Intern Insights: Ralph Can’t Get a Job (So Now He’s Crying About it)

By Matt Van Hoven 

Ralph Lee was the only person naive enough to apply for the AgencySpy internship. Why naive? He wants to actually work in advertising, so associating himself with us was mistake number one. His second mistake was writing a post for us, because now I have to rip it to shreds. The subject: why the hell he can’t find a job, despite doing more to get one than maybe anyone I’ve ever met. Seriously, the kid is everywhere. My remarks are italicized. Ralph, meet blogger-scorn.

I’m going to go ahead and ask the question that most people in my situation are asking themselves. Why can’t I land a gig in advertising (bands get gigs, all others get jobs, captain jargon pants)? Whether you’re an aspiring account executive, creative, traffic coordinator, or whatever you desire to be, the question still remains the same. If you’re like me, you go on interview after interview explaining why YOU are the “next best thing”. Then you get an email, a week later, telling you that you’re not. Why is this? (You get actual emails telling you you’re not the “next best thing” &#151 ouch.)

Maybe it’s due to the lack of experience (and generally sucking at life)

That’s what I said. For a guy like me, who graduated last year, but decided to go into advertising a bit late in my academia, I obviously lacked in this area.

But being that these are entry-level positions that I go for, and they already have my resume, they should know that I have no direct experience. That’s why they call it entry-level. Right? (Yeah but with the number of available low-level folks who have 1-3 years experience, you’re the equivalent of a 3rd grader)

Maybe it’s due to a lack of ideas

The current generation, which is tomorrow’s leaders, is somewhere in the range of 15-35 years old, better know as Generation Y. This is where the fresh ideas of today will make for the innovation of the future After all, we are the folks who will be lingering around this planet for the next few decades, and running it. Why not have someone in that age range, that is in tune to what the generation is asking for? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out (You want to be in accounts: your ideas don’t matter)!

Maybe you just suck (finally, something I agree with &#151 speaking exclusively about Ralph, here)

That’s the big question! Do you suck? Well, this is something that you have to take into consideration heavily. Maybe advertising isn’t the line of work for you. Maybe it is. You’ll never know until you’re in it. I definitely can’t be the judge for you on this one, but I can tell you that there is only one way to find out. Hey, if you land your gig and it doesn’t work out, at least you’re still young.

Maybe your resume sucks? (in Ralph’s case, yes! OK we kid &#151 he’s interning everywhere, volunteering for the likes of the OneClub, and attending event after event. if you ever needed an accounts guy who gets around, this is the slut for you &#151 metaphorically speaking)

Take a good look at your resume. Put yourself in the mind of a hiring manager/recruiter. When you look at it again, with this different lens, does “______” jump out from the page from your past experience and skills? (“______” = your desired career title) If not, then you need to shape it to do so. From my experience, even if your previous work doesn’t reflect that of your aspiring position, you need to be able to market what you’ve done that correlates with it. If you want to be a traffic person, maybe you’ve played in traffic (wa waaa)? Just kidding, but you get the idea. If it does, then maybe you need to reevaluate your interview skills. This is a huge lesson that I’ve learned through my current quest to the next step in my career: If you don’t believe and show that you can do the job, they won’t either. Remember that. (how did you get this job again? I need to drink less)

What do YOU want to do? (not have to read this article anymore, but let’s move on)

We’ve all settled in our life at some point and time. Should you settle in your career? I know, in this job market you basically have to take what you can get, but this might not be the best solution. For example: You are aspiring to be an art director, but after a few failed interviews, you take a gig as a traffic coordinator to get yourself “in”. This may seem like a great way to transition, but what happens when you’re a traffic coordinator for a year or so, and you get stuck? You’re now branded as a traffic person, and it could make it that much more difficult to become that art director that you’ve always wanted to be. (good point, actually, but you still suck)

So I think we’ve boiled down to the basic setbacks of the current job market in media and advertising. Not that I am an expert by any means, although I should be (yeah, an expert at not getting a job. burn). It is definitely not an easy task to get your first foot in the door to the possible career of your lifetime, but if it is the career that you desire, the hard work is worth it! To leave you with one word that sum up the best interview strategy… MARKETABILITY. Make yourself, your experience, your attitude, and your tonality, exude the best qualities that would make you the best for the job. (blowjobs don’t hurt either &#151 the word exude applies here, too)

Good luck hunting! (what are they, fighter pilots?)

Read Ralph Lee’s Tumblr here (update, dude!) and follow him on Twitter @madmanralph.


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