more details. Final deadline is Friday 22nd June, so get in touch.