How did everyone get their first strategic job? Seems no one wants to interview someone that hasn't had the previous title of strategist despite me outlining my relevant experience in my cover letter.

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from my own experience & what I've seen of others, you have to find an advocate in the dept who will help pull you in. There's no clear path to planning, so someone has to see that you have the it factor that makes a great planner. then, in the case of an internal transfer, it's a matter of finding the business need & available projects to sustain a new hire.

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But, also worth noting that transitioning is much easier at my level. Not sure an account director would be able to move to a strategy director because of how different the roles are

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If you are in Account you should always be leading your strategist and collaborating with them. If you want to take on that role, work with your manager and strategy lead to try to carve our assignments you can test yourself with. Just ask.

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This is the answer (though I would lean towards collaborating with your strategist and not trying to lead them, as that’s a not the way to get strategy on your side especially if you want to join them)

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Networking and informational interviews. Find people who work in the agencies you want to work, reach out to them, and ask for their advice (not for a job). See how they got in there. I interviewed about 20 people and almost everyone said that they found their first jobs through networking. Go to strategy meetup and events, conferences.

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Alt view: go and work at a good research firm for a while. Learn how to write surveys and conduct focus groups. Consumer-centricity is (or should be) a foundational skill for planners.

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It’s best to transfer within your current agency. Strategic Planner 1 has it right. Helping out on new biz is also a great way to get planning experience. Good luck!

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since my agency doesn't support inner-office dept moves, sounds like i need to switch to an agency that offers that kind of mobility first

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Getting into strategy is a matter of showing your passion and undying commitment - seriously. There aren’t a ton of junior jobs so you really need to be top of the list when they come up. 1. Create a portfolio of a few case studies (even if they’re side projects or imaginary) to show how you think 2. Network like a hustler - meet as many strategists as you can to get their advice. And meet as many strategy directors as you can; tell the ones at your dream agencies you’re dying to work for them because of x,y,z (say something smart ;0), and ask how you craft your experience / portfolio to get there. Let them give you feedback on your book. Stay in touch w all these ppl by being helpful and interesting - eg whenever you see an article or an insightful something something that will help them in their work (eg a category they work on, etc), share w them. Basically, make sure everyone that’s in a position to hire you as a strategist knows your drive and smarts, and stay in touch so they think of you when something does come up. It takes a while sometimes but everyone I know that truly wanted it got in

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Also, have a great story about how / why you want to be in strat - eg show that throughout your account years you’ve been most drawn to/ helpful w the strat piece BECAUSE .. show your “why"

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Another way in is to look for a job in market Research. That’s a good way to show proof of concept in insight generation and then you can parlay that into a brand strategy role

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What’s the CSO/head of department like in the agency you’re in? I would ask them if they have time for a coffee and outline your desire and passion. They will more than likely throw you a few bones.

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I wouldn’t interview someone who hasn’t worked in the role

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It's just competitive and you have to know people. If you don't know anyone then you might as well not even apply.

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Get some experience at a research agency

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I made the switch myself and it was not easy. Keep finding value where you’re at and take on side projects that show your curiosity, writing, and thinking. It was a constant grind, but so worth it in the end

copy>cd>newbiz/strategy for me

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