Job Board

If you started your ad career at a small, pretty unknown agency, is it impossible to switch to a big agency (Grey, FCB, DDB, Digitas, Droga, etc)? Been at small for 3+ years and can’t seem to get out

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon
works at

You can do it. Just be willing to move and take every opportunity given to you. Believe it or not, bigger agencies like small agency folks because they don’t have the “not my job” mentality some legacy big shops folks do. Small agency people are usually super scrappy. Play that up

Reaction Icon Like
likeupliftingsmart
Arrow Icon

It ain’t easy but it’s doable. Be prepared for a lot of rejection until you meet a decent human being willing to give you a shot. That’s what happened to me.

Reaction Icon Like
likeuplifting
Arrow Icon

Yes and I’d say even more so for creatives (it’s all about the book, right?) but leverage every connection you have. Go to those mixer things (which is literal hell but can really help) and start sending your book to the recruiters at the agencies you want to move to. You got this!

Reaction Icon Like
likeuplifting
Arrow Icon

That’s the thing, our agency doesn’t win awards or even have pr for our campaigns. Some of the work we do is really great, and yet no one talks about it because we don’t share it. I have written and produced social, tv, digital videos, print, ooh, email, SEM, websites, and more but it’s not award-winning and nothing is more frustrating. Not because I necessarily want an award but because I feel like I need one as a bargaining chip for a new job with a big name. I’ve been in an interview, went back and forth with several agency recruiters, etc. and Ive felt the same, I get the initial response but then ghosted when they have a “hiring freeze” or “need to find a new cd first” or given no explanation of never hearing back. Very frustrating. Ready to take a jr position just to get in the damn door.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

If you look at people’s profiles in LinkedIn, you’ll see that A LOT of people who work at well known agencies have also worked at places you’ve never heard of. I’ve worked at places you’ve never heard of handling Indian casino and state lottery accounts and also have worked at very well known places with household names as clients. I’ve made spots with million dollar budgets and spots shot in-house with literally $100 budget. As long as your work is well done, well crafted and has good solid concepts, most CDs won’t care who the client is. Small clients sometimes are great opportunities for great creative because they have very little to lose and very little approval layers. They will sometimes be willing to take more risks than larger conservative brands. It has more merit to actually build a brand from the ground up than to just work to contribute to an already existing brand that whose personality is very clear cut. If a CD is not willing to give you a chance solely based on the agency or market you come from, you don’t want to work for that snob. Trust me.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

It’s certainly more difficult... speaking from experience. I worked at a small local agency and although I worked on an athletic account with a famous Running back as the spokesperson, worked on a big hospital account, and a few others, I managed to have interviews at big agencies but I always seemed to get passed up by a recent graduate of MAS who is immediately made Art Director, or someone who interned at a bigger agency. I took it as a sign I wasn’t meant to work there and just kept at it, improving my book and networking. It’s not an easy climb but it’s possible. Do you feel like you are at least doing good work at this smaller agency? Are you all at least winning Addys or working on any decent regional or national accounts you can use for leverage?

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I was at a small, unknown agency for 2.5yrs and ended up saying f it and took an internship at a big name place. A few months in, I lucked out and they brought me on full-time at a mid-level position.

Reaction Icon Like
likeuplifting
Arrow Icon

I started at a small indie agency called Quaker City Mercantile. Have worked in NYC and CHI at majors like Ogilvy, Burnett and FCB. The key was my portfolio. And having a point of view about brands and the work

Reaction Icon Like
likeuplifting
Arrow Icon

It’s possible. I did it. Not Wieden or Droga, but the tier beneath that. You’ll likely have to take a step back or make a series of lateral moves. After being a leader in a small agency, I went to portfolio school at 31. Did some spec campaigns and literally knocked on doors. Had to jump through two digital agencies to get to ones where I could make commercials. It was tough. And crazy. But it beat the alternative, which was my career dying in a small market.

Reaction Icon Like
likeuplifting
Arrow Icon

Not impossible. I started at a small, unknown agency. Went entry level to entry level basically.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Partner up with a single creative with experience in bigger agencies. Mix the books and go to interviews together.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Do personal projects and spec work and you’ll be good. Just demonstrate good thinking, that’s it.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

It's possible as long as you are doing great work and making your book better and better and hopefully working on a few accounts people have heard of. Also try winning some local awards like the ADDYs if nothing else. Your agency should want the recognition and if they don't maybe they're the wrong place. Wherever you work big or small you should always be asking yourself, am I getting the opportunity to do good work for my book here? If that answer is no, move on. You may be at a big agency one day longing for the days when you were able to do scrappy good creative work at a small shop rather than the behemoth conservative non-creative big agency bread and butter account you get stuck on! Good luck!

