Five tips for making it to Madison Avenue

In this guest post, Aussie Julian Cole formerly of The Conscience Organisation Sydney, now at BBH New York, gives five tips to getting a job in a New York agency

It really feels like it is a great time to be over in NYC. Last month the city released the RoadMap for NYC to become the world’s number one digital city. Advertising here is bouncing back after the GFC. There are jobs everywhere.

For Australians it has become incredibly easy to work over here with the E3 visa. It is no wonder that you will find Australians in virtually every big agency over here – check out the list of 50+ Australians working in advertising in New York.

Here are five tips to getting a job over here:

1. Get in contact with the right recruiters

The right recruiter can introduce you to the best agencies and is the easiest way to get a job. A number of Australians planners and strategists (including myself) have used Kimberley Aguilera from Tangerine NYC and Stephanie Redlener from The Talent Business to land jobs. Find the right recruiters for your position.

2. Use LinkedIn to find talent scouts

Most agencies in the US have internal talent scouts. It’s time to turn the tables on the recruiters. Instead of waiting for the internal recruiters to approach you, this is a good time to approach them. Type in keywords like recruiters, talent scout, director of creative resources and the agency that you are looking to get in contact with. You would be surprised how many you can find and contact.

3. Clear vision of what you want and what you can offer

You really need to have a good hard think about what you want to be doing when you get to NYC. Roles in advertising are consistently getting blurred. If you do not have a clear vision of what you are about it will be hard for Americans to understand where you fit in their agency. Make a vision statement for what you stand for and what you are great at doing.

4. Tell your story

When you get to the interview make sure you tell the story you want to tell – have a clear way of showing your skills off in the meeting. I created a ‘7mins 53 seconds inside my brain’ presentation. It illustrated my best case study and then my thought process and what I wanted from a job in NYC. It gave the interviewee a number of angles for further questions and I had got the basics of what I am about, out of the way.

5. Getting jobs at every level, J1 visa

I think the most common misconception is that you need to be quite senior to get a job here. With the J1 visa, if you are one year out of study you can come over and live here and work for a year. This will give you a big window of time to cement a role and apply for an E3. Internships (which in most cases are paid) are the best way to open the door.

For a more comprehensive guide to moving to New York, you need to check out Mark Pollard’s ‘Moving to a New York Advertising Agency a beginners guide. He was the inspiration for this post.

Julian Cole is strategy director at BBH New York


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