Whether you're just starting out in advertising or are a seasoned veteran, sizzling ad campaigns may excite you, but the thought of writing your own ad piece -- your resume -- may leave you lukewarm. In this competitive field, experts recommend improving your resume to get noticed for the most desirable positions. Follow these insider tips to get started, and see our sample resume for an advertising account executive.
Focus on Accomplishments
Brad Karsh, author of Confessions of a Recruiting Director: The Insider's Guide to Landing Your First Job, has reviewed 10,000-plus resumes in his 15 years as VP/director of talent acquisition for Leo Burnett, one of the world's largest advertising agencies.
"The single biggest mistake that ad people make is writing a job description resume as opposed to an accomplishment resume," he says. "I cannot tell you the number of times I'd see this entry for an account executive job: Worked closely with creative, media, production and client to produce fully integrated advertising campaigns." These tasks are part of every account executive's job description, Karsh explains.
"As a recruiting director, I want to know about your accomplishments," he adds. "How many ads did you produce, how much were your billings, did you win any awards, did you increase market share, profit, etc.?
Tami Tam, an executive recruiter with Fristoe & Carleton Executive Search and Recruiting, says industry pros should mention the accounts they've worked on. When we get a job order, our clients often want specific account experience, she explains.
This example illustrates how to integrate accounts into an accomplishment statement:
Served as primary copywriter on advertising campaigns for multimillion-dollar accounts, including ABC Company, DEF Company and GHI Company. Won multiple national awards, including prestigious Advertising Age award.
Target Your Resume
Advertising campaigns and job search campaigns have the same goal: To get attention through a clear message and benefits statement. Karsh advises job seekers to carefully read the job description and adjust their resumes to employer requirements. "A resume is just like an ad -- you want to target it to the audience," he says. "Find out what the company is looking for, and then match your skills up.
Adding a qualifications summary that includes your career goal is a great way to target your resume. Here's an example for a creative director:
Creative director with seven years of experience in both agency- and client-side communications for Fortune 500 retailers. Respected leader of creative teams, multimedia divisions and corporate communications departments. Expert in the technical, conceptual and content development of advertising campaigns that target desired audiences and articulate the merits of client products and services.
Pick the Right Format
A combination resume, which leads with a qualifications summary but also provides a reverse chronological employment history, is a good choice for most advertising professionals.
"I hate functional resumes," Karsh says. "I want to see a career path. I want to see what you did and where you did it as opposed to looking at skills and trying to match it up with your jobs.
Tam also recommends a chronological resume format, adding that some advertising pros try to get too creative with their resumes. "Don't make it look like (a) newspaper layout -- make it look like a resume," she says.
Karsh explains that professionals on the creative side can take more design risks than those on the business end. "Advertising creatives (art directors, copywriters, graphic designers) are going to be judged almost exclusively on their portfolio," he says. "Creatives do have the opportunity to have much more fun with their resumes. They can write it funny, design it cool and be much more irreverent. Business resumes should be straightforward.
Keywords are important industry buzzwords hiring managers often use to search resume databases. Tam's firm uses custom database software to manage resumes. "Keywords are vitally important, especially for industries worked in and key accounts worked on. For example, QSR, automotive, retail, etc.," she says.
Karsh suggests a well-written, accomplishment-driven resume need not include a special keyword section -- the terms can be integrated into the document. "Mostly they will be searching for titles (AE, account supervisor) or accounts/categories (beverages, packaged goods, Coke, Pepsi, Kellogg's, etc.)," he says.
Just as an advertising campaign needs to be perfect, so does your resume. Tam says one of the biggest mistakes advertising professionals make is sending out resumes containing typographical errors. "There's no excuse for typos with spell-check, yet we continue to see them -- and from executives, too," she says.
Learn more about advertising careers.
The campaigns have focused on the similarities between Coke and Coke Zero. Advertisements in 2006, for instance, depicted a scene of Coke brand managers fuming over Coke Zero stealing Coke’s taste profile and considering legal action.
“What we tried to do is say, ‘Hey, look, let’s not just say Coke Zero tastes like Coke; let’s prove it. What are some of the things that might happen?’ ” said Jeff Benjamin, interactive executive creative director at Crispin.
That spurred the idea for the facial profiler — if Coke tastes like Coke Zero, could someone out there look like you?
The company introduced it in September as a Facebook application, though it began delivering matches only this month, when it had collected enough photographs. (More than 430,000 have been uploaded to date.)
To use it, a visitor can gain access to the application through Facebook or by visiting cokezero.com and agreeing to let the application pull information from his or her Facebook account. The application examines the Facebook photographs of the visitor, then has the visitor add another photograph from his or her desktop or Web camera.
Using facial-recognition software developed by an outside company, the application analyzes attributes like skin color, face structure and angles on the face. “It basically takes your face and turns it into raw data, then runs your face and matches it through the database of all these different people,” Mr. Benjamin said.
In a test run, this reporter uploaded three different photographs and got threedifferentmatches. All were women, which was a relief, but the matches didn’t look like doppelgangers — they seemed to be based on the position of the face in the photo, and things like the shape of lips, chin and eyes.
One of the matches, Julianna Kay Mishkel, of Tampa, Fla., said she had found that the matches were somewhat “hit and miss — some I could see the similarities, and some looked nothing like me.”
“I do see similarities between us, same face shape, smile is similar, and a little bit of similarity in the eyes as well, but our noses are different,” Ms. Mishkel said in a Facebook message. “I thought it would be interesting to see if I really did have a ‘twin’ somewhere out there.”
After receiving a match, the visitor can contact him or her via their Facebook page — how frequently people do that, Ms. Cronin said, is “yet to be seen.” (Mr. Shiff suggested some other, more humorous, uses that look-alikes might find for the application, like using one another’s gym memberships).
Coca-Cola is gathering data on the application, but with this, as with many new-media projects, it is not entirely clear what the data mean. More than 288,000 people have installed the application, and the average time spent on cokezero.com (Coca-Cola does not have access to time spent on the Facebook version) for the week of Dec. 7, the most recent week available, was more than five and a half minutes. That time is “comparatively high relative to other programs,” Ms. Cronin said.
There are sprinklings of other data. For example, there have been more than 100 non-English Twitter posts about the profiler, but whether that is good or bad is unclear.
Coke will test to see whether the application has changed how people think about Coke Zero, and though “obviously we want to see an increase in sales, it’s very difficult” to trace it to a single campaign element when there are other elements going on, Ms. Cronin said.
The effort required just a small media budget and was “absolutely” experimental, Ms. Cronin said. “Internally, we call it a worldwide social experiment to see how this is doing, what does it do for our brand-health measures,” she said. “We feel like it’s creating the buzz that we want.”Continue reading the main story