Reaction Icon Like
likehelpful
Arrow Icon

I've gone from a small indie to Ogilvy to an indie to Burnett and FCB to an indie to Havas to an indie. The work I've done at the indies was always cooler than the big agencies. So they want a piece of that. I'm not exceptional. Many before me. It's up to you. And your resolve.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I will say - i think some biggies are jealous of the indie work. Here in Ny It seems like Office of Baby is viewed as “awesome” and people would kill to work there

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Office of baby? Is that a Trump agency?

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Yes, I took that exact path. Try hard, do great work, don’t be an ass and you can do it.

Reaction Icon Like
likeuplifting
Arrow Icon

Side question: what qualifies as a “small” agency? Are you at a bigger disadvantage working at a smaller agency on a lesser-know client, or not having any great portfolio work while working for a big agency with big clients?

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I seek out folks that have small firm experience. A few years at a small firm primes them with the type of multifaceted, non-specialized, multiple-hats type of experience that helps them empathize better with their specialized, agency colleagues later on. They’re super scrappy and more difficult to stress out too. If you’re presenting directly to clients at your small place, don’t give up that opportunity when you switch to big. Clients at big agencies aren’t really all that different from clients at smaller ones. They’re just a part of bigger teams

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I'm in this current struggle and considering hiring a career coach who has experience helping people make this jump. It's expensive but I'm hoping they will be able to help me get my goal a lot faster than I could on my own.

Reaction Icon Like
likeuplifting
Arrow Icon

Nope! I went from a small agency to a bigger one after less than a year at the small shop, when the project I was hired for got shut down

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Related Posts

Is Slalom a thing or it's just the employees here in numbers ? I dont think I would go for slalom for our implementation when there are bigger players out there.

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Why do accounting firms want people to get the CPA if most leave before manager?

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

<1yr BA here. What’s the rough timeline for the Fall SAR (submit exposure list, SAR, post-SAR feedback)? Trying to workplan my next cycle and work on my development goals

likehelpful
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Hey All - Tech question, what's the easiest/your favorite video conferencing option? Something that is easy to send a link and go.

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

I’ve been in the HIA practice since I joined a few years ago as that’s where I was placed. Its been good, but I never get excited about the work. How are things on the CPG side (my prior exp.)?

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

I have a 401k contribution question. Is it a good strategy to put 5% of my paycheck in a traditional 401k, and another 5% of my paycheck in a Roth 401k? Accenture matches up to 6%. (Cont.)

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Anyone familiar with Frick Young Fellows in NYC? Is the $600 annual contribution worth it? How is the Annual Garden Party and Gala? I’m 23.

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Podcast Episode #10: Futureproof Yourself Be Stupid. — Renzo Rosso, Diesel Dump your assumptions and make room for smart, new thoughts and experiences. Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify & GooglePlay

Post Photo
likesmart
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

New to WD- client was supposed to request a “sandbox refresh exemption” but I just got the “down for maintenance” screen. Does this only happen for tenants being refreshed or for all regardless?

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Sent my managers snapshot requests about a month ago. Should I email a follow up?

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Are you guys (strategists) the ones to finalize the deck that’ll be presented to the clients? And do you prepare a weekly newsletter for other departments (art, copy etc) at the agency?

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Working 55-60hr weeks at a client site across the country +17hrs of travel time per week and trying to study for FAR. Two weeks left and I’m trending mid 60’s. Taking 3 days off before the test. Tips?

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Anyone moved to machine learning engineer positions in tech companies?

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Starting tomorrow in the office as a new associate on the bench. What should my agenda for this week be? I really have no idea what i should be doing, what time i should get in, etc

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Anyone think cultural issues will slow overcoming CV in the US? People in Asia wear masks all the time, not just when sick. They also don't wear outside shoes indoors. The list goes on. Thoughts?

likehelpful
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Why is Deloitte Advisory’s compensation is bollocks? God help me

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

I’m due for a phone upgrade next month. Could I get the upgraded phone via the PwC discounted cost, but use that as my personal device by putting in my personal SIM card?

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

I’m ~5800 MQMs short of making Platinum on Delta, and have 1 trip remaining from NYC to Seattle. Direct flights only get me 4800 MQMs, a stop DTW or MSP barely adds any. Any tips to add ~900 MQMs?

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Anyone ever use Corp discount for rental cars?

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Intermittent fasting: anybody tried it and found noticeable benefits other than weight loss (feeing less sluggish, better performance at endurance sports, etc.)?

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Download the Fishbowl app

That was just a preview…
Sign Up to see all discussions
  • Discover what’s it’s like to work at companies from real professionals
  • Get candid advice from people in your field in a safe space
  • Chat and network with with other professionals in your field
Sign up in seconds to unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.

Already a user?
Sign in here

Share

Embed this post

Copy and paste embed code on your site

Preview