Copywriters

Is it better to be at a small shop and crank out work for smaller clients in your first year or be at a big name shop and maybe make nothing? Deciding on an offer...

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In my experience it’s harder to jump up to big names from small names early in your career. If you start in a big shop there’s always an opportunity to get on briefs and work, you wouldn’t be there otherwise. Even a slash on a big project is good for your book. Later on, if you started at the small shop, bigger agencies are liable to bucket you with smaller work, and less likely to give you this kind of ‘junior’ opportunity.

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To add to this: Smaller agencies are always attracted to people who have worked in bigger agencies. It’s less true the other way around.

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Ideally a medium-bigger shop that has the potential to add something to your portfolio. Adding nothing the first year seems more like an internship than a job imo, even in my first year I added SOMETHING to my portfolio, it was just replaced by later projects. That being said company sizes/name recognition is important and will only help you land opportunities down the road.

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Hmm... Is the name of a company more important than having your work in front of talented CDs who will give you references and opportunities down the line?

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Small shop, 100%. 1000%.

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Small as in size or small as in no one has ever heard of it? Small shop (read: not a 600 person holding company behemoth) that has a “big name” and is doing cool things is the dream. Tiny shop with nothing going for it is another thing. But there is no perfect answer. Early in my career I was deciding between a tiny place that was very “hip” and run by exciting people who had done some of my favorite work, and a very established place also known for good work, but it seemed there was a risk that I wouldn’t have as much opportunity there as a junior. Everybody told me to go to the tiny place. I ended up going to the other larger place, and spent the first month there agonizing over whether I’d made the right choice. But that feeling soon went away and I got to make a bunch of cool work, more than I would have at the smaller place everyone assured me was the real land of opportunity. TL;DR: There is no easy answer. It’s a gamble either way, so just trust your gut.

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Start small imo. More responsibility and autonomy. More experience. And, crucially, more work in the book.

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