The Quirkiness of the Advertising Industry

For a long time, I struggled to understand exactly how my unique skill set would translate into a career. I watched everybody around me seem to find their bearings relatively quickly, while I was still swimming around in my own head trying to find the vaguest clue as to what I wanted to do with my life.

I started to think about my personality and my interests, and I came to the conclusion that while I love analytical work, I also need to balance it out with something more creative. I like to employ both the left and right brain in everything that I do. This clued me into the fact that the advertising industry is perfect for me, and after extensive research on the field, I was dead-set on getting an advertising internship.

I was beyond excited to begin applying for internships, and admittedly, my enthusiasm might have gotten the best of me at the beginning of my job search – I may have been a bit overzealous in my cover letters. But as I continued applying for more positions, I noticed many common themes across the applications, all of which point to the notion that most of the rules for a typical application process are out the window when it comes to the advertising industry. Here are a few examples:

  • One of the applications asked me to ship an item that best represented me to the company, and they would then post a video of them opening it up as part of the deliberation process.
  • I was asked at one point t0 describe why I was the right candidate for the position – but my response had to be in the format of a Tweet (140 characters or less).
  • On multiple occasions, I had to submit a video of myself answering various questions instead of applying traditionally

The advertising industry is notorious for rule-breaking when it comes to the norms of the job search – and this is the most appealing aspect of it. In this age, the job market is more competitive than ever, and potentially great candidates can get lost in the crowd. The beauty of advertising is that the unique application process can help any candidate stand out, because there are few things that are off-limits.

Don’t be afraid to change things up a bit if you’re interested in advertising. Try something new. Break the rules. There is a good chance the hiring manager would rather see creativity than conformity.

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Trevor Stoimenoff

Trevor Stoimenoff is from Grand Ledge, Mich. He currently attends Northwestern University and is double majoring in economics and psychology.