What's the best way to break out of the agency world and go to a place like google/Facebook? Do you have to know someone?

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It’s mostly about pedigree, OP. Facebook and Google care less about actual tech chops than whether you have the right names and places on your resume.

If you’re a competent person at R/GA, Sapient, AKQA, or Huge and work in NYC, LA or Chicago, you’re far more likely to get a shot than if you’re a superstar technologist at a smaller agency (especially if you’re outside of the big name cities).

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Combination of knowing someone and being good at your job. It also definitely matters what agency you're at. (From my perspective I know going to one of those from R/GA is not far fetched.)

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Resume doesn’t matter. Knowing someone and then having pedigree matters. Work the network and get a reference from inside.

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Usually based on a combination of your work experience, growth from one title to the next and the caliber of clients you have worked on. Based on these three, you may get a few in house recruiters reaching out but only a slim chance of making it past round one. The competition between you and others are extremely high but this mostly depends on the position, your function and how you sell yourself. I find creative and sales the least competitive because it’s not the forte of Google and Facebook. Where as areas that are heavy in technology, mathematics are harder to break into. You have to be uniquely experienced to attract them such as industry experience. Knowing someone definitely helps if it’s in the area you want to work in but they might not have that much authority as you expect because they might be lower on the ladder just to get the job compared to agency side. Just my two cents.

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👆🏻What this person said.

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I happen to be one of those competent people at an agency mentioned. It's still difficult to get in the door. What do you think they are looking for on a resume?

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Would also love to know. Trying to do this at the moment.

I think alongside good experience, a reputable grad program can also help to get in these big players of tech.

Reputable grad program being more pedigree.

It’s ironic; Silicon Valley started as a bunch of college dropout misfits raging against a pedigree-driven East Coast establishment that closed off access to all but a small group.

They’ve now become what they originally sought to replace.

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