I'm so frustrated. I've been working for 10 years and I can't get an interview for Senior AD roles, but I get tons of enthusiastic calls for Intermediate ones. Im doing the work of a senior now - concepting alone, working direct with clients, guiding the odd junior - and I do a lot of stuff for the community at large that shows leadership (like conference stuff).

I've had CDs review my book and they say my work is great. Why can't I land a senior job? I want to manage, I have good ideas. WTF?

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I can’t speak for your work, your agency or your managers, but i bet you can do it. 10 years in this biz, you probably get it. 👍🏼 I would maybe have a frank and brutally honest conversation with a recruiter or two. Have them assess your “level” based on your book and places you’ve worked. Ask them this same question you asked us. Why can’t you get a senior AD interview? You might get good answers from them, and hopefully some actionable feedback to improve on how to sell yourself as a senior. It could be something small, it could be something that takes time. But I think finding clarity on what you can do right now at this moment, to get to senior AD, is a good place to start.

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Sometimes you just gotta go freelance to give yourself that title bump

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*this close* to just giving myself a resume promotion and see what happens

Can you post your book?

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Ill DM you.

Recruiters will always try to get more experienced talent for a lower rate or title. I ran into the same issue. I had to keep reminding people how many years of experience I had and that I was not willing to take anything less than a Sr role. I had to say no to a lot and then one day an agency decided to see me as I saw myself, as a senior. All it takes is 1 place to see you for how you see yourself. Keep up the persistence. Be a leaky faucet. Keep reminding people. One day someone will believe you, keep believing in yourself. Some people will still try to convince you that you should take a lower title. Ignore them and keep stating your standards and keep affirming them internally. Good luck! Something will come up! 🍀👍

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TBH, it’s most likely one or a combination of three things: a) they are lying and your work while passable or even good for day to day work just isn’t good enough for a truly senior role ie none of it blows people away or you have spec work that never really ran 2) you interview poorly or leave people with a less than excited impression, interviewing is knowing how to sell yourself 3) you have a bad history somewhere in your past. This could mean your record aren’t voicing or advocating for you or possibly you were fired for cause. None of this may apply to you or all of it may apply. But in general, it’s one of those situations most of the time. Don’t worry you’re far from alone. I knew a super talented AD. Great design. Won most every award there was to win. 20 years in he was just a SR AD. The problem? Couldn’t present to save his life. Crippling stage fright and anxiety about presenting. When he did present well, he didn’t come off as personable. 30 years in and he’s still plugging away. He’s lucky. He’s at a good shop that takes care of him and he’s so talented that they’d never let him go. Some people aren’t meant to lead or at least not at the level they think they should be.not everybody can be a general, if there were there would be no soldiers to do the fighting.

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Forgive me if this is a stupid response, but why not just change your current LinkedIn title to Senior Art Director (if it's not already)? Wouldn't that help you land Senior AD interviews through recruiters?

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I've considered it. The thing that holds me back is that it's a lie that could be outed when checking my references. Not really worth the risk of losing out on a job and being known as a liar for that.

I’m in the same boat and I AM a senior. Hell, just last week I had one company, for which I have much experience in their industry, tell me I’m “too junior” for their senior role. I’ve been a senior CW for 3 years.

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Different shops structure titles differently. Sometimes a senior creative at one shop is really a CD at any other shop. It happens, but that’s not your fault, that’s just how they structured their agency.

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Same boat here. 😢

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Lol at least you have the title already

Has it always been like this or more recently in Covid times?

For the last two or three years. I'm sure COVID isn't helping (hiring is picking back up in my city now) but it's a long standing issue.

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